If you’re just getting started in the PR world, you have probably heard the terms paid, owned, and earned media, and you might be wondering what the heck they mean. Here’s a quick guide to what each type of media means and how you can maximize it for your PR efforts.
- Paid media. Paid media is just that – media exposure that you pay for. You can leverage paid media in the form of banner ads, sponsored blog posts, event sponsorships, paid search, social media ads, automatic press release distribution,… the list goes on.
- Owned media. Owned media includes all the media properties that you own and control. This includes your website, social media profiles, your blog, as well as any content you create. White papers, slide decks, infographics, and (online)press releases also count as owned media.
- Earned media. Earned media happens when your customers talk about you, whether in the form of retweets, social shares, press mentions, blog posts, or old-fashioned word of mouth. It’s the hardest kind of attention to get, and arguably the most valuable, because you can’t buy it and you can’t create it for yourself.
How to maximize it ?
- Paid media. Paid media is often very expensive, and if you aren’t careful, you can wind up spending a lot of money for minimal (or even negative!) return on investment. To make the most of your paid media buys, be very targeted with your spend – choose your audiences and publications carefully, put tracking mechanisms in place so you understand your cost per new lead, and most importantly, make sure you have a solid strategy in place to follow up with any leads you collect.
- Owned media. There are two big advantages to owned media. First, you have complete control over the content. Second, it’s usually more cost-effective that other forms of media. Use your owned media presence to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Create helpful, high-quality content on a regular basis (a blog is one of the best and easiest ways to get started), and use both owned and paid media channels to distribute this content to your target audiences. If your content is truly valuable, it will also help you gain earned media.
- Earned media: Leveraging earned media is actually pretty simple – do a great job with your owned and paid media properties, and the earned media will take care of itself. I said simple, not easy ! It takes time and resources to build a brand worth talking about, and you can’t rush it or force it. Start by investing in delighting your customers (underpromise, overdeliver). Build a reputation for solving problems and creating valuable resources, and over time, happy customers will evangelize your brand to their friends and colleagues, and ultimately impact your bottom line.
How do you leverage paid, owned, and earned media to help your business? How does that affect your PR strategy ?
We live in a world in flux, and nowhere is that more evident than on the social web. But that doesn’t mean you should make up your social PR strategy as you go along. Here are three tips to help you think before you actually distribute your next release:
- Build an editorial calendar. It might be tempting to simply respond to news as it comes up, but it also pays to plan ahead. An editorial calendar will help you stay true to your brand and your message, and it will ensure that you always have something relevant to say. Plan your calendar around industry events, upcoming company releases, and seasonal trends that you can predict with relative confidence (everyone loves year-end forecasts), but also leave room for breaking news and unexpected announcements. Which leads us to our second point…
- Ride the wave of breaking news. Whether an event that you’ve known about for months or a sudden announcement by one of your competitors, breaking news can give your social PR an unparalleled boost… if you know how to ride the wave. It’s easier to join a conversation than to start one, and breaking news gives you an opportunity to:
A) Capitalize on the conversation
B) Position yourself as a knowledgable and reliable source of information
Just make sure to think carefully before you post. It’s easy to get caught up in the wave and say the wrong thing, which could lead to lasting damage. As much as you can, try to not only report accurately on the news, but to offer insightful and unexpected perspectives, as well.
- Give more than you take. Don’t treat social PR like just another megaphone. Overt self-promotion might earn you a quick buck, but over time, it will erode your credibility and compromise your brand. Instead, follow this general rule: for every 1 self-promotional thing you say about your brand, say 5 things that are relevant and valuable to your audience. Need some ideas? Highlight customer successes, offer your perspective on industry news, recap a recent event, share great content from industry thought leaders, and develop some thought-leading content of your own.
Do you have a social PR strategy? What other tips would you add to the list?
Your hard work has finally paid off, and a top journalist in your field has requested an interview. Naturally you’re feeling excited and a little bit nervous. Press interviews are a great opportunity for exposure, but say the wrong thing, and it could come back to haunt you.
To ease your pre-interview jitters, we’ve put together a list of things to help you nail that next interview:
- Know your goals. What do you want to accomplish with this interview? Get more specific than just “press exposure”. Are you announcing a new product? Promoting your latest charitable initiative? Make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals, and decide in advance how you will tell your story in order to accomplish those goals.
- Understand your audience. If you’ve done your research, you should already know something about your interviewer’s audience. Think about what’s important to them, what they want to know, and how you can best tell it to them. If you’re speaking to a consumer audience or one that doesn’t know much about your industry, it’s especially important to steer clear of technical jargon.
- Get your facts straight. If you intend to discuss data in your interview, triple check your facts and be able to cite your sources. You are speaking to the journalist as a thought leader in your industry, and your reputation is on the line. Don’t risk it with factual errors.
- Lead with the “why”. While it’s important to check all your facts, offer your audience more than cold statistics. Always lead with the “why” behind your story, and let the facts play a supporting role in your larger mission.
- Practice, practice, practice. You may or may not know much about the questions your interviewer will pose, but you probably have some sense of what you’ll be talking about. Make a list of hypothetical questions you’ll likely be asked, as well as how you would respond. Make sure you practice your answers out loud.
- Be yourself. We know, we know. But there’s a reason you hear this advice over and over again. People respond to authenticity. So be your quirky, genuine self.
Have you ever been interviewed by the press, or (better yet) been the one interviewing? What tips would you add?
If you are just beginning to build your brand, gaining credibility in the marketplace is probably one of the biggest challenges you face. Credibility can’t be bought, forced, or fabricated. It must be earned. Here are 11 ways you can earn credibility for your brand that, with time, patience, and persistence, can payoff big time in the long-run.
- Earn the respect of other credible people. This is basically credibility by association. Identify well-respected people in your industry, and make an effort to gain their respect and attention. Do this by adding value to their conversations and helping them succeed, not by being self-serving. It’s a very simple but very effective tactic that could give you just the boost you need in the marketplace.
- Be transparent. There was a time when brands could sweep unethical practices under the rug. That time has now passed. Transparency isn’t a fad or something brands (at least, not credible brands) pretend to do in order to gain positive PR. It’s table stakes if you want to earn credibility with your customers and the public.
- Own your entire brand. Be proud of your strengths, but also own up to your shortcomings (we all have them). Most importantly, don’t try to sweep your weaknesses under the rug (see point #2). Instead, demonstrate the ways you’re working to improve.
- Be humble. Don’t talk exclusively about yourself. Treat your brand as part of a larger conversation, because it is.
- Be generous. Frequently praise other people and companies in your industry. It’s good karma, and it will find its way back to you.
- Don’t be critical. When brands get critical of other brands, it looks desperate, not smart or savvy. Your criticisms may or may not sway public opinion about whomever you’re criticizing, but they will certainly undermine your own brand’s credibility.
- Be genuine. Always mean what you say. People respect honest, authentic brands far more than trust brands who pander to whatever they think the public wants to hear.
- Be trustworthy. Follow through on the promises you make and keep your commitments. When your customers know they can trust you to deliver, they’ll return again and again, and they’ll tell their friends.
- Be visible. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Partner with a highly respected charity, individual, or organization, and make a visible contribution to society, your local community, people in need, etc. Don’t boast, and make sure it’s about the cause, not about you. People are drawn to brands that stand for more than just making money, which leads me to my final point…
- Be exceptional. Every time, and without exception.
- Stand for something. Have principles for your brand that go beyond profit, and always remain true to them. Write a manifesto and publish it on your website. Empower every employee to uphold your credo. Start a movement. Have a mission. Give people a reason to believe in you, and they will.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.
Blogger outreach is growing more popular among PR professionals, and for good reason. Successful blogs have loyal, highly engaged readers who tend to listen closely to what the authors say and think. Spending the time and effort to reach out to bloggers effectively can pay off big-time for your brand.
If you’re new to blogger outreach, don’t make the mistake of treating bloggers and journalists the same. Read our post on the key differences between bloggers and journalists, and then follow these tips for successful blogger outreach.
- Do your research. Before reaching out to a blogger, make sure you understand what the blog is about and who its audience is. Don’t go after a blogger just because they have a big following; make sure there’s a fit between their audience and your story.
- Offer to guest blog for them. Many bloggers love accepting high-quality guest posts because it saves them time and exposes their blog to a new audience (yours). You’ll benefit, as well, by getting your story in front of a new audience (theirs) and, if the blog is well-read, raising your brand’s profile.
- Invite them to guest blog for you. If you already have a well-read blog and a valuable following, sweeten your pitch by offering to let a blogger write a guest post for you. All the same benefits of guest blogging apply, this time in reverse.
- Have a great story. Bloggers earn a living producing great content for their readers, which means they’re highly unlikely to publish canned, one-size-fits-all press releases. Offer them a fantastic story that’s highly sharable and include multimedia, such as a video or an infographic. Freebies, giveaways, interviews, and exclusivity are popular approaches.
- Make it easy for them. Make it as easy as possible for bloggers to work with you. Provide them with plenty of resources, content, and multimedia, and be upfront about expectations on both sides.
Have you had success reaching out to bloggers? Please share your tips in the comments.