70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, but only 10% trust advertising. - Forrester Research ReportEarned media - or 'Free media' - an interesting term that is now being referred to increasingly online and in the digital marketing world is essentially a form of publicity, that is free to a company or brand and is also outside of the control of the company. This is when content receives recognition, but is not bought nor owned. Examples of such media; product/service reviews, publications in traditional media outlets (newspapers, radio), traditional word-of-mouth conversations between consumers, and mentions or publications online e.g blog articles, public forums, social media platforms and online reviews.
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The value of Earned Media comes into it's own when specifically looking at influence and biased. Paid and Owned Media are entirely influenced directly by a brand or company. Earned Media is out of the direct control of a company and generally has a higher value to other consumers than the likes of other media types. As mentioned earlier, research has shown 70% of consumers trust recommendations from friends, as opposed to only 10% from traditional advertising. This is an substantial findings and certainly should not be ignored.
Other Types of Media?
There are of course other types of media also available, such as Paid and Owned media. Paid media, as suggested by it's name, is activity that is financied by a business for the gain of publicity through financial means. This could be sponsorships, display/banner advertising, search advertising and e-mail advertising. Owned media is literature that is owned within the business e.g. company press releases, product/service literature, company blogs and company websites.
Fans, Followers & Brand Ambassadors
It is often important to recognise and establish who are you key "brand ambassadors" for your business, from a consumer view. There are a number of key factors you could consider to find out if your fan or follower "hits the mark", but some key areas could be used for judgement:
- How does this person speak publicly about your brand?
- Does this person speak regularly to other users of your product or service?
- How long has this person dealt with your brand, both online and offline?
Keep these key contacts on your side, and they shall continue to promote your brand much more effectively than any message communicated by other forms of company produced media.
With the customer journey between devices, channels, and media becoming increasingly complex, and new forms of technology only making it more so, the strategy of considering paid/owned/earned makes marketers impenetrable to the disruption caused by emerging technologies.
I would love to hear others views and experiences of Paid, Owned and Earned media. How does your company incorporate Earned media into it's digital marketing mix and how does it view the importance of Earned media to the business?