As a quick refresher, I set out to cut through the hot air with Paid, Owned, & Earned Media and define how to build a sustainable way to plan.
There are four components to generating Earned Media:
This week, Part Three – Distribution – explores how to put content in front of our audience in order to drive the type of engagement that results in sharing. As we know, sharing drives Earned Media.
Who, Where, and What
The first part of Distribution depends on knowing the who, where, and what:
- Know who among target audience is most influential and drives others to share. There are three types of audiences:
- Igniters: Influential creators on an individual topic or category with an engaged following. Approximately 1% of audiences.
- Sharers: Sharers enjoy Liking and Tweeting content for their friends and family to see. It could be content that an Igniter puts out, news source, brand, other consumer, etc. Approximately 9% of audiences.
- Watchers: Watchers sit back and observe Igniters and Sharers but don’t share or comment. Approximately 90% of audiences.
Since Igniters represent only 1% of audiences, we have to work hard to understand what makes them tick. That’s why next-generation insights covered in Part One are key to understanding them. In the digital space, an Igniter often times is an influential blogger. In the offline space, an Igniter could be a cast member of a TV show (think Glee).
Getting content into their hands isn’t a matter of paying for a “placement” in the digital space. It’s more about forming a mutually beneficial relationship; provide an Igniter with access to the product or product managers. They get the inside scoop that reinforces their stature while the brand gets coverage.
Another route is to use a well known, credible Igniter to “host” an experience. For example, Paula Deen is the perfect hostess for Real Women of Philadelphia.
From there, Sharers will pass it along to their friends and family. All the while the Watchers are seeing it fly by.
2. Know where to find the Igniters and Sharers; the next-generation media “consideration list”.
- Finding Igniters is a lot easier now with a new crop of research tools like Crowdtap, SocMetrics, and Agent209. These partners can map Igniters and some actually provide the delivery mechanism for your content.
- Finding Sharers is a mix of understanding who follows and amplifies Igniters in addition to broader sets who share everyday content. The former can be found through social CRM tools like BuzzStream and latter through new tools from partners like comScore.
3. Know what type of content will drive greatest engagement
- Content means more than just text; it includes videos, games, pictures, applications/tools, and products. Content can be professionally created, user-generated, or a mash-up of both. Here are some examples:
- A unique aspect of Sharers is that they need a reason to share content: what’s the “social currency”? There are six types of social currency:
- Utility: I’m sharing because I accomplished something (e.g. Nike+) or discovered something unique (e.g. Shazam).
- Promotion: I’m sharing because I’m proud of a deal or I need my friends to participate to redeem.
- Entertainment: I’m sharing because my friends and family will enjoy the content and it represents my personality.
- Education: I’m sharing because I learned something or want to teach others.
- User-Generated: I’m sharing because I created this content.
- Experience: I’m sharing because I’m experiencing something right now (e.g. vacation picture).
Knowing the types of content being shared by Sharers and the currency that motivates is important as it directly informs the “content requirements”. Content requirements are inputs to the content strategy and bring purpose and meaning to what we create. Without a strategy, we run the risk of “blasting content” that fails to drive engagement and sharing.
Programming Owned and Paid Media to drive Earned
Now that we’ve completed the who, where, and what, it’s time to program Owned and Paid. I use the word program because we need to think like the TV network programming executive when we distribute the content.
1. Programming Owned Media
- Content distribution should always begin with your Owned assets. To confirm, Owned Media includes for digital (note: this is not an exhaustive list):
- Brand website(s)
- Facebook page
- Twitter handle
- YouTube channel
- Brand app
- Banner units
- Brand Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and YouTube channels live within enormous communities (Facebook is at 700MM worldwide alone). Putting content within these owned assets will drive engagement with their audience and generate Earned Media.
- Create an hour-by-hour grid just like the TV networks to manage programming and maximize engagement:
- To continue the TV analogy and connect the dots to the “who”, think of the Igniter as a TV critic giving your content or “TV show” a good review, thereby delivering an audience and igniting sharing.
- With regards to banner units, reimagine them into content distribution vehicles that will play into your paid media. Send the content to where your Sharers are outside of your owned communities. Here’s an example of how American Express OPEN Forum uses display to distribute content:
2. Programming Paid Media
Once we’ve programmed Owned, we turn to Paid to drive three main actions:
- Bring Sharers and Watchers to Owned: to augment the natural traffic that Owned venues enjoy, use audience-based buying such as Audience on Demand to efficiently deliver Sharers and Watchers. This is most akin to how we use display today around awareness and engagement. The focus of the ad can still be the product but provide a sample of the content they can engage in their owned venue. Give the audience a choice to go to the brand website or directly to Facebook. comScore is adding the ability within Ad Metrix to track the percentage of traffic choosing to go directly to social venues like Facebook and Twitter. Initial findings show a large quantity bypasses the brand page and goes directly to social venues, which underscores the need to schedule programming.
- Distribute content through banners: Similar to the American Express example, create a “dynamic content” unit to distribute the most relevant content based on the audience member to drive engagement outside Owned venues. Audiences can engage content directly within the banner unit and share back to their social feed (e.g. Facebook Newsfeed).
- Amplify sharing: Sponsored Stories from Facebook is the best example of amplifying sharing. Extend Earned Media further by ensuring friends will see the sharing through a fixed ad placement:
Offline Media Considerations
We’ve focused our discussion of Paid, Owned, & Earned primarily on digital channels but that doesn’t mean offline doesn’t drive Earned. Digital is just the starting point given the precision of finding audiences and truly understanding what drives sharing. However, we’re advancing in the ability to measure and understand offline’s impact to Earned. I’ll be dedicating a follow-up piece to offline after the fourth and final installment of Hot Air.
In the meantime, here’s a 360 view of digital and offline mechanisms that drive sharing and ultimately Earned Media:
- Digital: Beyond Facebook and Twitter, there’s Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc.
- Print: The growth of the QR code within print provides the mechanism to take the audience online through their mobile device and share the content.
- OOH: A new twist on Out of Home, location-based check-ins are now delivering deals and connecting offline purchases to the social stream.
- TV: Beyond GetGlue, IntoNow is the “Shazam” of TV returning episode information and showing what you’re friends are watching. There’s a lot of potential marketing opportunities they’re actively contemplating. Bluefin Labs is an exciting technology that measures and contextualizes social media responses to TV.
The final chapter in Hot Air will detail the implications on media talent and how we evolve. Look for Part 4 by mid October.
Thanks for reading and – as always – would love your comments and tweets @DaveMarsey.