The rise of earned media

Brands that do not acknowledge the importance of earned media are ‘missing a trick’, according to Patrick Barrett, MD at Simpatico PR, who took part in our latest webinar. Alongside Tom Ritchie, Cision’s EMEA product and marketing director, he discussed why content is becoming increasingly important for brands and how to create the perfect integrated comms plan.

Patrick Barrett, MD of Simpatico PR

Consumers place trust in earned media far more than they do in paid products. Edelman’s Trust Barometer for 2017 showed that recommendations from loved ones and expert opinion from journalists, academics and analysts carries more weight than those of celebrities or brands.

Yet, investment in paid media continues to far outweigh that in PR and earned media. Gartner research shows that paid media comes out on top when it comes to collecting the budget, followed by owned media and branded sites. PR and earned media comes last on the list.

‘Missing a trick’

At yesterday’s webinar, Barrett said that brands that do not consider adding earned media to the marketing mix are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Companies already doing this are showing great gains.

“If you look at Red Bull, for example, it’s an amazing case study for a company that has effectively stopped doing conventional advertising. They now, almost completely, invest in content, they uses that content in all these different ways, and have essentially become a media owner.

“It’s a drinks brand, but it’s also a media owner that owns the extreme sports territory. And they thought laterally about what they could do to increase the profile and interest in their brand.”

While Red Bull is an amazing consumer case study, Barrett added that B2B is where most traction can be gained with earned media. Businesses lend themselves well to being leaders in editorial content due the wealth of business material they have from research, thought leaders and more.

Four steps to achieving truly integrated comms

Barrett said that integration can at times seem complex and challenging but, actually, if you break it down into simple steps it can be very achievable.

  1. Have clear business objectives

For clear business objectives, brands need to think about what they want to say about the company, what they want to achieve, and who they’re trying to reach. “Be really clear about all those KPI’s and then how you’re going to say it and what the key messages are.”

  1. Give your editorial team freedom

Businesses should gain an editorial team or a group of people who are equipped to explore the company or product and question it. “They need to look how it sits in the world. Give them the freedom to do that, and don’t forget that you get to set the rules and parameters when that happens, so it doesn’t have to be scary.”

  1. Connect your content to wider marketing objectives

“You need to map how you’re going to use your ideas against which audience group, media or channel. Then think about the aspects of paid you are going to use; search or native advertising.”

  1. Think of yourself as a media owner

“You should curate your content. Think of yourself as a media owner. You should not just use it and throw it away. Bank it, use technology to help you, edit it, keep it fresh, reuse it, and look at what’s going on in the world to bring it to life again.”

View 2017 webinars here: