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Earned media - the important marketing trend for 2012

Every marketer should be eager to get "earned media" to build their brands online. For those who don't know, earned media, is when your branded content is shared via social media and online influencers. While on the surface it may seem easy - and free - simply create some great content and watch it spread online. Right?
Earned media - the important marketing trend for 2012

Creating compelling content, such as videos, games, competitions and news is just the first step. Then you have to invest in some online and offline PR to ensure that your content spreads. And may even support with some paid media. This means that your "earned media" is not really that free, as it takes a lot of expertise to get it right.

So for marketing professionals it's important to include an "Earned Media" section in your briefs to your agency. This also means that you should not be satisfied when your agency goes off and does what they've always done - create ads and buy media - they should also attract, motivate, and engage your target audiences with brand content. Your agency should be "earning" media in addition to buying it.

Who is responsible for managing earned media?

Certainly, activating the sharing of content is a far different role that just buying media - because it involves a structured and strategic approach to identifying, understanding and measuring social shares. Internationally, agencies are appointing Earned Media Directors (EMD) to manage this emerging - and important - discipline, but at Gullan&Gullan the responsibility sits with the PR Account Managers and Creative Director - both of who are highly proficient in the digital space.

The G&G Earned Media team is responsible for the following:
  • Staying abreast with digital trends
  • Strategically planning earned media campaigns
  • Selection of relevant social platforms and online influencers
  • Ensuring the content is relevant to the brand and the selected social channels
  • Guiding the creation and execution of earned media campaigns - from start to end
  • Ensuring maximum reach via paid media (if any), online and offline PR and social sharing
  • Measuring the impact of earned media on bottom-line sales, brand reach and marketing ROI
The last - and crucial - paradigm shift that marketers should make is about the results. When it comes to Earned Media, results - whether likes, shares, or other types of engagement - quality always generates better results than quantity. You may have 10,000 Facebook fans, but if they don't share and influence others, what are they worth? At Gullan&Gullan we cannot emphasize enough that generating high-quality, impactful earned media should be top of your list of objectives.

Creating and generating Earned Media is second nature for our agency, as we have always integrated online and offline PR into our creative services, so now we simply have to create shareable and engaging content and work to ensure it is seen, shared and spoken about in the online and offline space. This is a whole lot of fun.

12 Mar 2012 12:22


About the author

Desirée Gullan is the Creative Director of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touchpoint from above and below the line, online, and brand experiences. Visit www.gullanandgullan.com.