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Getting Content Marketing Right: How to Gain Earned Media Coverage

You can never gather enough content… And neither can your business or your prospective customers.

We are living in a digital age where communication is everything. If you are an up-and-coming business, it’s a given that you should invest a considerable amount of time and effort into solidifying your company’s media presence – not only for the sake of saying you *have* an online presence but as a way of surviving the increasingly cut-throat market that prioritizes digital clout. 

What does this mean, exactly? Well, in a time where social media activity and Google searches play an important role in a customer’s purchase decision, the companies that do best are often those that have effectively strategized how to capture the attention of their prospective customers. In order to do this, it is important to conceptualize a content marketing strategy that is consistent with your company’s goals, and this starts by identifying what type of media coverage you’re trying to get and what platforms you should be using.

The Golden Trio

It’s easy to assume that content marketing simply involves writing a lot of content and getting your audience to read them. Though this is true to a certain degree, it is important to differentiate between the content you create for your own platform (owned media), content that you pay for (paid media), and content written by journalists that want to talk about you (earned media). Let’s break these down:

Owned media refers to the message written by you and your team about your business on your company’s own website, blog, and/or social media channels. While this is a fundamental function for every company, relying on owned media doesn’t necessarily translate to greater sales because prospects are aware that you own these platforms. So, when you’re talking about rolling out a great new product or service on your blog, your audience may be more skeptical about truly amazing it is because – of course – you wouldn’t downplay your own business.

Paid media consists of content that you pay for to be featured on external platforms. This can include all forms of advertisements, pay-per-click articles, and sponsored articles. Again, while this could be useful for businesses, particularly when they’re just starting out, paid media doesn’t necessarily bring in the sales prospects companies hope for because prospects know the content has been paid for. Paid media is often useful as a tool for raising awareness but not necessarily for eliciting purchase decisions.

Earned media, while being the most difficult to execute, is lauded as the most effective form of content for companies to use. This form of media usually takes the form of third-party content written by journalists or outlets about your company, whether they simply mention you or offer an interview of you, your products, and/or services. For prospects and readers, this is considered the most compelling type of media because it provokes curiosity given that your company is noteworthy enough to be mentioned by journalists and influential personalities they might follow. Earned media also provides a more genuine perspective on your company, making them more receptive to the idea of considering your products or services.

Strategizing Your Content Marketing Strategy

Having an effective content marketing strategy involves combining all three types of media to form a cohesive message to your audience; but what many businesses often struggle with is securing earned media, which is understandably difficult given that it is beyond their control. After all, no one can just force an outlet to talk positively about a certain product or service they don’t know about.

Neglecting the importance of earned media can be problematic for businesses because this is considered the most credible form of media from which your audience gains information about them. Getting to know about a business from a trusted source tends to elicit greater trust among prospective buyers, which in turn translates to better sales. But of course, in order to do this, you must gain the attention of these outlets.

How? First and foremost, it is important to demonstrate that your products and services are not only top-notch but also significantly different from those of your competitors. Showcasing thought leadership and offering better solutions that provide greater value to your customers reassure your audience that you are worth taking seriously. This, coupled with effective SEO and social media campaigns, will surely get attention.

This should be followed by having a clear idea of the right channel that works best for your business. Things to consider include the platforms most used by your audience, where your competitors are featured, and which platform coincides best with your objectives. Though it’s easy to simply choose the “best” platforms out there, you should note that it is important to choose the best platform that works for your business – and you will be surprised at which ones are actually the most effective for you.

Finally, and possibly the most important aspect of all is having a compelling story that would draw the interest of credible media outlets and audiences. This means being able to share thought-provoking insights about your company or industry that provides value to readers in a way that is entertaining and easily digestible. It may also be worth looking into the style of certain publications and whether they fit into your corporate identity.

Attaining earned media, or even simply figuring out a cohesive content marketing strategy, is not easy. This requires you to truly understand who you are as a company and what your goals are, then performing trials on what works and what doesn’t. But once your business gains traction among the various media outlets out there, this earned media will be the icing on the cake for your brand-media mix.

You may not have figured out content marketing yet. Reach out to us using the contact form provided so we can discuss how you can ace your marketing communication strategy.

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