Social Media; The Best Outcome is Earned (Or Coupled With Paid & Owned Media)

Recently, I came across an article by Lauren Drell titled, “How Social Media Is Changing Paid, Earned & Owned Media“. The take away from this article is definitely the benefit of each type of media coverage. In the Internet Politics course at Georgetown University, we had a guest speaker, Simon Owens from Jess3 on July 18, 2011. Owens, the Director of Public Relations, discussed how the agency he works at differs in that they operate through earned media for their clients. Drell says  that media that is earned is “squarely social”. “A YouTube channel will succeed only if consumers watch and share the videos they see. A brand needs to earn those eyeballs with creative execution of content”.

Drell and Owen discussed earned media in that same context, in order to be successful through earned media, the publisher must produce content that appeals to the widest range of users possible. Not only must this appeal to a wide range of people, they must also want to share it with others, therefor they must also be an influencer or at least have a range of influence where they can reach other influencers. “So, the goal of the modern agency is to connect the dots and integrate all media for maximum results. Of the three buckets, the holy grail is earned media. Earned media can be most easily described as the result of paid and media — you buy a Super Bowl ad (paid) or you run a promotion on your brand’s Facebook Page (owned), and then and then people in the media talk about it (earned) and the Twitterverse erupts into conversation about that topic. You may shell out big bucks to flash an ad before a consumer, but you can’t force them to buy anything or tweet about it — you have to earn that consumer’s dollars and tweets, you have to engage and empower him to become your evangelist, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester“.

Also within this article, Drell discusses paid and owned media. Owned being media that which is published by and on a company’s website. Paid being media that which is purchased (usually at a much higher price than the other two) and presented on the purchased space. The article goes further to discuss the value of using each type of media and how they work together to promote the overall package, if applied concurrently. “As more consumers get on board with social media, generating earned media through social shares will become an even higher priority. And that means paid and owned media — and the teams that manage each — will need to work together even more seamlessly. The barriers of the silos are broken, and they’re only going to crumble more”.