Paid, Earned, Owned, Shared: The Media Recipe for Audience Conversion


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Marketers, executives, and the Big Data crowd demand more of every media effort these days, from earned media to paid advertising to brand marketing. Every channel must be able to prove its performance and show how it improves the business overall.

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Paid, Earned, Owned, Shared: The Media Recipe for Audience Conversion

  1. 1. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 1
  2. 2. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 2 Introduction Once upon a time, earned media strategy could be summarized succinctly as this: get media attention, get noticed, and hope that it had some impact on your business. Those days have come and gone. Marketers, executives, and the number- crunching crowd demand more of every media effort these days, from earned media to paid advertising to brand marketing. Every channel must be able to prove its performance and show how it improves the business overall. Paid advertising measurement has become almost a science, as ads are measured in impressions, conversions, and costs per lead with cunning accuracy. Owned, branded media in the marketing channels is measured by conversion all the way down the sales funnel with modern CRMs and marketing automation systems. Earned media is finally beginning to catch up as more and more media outlets become digital or digital/offline hybrids, and the definition of earned media changes from being just about traditional coverage in the mainstream media to being mentioned in all forms of non-owned, non-paid media. A mention by a prominent blogger or social media personality can be just as impactful as a mention in the Grey Lady herself. (for those individuals under 40, the Grey Lady is the nickname of the venerable New York Times) A kid in your restaurant with a smartphone can create a multimillion dollar scandal on YouTube in minutes. With the changes in the world of earned media, what do you need to know? How can you make this work best for you?
  3. 3. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 3 CHAPTER ONE What is Earned Media?
  4. 4. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 4 Defining Earned Media In the PR world, you'll often hear plenty of terms batted around the different kinds of media. Chief among them are three media types: earned, paid, and owned. What do these mean? Before we delve into the different types, let's set the table for an understanding of what media is. We judge what something is by what it does. • Sales produces customers and revenue. • Marketing produces leads and content. • Media produces audience and awareness. Once you understand what the chief goals of sales, marketing, and media are, understanding how media fits into the big picture gets easier. Owned Media Owned media channels are any media channels that you have direct control over in terms of content. There are obvious earned media channels such as your website or your email marketing list, but there are also non-intuitive channels like your company's Facebook Page or your company's Google+ Community or LinkedIn group. Owned media even includes your physical brick and mortar storefront, because you are constantly communicating to the customer while they are in your store. Owned media channels are yours to control and the responsibility for content on them is yours. Likewise, the audience is yours. Paid Media Paid media channels are any media channels that you must pay to access. You don't own them, and unless you pay money, you don't get to have access to them. Examples of paid media are things like pay per click ads, advertisements on TV or radio, banner ads, paid editorial content in email newsletters, sponsored blog posts, etc. Paid media channels are out of your control the moment the money stops, and the flow of audience stops with it. Earned Media Earned media channels are any media channels that you must earn access to by having stuff worth talking about or sharing. Paying money doesn't get you in, and you don't own it, so you have to earn your way in with awesomeness. Earned media channels in the past have been traditional, mainstream media outlets like TV news programs, newspapers, radio talk shows, magazines, etc. but are now a much broader universe. Earned media includes things like other people's blogs, social media accounts, and even search engines. (SEO is functionally another form of earned media) Anywhere someone else can talk about how awesome you are is
  5. 5. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 5 earned media. If you've got awesome to share, earned media can be a tremendous, sustainable source of new audience for your product or service. Shared Media Despite the title of this book being PAID EARNED OWNED SHARED, there isn’t really a shared media, not in the same sense as paid, earned, and owned media. To some degree, shared media is redundant with earned media in that if someone is talking about you and sharing your stuff, then it’s implicitly earned media. More than that, paid, earned, and owned media are locations, are places where content lives, but shared media doesn’t live in any one place. Think of it this way: you could put examples of paid media you’ve created on a flash drive. You could do the same for earned and owned media as well. But you couldn’t put shared media on a flash drive because something being shared has to be content from one of the other three media types. A piece of content on your Facebook Page that was wildly shared is still owned media. An article in the New York Times is still earned media, whether it’s been shared a million times or not at all. Bear in mind as well that shared media exists outside of just social media, because sharing exists in every conceivable way that human beings communicate. A hairdresser talking to a client about a product or service is participating in shared media. A bartender listening to a client ramble over a gin and tonic is participating in shared media. A hand-written note passed in class by a 9 year old girl, if it’s referencing your product or service, is participating in shared media. A neighbor talking over a fence holding a flyer they got in the mail (paid media) is participating in shared media. How do you put that on a flash drive? So what, then, is shared media? It clearly exists, but it's not an actual form of media, so what it is? Shared media is a behavior. Shared media is the glue that binds the different media types and helps transform audiences from one media channel to another. A piece of owned media that lives on your blog, when shared, can quickly become earned media as other bloggers and influencers share it, talk about it, perhaps even write commentary about it. A piece of paid media, when shared, might inspire you to create a variation of it for your owned media properties. Any hot piece of earned media should, of course, always find its way to your website in some form, and sharing is the indicator that you’ve got something worth capturing.
  6. 6. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 6 Once we understand that shared media is a behavior that arises from paid, earned, and owned media, then our view of shared media changes. Instead of being a thing that we're supposed to create, we understand it to be a behavior we want to incentivize. We can ask people why they did or did not perform the behavior we're looking to create, and adjust the roots of that behavior - paid, earned, and owned media - to increase our chances of being shared. Most of all, we understand that shared media a quantifiable outcome, and that means it can legitimately be measured as a goal to be achieved.
  7. 7. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 7 The Role of Earned Media Let’s first talk about how earned media fits in the big picture of your business. All businesses function in more or less the same general model: potential customers have a need, they go search for a solution to that need, find a company or brand to do business with, engage their products or services via purchase (directly or through a distributor), receive service when needed, and hopefully enjoy the ownership of that product or service. There will of course be differences in the details, but at the 20,000 foot view, most businesses look like this. Back in 1898, St. Elmo Louis created a framework that the marketing world still uses in many forms today, the AIDA framework, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. He broke down the phases of how a business gets new customers. A business must capture the attention of prospective customers, build interest in their products or services, incite desire to own those products or services, and get prospective customers to take action. These four categories correspond roughly to the areas of advertising, PR, marketing, and sales. Advertising creates awareness and can drive some attention. PR creates interest by generating word of mouth and mentions in media sources. Marketing creates desire with effective messaging and motivation, and sales closes the deal by getting prospective customers to take action. Times have evolved since Louis’ day, however. Today, advertising functions not only as an attention generator, but as a conversion mechanism that can help skip prospects straight to the sales portion of the business process. PR isn’t just about media, but about word of mouth and creating awareness as well. Marketing, which used to just do collateral, now does as much selling as sales, and savvy sales people maintain entire pipelines independently, performing every role up to the sale itself for their best prospects. Part of the evolution of the sales and marketing funnel is redefining the channels that we use for each function. Author Jim Lecinski of Google created a channel- centric view of this marketing funnel called the Zero Moment of Truth:
  8. 8. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 8 • Stimulus: when the consumer becomes aware of a need. • Zero moment of truth: when the consumer goes in search of answers to fulfill their need. This includes social media, search engines, word of mouth, reviews, and more. • First moment of truth: when the consumer enters the buying process and sees if your product or service fits their need. • Second moment of truth: after owning your product or service, the consumer decides whether or not it lived up to their expectations. If we dig down into the ZMOT framework and look at what happens in each level of the framework, the roles of advertising, public relations, and marketing become more defined. Here are the results of how consumers learn about a product or service in the buying process, from a 2011 Shopper Science study conducted by Google.
  9. 9. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 9 We suddenly see that advertising no longer provides the sole initial stimulus as it once did in Louis’ day. Now earned media helps to create a fair number of the stimulus actions. Digging deeper into the study, we see that earned media falls squarely in the zero moment of truth category as well. Earned media, from the previous section, is any form of media you don’t own or pay for in which other people talk about how awesome you are. Talking with friends and family? Reading product reviews? Reading comments on an article? All of that is earned media.
  10. 10. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 10 The Earned Media Hub Let’s now take the ZMOT pieces, Louis’ AIDA framework, and all of our definitions and assemble them into one cohesive framework that you can put to use in your business. This is the framework created by SHIFT Communications CEO Todd Defren. Let’s walk through it step by step to see how it functions.
  11. 11. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 11 CHAPTER TWO Find
  12. 12. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 12 Research At the beginning of your earned media process, you need to do research (or have your agency do it for you). What are we researching? Ultimately, the goal of earned media is to get talked about in a positive way, so it behooves you to figure out what people are already saying about you, who they are, who they’re friends with, and where they are saying it. On top of that, you’ll want to spend some time investigating companies similar to yours to see what’s working for them. The research phase is often skipped or cut appallingly short by undue haste. Companies of all sizes and even many agencies give short shrift to research because it’s time-intensive and doesn’t necessarily produce compelling data that’s immediately obvious. Resist the temptation to just Google a few things and move on in the earned media process! Research isn’t that simple. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you ran a coffee shop in Boston and you wanted to do some research for earned media. You could just Google for coffee shops in Boston, and you’d get a reasonable idea of what the local landscape looks like. But that’s not enough for earned media research. Take the time to do broader searches. What stories are already being covered about coffee shops in Boston? What’s trending? What things are capturing the attention of the audiences you want to reach? Take a look below at the Google Trends tool. Here you can see how popular various coffee terms are in the Boston area. Mix and match various terms until you find something that you can incorporate into your brand.
  13. 13. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 13 Look at all of the digital tools available to market your business. These tools can be used to discern how much audience you have access to before you begin your earned media outreach. Here’s an example where we searched for people in Boston who like various coffee brands and coffee topics: Once you’ve done your research and you know what’s being talked about, who’s talking about it, and where you stand in the media landscape that you want to earn attention in, we can move onto the second phase: messaging.
  15. 15. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 15 Messaging The second step of the earned media hub framework is messaging, or message distillation more specifically. What is the core message you want to be sending out to try to earn some attention? How will that message translate across a variety of different media? Let’s go back to our coffee shop example. Here’s what the average media release will probably say. “Generic Coffee Shop is proud to announce our winter blend of coffee made with seasonal spices. It’s available for a limited time at our shop. Generic Coffee Shop strives to offer great quality coffee in a welcoming atmosphere with outstanding service.” As a message destined for media outreach, this is completely unfocused. It applies to nearly every coffee shop in the world and thus there’s nothing newsworthy or shareworthy about it. Take a rule used by new media professionals in a digital, social world and apply it here: the headline is the story. In this age of digital media that’s ever shorter, from text messages to Twitter, you’ve got to get the story into the headline alone. Now, that’s not to say that the blog post, video, or infographic you’re going to produce aren’t important - they most assuredly are - but you’ve got to grab attention as fast as possible. One exercise that’s especially potent but incredibly simple is to take your message and condense it down to one Tweet, 140 characters. By doing an exercise that distills out the essence of your message, you have
  16. 16. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 16 something far more powerful for your earned media work. The distilled message should have its value be obvious and up front immediately. The distilled message also gives you an instant way to measure your earned media outreach efforts. If your message is tight, compact, and focused, you’ll know exactly what media outlets and personalities will respond well to it and what outlets will not. Let’s go back to our coffee shop example. What could our fictional coffee shop say instead? “We stole your grandma’s spiced cider recipe and crammed it into our coffee. Have a taste!” That’s bold. It’s unambiguous. It has a distinct tone that helps you identify who should be sharing it and who shouldn’t be. From here, we move onto creative and content.
  17. 17. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 17 Creative and Content Once you’ve got the message nailed down solidly, you have to create it in a variety of forms. The message will give you some insight into what formats you could use, but there are still lots of different ways it could take shape. Does your message lend itself well to audio? To video? To imagery and infographics? What about interactive formats like games or product samples? What’s going to work best for your audience? Message formats can surprise you. Once upon a time, I was doing the media and marketing for a student loan company, and the idea sprang up of doing a 10-20 minute daily audio show. When you think about student loans, you generally don’t think “Internet radio show” in the same thought, nor would you ever expect anything like that to be even remotely popular. 3 years and 937 episodes of the Financial Aid Podcast later, the show was a hit with over 5,000 daily listeners, making front page news in industry publications and earning media mentions in national publications like US News & World Report. Why? In addition to being useful content, it was a format that no one ever expected to work. Who would want to hear about financial aid every day? If the goal of earned media is to get people talking, sometimes the most unconventional approaches (as long as they’re consistent with your brand and message) will work best for you. Make a list of all of the media formats that you (or your agency) have proficiency in working with, and then think about how to transform your message into content that works best. Remember to also create content with an eye towards the three major media channels. Content should be designed to be shareable and shareworthy for earned media purposes, compact and attention getting for buyers seeing you in paid media/advertising, and well-optimized for search, mobile, and social on your branded/owned media properties.
  18. 18. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 18 Here is a partial list of possible channels for you to consider. Where could your brand publish content? What channels best fit your content ideas? Audio Podcast Streaming online radio ITunes store or Google Play Terrestrial radio Satellite radio Radio ads Video Videoblog Television YouTube and similar web properties Streaming video channels like Mobile video Video ads
  19. 19. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 19 Text Blog Social networks Website Guest posts on other websites EBooks Whitepapers Discussion forums Interactive Desktop apps Web apps Mobile apps Widgets
  20. 20. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 20 CHAPTER FOUR Engage
  21. 21. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 21 Earned Media The logical cornerstone of the earned media hub strategy must be earned media. Remember back to the definition of earned media: any place that people can talk about how awesome you are that isn’t yours or that you haven’t paid for. Assuming you’ve got your message, your creative, and your content, who do you give it to? This harkens back to step 1 of the earned media hub strategy: the research. In that phase, you should have successfully identified who your audiences are and where they’re talking about what you want to talk about. Let’s go back to our fictional coffee shop again. We’ve got our new winter brew messaging done, and now we’re looking for people who might be interested in talking about it. Using just the built in search for Twitter, we’ll go look for coffee shops being talked about near Boston. With this simple search, we can identify who’s talking about coffee shops.
  22. 22. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 22 Here’s one person who’s talking about the topic: This, based on their content, might be a good person to reach out to. If you’re using a PR agency, this is where they should shine, as they’ve got the Rolodex, the contacts lists, the relationships with media sources that will help you get earned media “hits” quickly and effectively. Even if you’re not using an agency, however, all isn’t lost. Go back to your research and see where similar companies are getting media coverage (old and new) and piggyback off their efforts. Let’s say you were that generic coffee shop. You’d head to Google and see what nearby coffee shops are doing well in terms of reviews (a form of earned media). Here’s an example of a competitor, In-House Cafe:
  23. 23. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 23 The logical approach is to visit this website, identify the writer…
  24. 24. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 24 … And ask for coverage of your coffee shop’s winter brew by inviting Susan to it for a free cup.
  25. 25. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 25 Paid Media Paid media isn’t exclusive of earned media; in fact, it’s powerfully complementary. Think about it for a second - the goal of all forms of media is to generate audience that marketing can convert and sales can close. Different audiences respond to different forms of stimulus; earned media gets attention, but paid advertisements can get the attention of people looking for something very specific. Thus, when your earned media story dovetails nicely with a search interest that can drive business, deploying a multi-media approach can generate great results. Paid media can be a powerful reinforcer of your earned media efforts. Let’s look at a couple of examples. Promoting An Earned Media Story Suppose you’re the Generic Coffee Shop and you managed to get a story covering you in the Boston Globe. Your average business or PR agency would cut out the article, frame it, slap it on the wall of the lobby/reception desk, and congratulate themselves on a nice earned media piece. But there’s so much more that could be done with that piece. The low hanging fruit would be to get your winter brew coffee promotion on an ad on the Boston Globe. Fire up Google Adwords and look for the Display Network, find the publication your story is in, and buy some inventory.
  26. 26. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 26 Owned Media The third part of the earned media hub is owned media, also called branded media. It’s the stuff that is yours, the stuff that you have direct control over. This includes your website, your social media accounts, your email list, your CRM, everything and anything that you can publish to without paying someone else to publish on your behalf. Believe it or not, owned media is where most companies fall down hardest on earned media. The average company takes its earned media and puts it in the back corner of the corporate website under the news page, buried so far below the fold that only search engine robots see it. It’s put with the press releases that no one reads and is largely neglected as the company moves on to other digital marketing priorities. Nothing could be a bigger waste of money and resources! If you get a media hit from a source that your audience is going to know and recognize, promote it! Create a social campaign around the story, highlighting the great third party endorsement that you’ve received.
  27. 27. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 27 Deploy a mailing to your mailing list - especially prospective customers - that will bring traffic to the story’s mention on your website or the original publication. If you’ve got an offer, set up a distinct landing page for the story that welcomes readers from the publication and is tailored to their specific interest from the story. For example, if the Boston Globe did a story covering our fictional coffee shop’s new brew, it might make sense to have a Globe Special in the shop for a week, and anyone who liked the story on the shop’s Facebook Page or retweeted it on Twitter would get a free sample or a free small cup. Likewise, if you sent out an email to the coffee shop’s list with a “Share this with your network” link, you could track who did share and then offer them a coupon or a free sample as well. Use the power of the networks you’ve already built to boost the visibility of your earned media coverage. It costs you only time and energy, and can create a powerful halo effect for your brand that drives audience.
  28. 28. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 28 CHAPTER FIVE Convert
  29. 29. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 29 The Measurement Funnel Let’s return to the beginning, in the desired outcomes of our media, marketing, and sales. • Sales produces customers and revenue. • Marketing produces leads and content. • Media produces audience and awareness. The appropriate metrics for each layer of your business funnel need to be based on the outcomes they generate. There absolutely is a return on investment, an ROI to earned media, just as there is an ROI to marketing and an ROI to sales. Here’s the catch with earned media ROI: if you look at the average sales and marketing funnel, it’s several steps away from the ultimate desired outcome. Most sales and marketing funnels look something like this: Notice how the output of media - audience - sits at the top of the funnel? The audience you generate has to raise their hand and become a prospect,
  30. 30. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 30 someone who has a problem that you can solve. That prospect must become a lead, someone who has the ability to buy from a supplier in the marketplace and is actively seeking a solution to their problem. A lead must become an opportunity, someone who is ready to buy, has identified solutions to their problems, and will choose you or another supplier. Finally, of course, the opportunity is someone who has to choose you in order to become a closed deal. Bear in mind that these processes aren’t always obvious. If we go back to our coffee shop example, these processes can be summarized like this: • Audience: the number of people who hear about our coffee shop. • Prospects: the number of people who need a cup of coffee. • Leads: the number of people who are actively looking for a cup of coffee. • Opportunities: the number of people who are choosing where they’re going to get their cup of coffee from. • Closed Deals: the number of people who walk into your coffee shop and buy a cup of coffee from you. The transition from someone waking up needing a cup of coffee to someone who is an opportunity can be nearly instant, but that doesn’t mean the phases of the marketing funnel don’t happen! Customers in transactional exchanges like getting a cup of coffee still do go through the processes, just at a very fast pace compared to someone buying a big ticket item like a television, car, house, or airplane. The more involved each step is between audience and closed deal (sale), the more chances there are for things to go wrong. If your earned media generates a lot of audience to your online store, but your store is down, then the audience value drops to zero since there’s no way for them to become customers. If your earned media generates a lot of audience, but your sales team couldn’t sell water to a thirsty guy in a desert, the value of your audience still drops to zero because there’s no bottom line impact. This is why PR professionals have struggled for decades to be able to confidently state the value of their work, whether in-house or at an agency. When so much can go wrong between attention and bottom line action, how do you value the work of earned media? The answer has traditionally been to simply state the obvious outcomes. If you
  31. 31. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 31 score a media hit in the Boston Globe for your coffee shop, you reached an audience equivalent to whatever the Globe’s audience that reads the story is. For example, the story above on reached 138,000 viewers, so the effective audience was 138,000 people. The problem is, audience sits at the top of the funnel. What’s it worth?
  32. 32. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 32 The Value of Audience If we work our way back up the marketing funnel, it’s relatively straightforward to understand the value of audience, at least in a digital marketing capacity. Let’s take a look at our marketing funnel again and put some example numbers to it, assuming a 50% conversion ratio from stage to stage. Here we see that 10,000 members of the audience turn into 5,000 prospects, which in turn convert to 2,500 leads, 1,250 opportunities, and eventually 625 sales. Now let’s put this in the context of our coffee shop, selling a $5 cup of coffee. • Audience: 10,000 people who hear about our coffee shop from earned, owned, and paid media. • Prospects: Of those 10,000 people, 5,000 of them need a cup of coffee. • Leads: 2,500 of those people are willing to get off their couches and go out to find a cup of coffee from somewhere.
  33. 33. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 33 • Opportunities: A bunch of people don’t want to be out in the cold, but 1,250 of them persist and walk down the street, finding your coffee shop and walking in. • Closed Deals: 625 people who walked into your coffee shop liked what they saw and bought a $5 cup of coffee from you. Let’s clean this up and simplify it so we can see what an audience member is worth. There it is. For every 1 sale you need to make, you need to have 16 audience members in this example. Collect 16 audience members and 1 of those audience members, if they follow this process, will buy a cup of coffee from you. Now let’s talk revenue and flip the funnel upside down. If a sale is worth $5, then what are the stages before the sale worth?
  34. 34. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 34 That means that if you are spending more than 31 cents to acquire an audience member, you’re losing money on audience acquisition if your cup of coffee sells for $5. You either have to reduce your audience acquisition costs or increase your revenue from your sales. How do you measure this in a practical way? For that, we turn to Google Analytics.
  35. 35. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 35 Multi-Channel Funnels Change the Game The game changed for the PR and marketing world on August 24, 2011, when Google rolled out its multi-channel funnels for their web analytics package, Google Analytics. Here’s why. Prior to this change, earned media faced a challenge of attribution. It was assumed that the last touch, the last interaction that a consumer had with a brand was the interaction that made them choose to buy. For example, if they received an email from a brand and bought an item on the website, then the email marketing program got credit. We know through our own experiences in life that this isn’t how most transactions work, especially of anything that’s a bigger ticket item or that involves other people. We talk to friends. We read reviews. We Google. We do all of these things that are invisible to last-touch metrics - including reading earned media - and thus earned media got little to no credit for its role in the buying process. Google changed that by allowing companies to see more of what happened and what contributed to a transaction of value without being the last touch, the last interaction. Not only that, but if goals and goal values are set up in Google Analytics in a correct and meaningful way, then you can see the actual dollar values of assisted conversions (non-last-touch) alongside the last touch conversions. Here’s an example: In this example, we can see that social media contributed 19 conversions that were last touches - 19 sales directly from social properties. We also see that there were 22 assisted conversions, touches that were in the chain of value but weren’t the last thing that the buyer did before converting. If you were attempting to value what social media was worth to this company and you relied only on the 19 conversions, you’d be missing 54% of the value that social media brought to the company.
  36. 36. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 36 So how do you tie this to the value of audience? Every company and every brand that has an online presence of any kind has the ability to correlate online activities to revenue using the funnel model in the previous chapter. Reach as far down into the funnel as you can with valuable activities people can do online with you (signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, requesting a catalog, even asking for driving directions to your store), assign that a value based on the funnels from the previous section, and set that as a measurable goal in Google Analytics. The software will then take care of attributing what activities led to your achieved goals. Once you’re able to effectively measure the actions people take online that correlate to valuable business objectives, you’re able to start discerning what the value of earned media is. What should you be looking for? Absent any interfering campaigns (like PPC ads, etc.), we should see upticks in 4 major areas of your multi-channel funnel conversion analytics that correspond to the value that earned media is providing. 1. Direct traffic increases. Direct traffic in Google Analytics is traffic that has no referring source at all. People simply typed in your company’s URL and came to your site directly. If your earned media is creating awareness of your company, direct traffic should increase, and conversions from direct traffic should increase as well. 2. Referral traffic increases. Referral traffic is traffic that comes in from other websites. These can be smaller social networks, blogs, mainstream media sites, etc. - anywhere that someone can click on a link and end up at your site. If earned media is working for you, people will be blogging about you, mentioning you, discussing you, and linking to you, and your referral traffic & conversions should increase. 3. Search traffic increases. Search traffic is traffic that comes in from search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and many others. If earned media is working for you, people will hear of you and search for you, and search traffic & conversions should increase. 4. Social network traffic increases. Earned media is all about getting other people to talk about you, and digital word of mouth happens on social networks. If earned media is working for you, people will visit your website from social networks, with a corresponding increase in conversions as well. Bear in mind that this is only one of seven ways that SHIFT recommends you measure the impact of earned media, but it’s one within reach of nearly everyone who has an online presence with activities that can be tied back to valuable
  37. 37. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 37 business objectives.
  38. 38. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 38 Conclusion We hope this overview of the earned media hub strategy proves useful to you in your own earned media efforts! It’s a wonderful way of seeing the big picture about earned media and how earned media can be a solid source of the audience you need to keep your marketing and sales funnels filled. Blatant Social Panhandling If you liked this guide, please share it on the social network of your choice! Be sure to also follow SHIFT Communications on these channels: Twitter: Facebook: LinkedIn: Google+: About SHIFT Communications SHIFT is an integrated communications agency with offices in Boston, NYC and San Francisco, composed of over 100 creative, smart, and sassy brainiacs. We help find, build, and convert the new audiences you need to drive business growth for consumer, technology and media companies, ranging from edgy startups to established brands.
  39. 39. Penn / PAID, EARNED, OWNED, SHARED / 39 Get More PR and Communications Insights! Want to keep on learning about public relations, communications, and how they can benefit your company? Subscribe for free to SHIFT Happens, the weekly email newsletter from SHIFT Communications that wraps up what you should know each Wednesday. It’s completely free and will help you learn better how to leverage all of the earned media you’re getting. Click here to subscribe to SHIFT Happens: Blatant Sales Pitch We would be remiss if we didn’t say that if all of this feels overwhelming, we’re happy to help. Engage our services for your marketing and earned media needs and we’ll show you how your company and brand can shine, get attention from the audiences that will benefit you most, and drive bottom-line results in a measurable way. You’ll also get a chance to see our 6 part measurement framework in full! Click here to contact us and engage our services: