Developing a Social Content Strategy: Finding the right mix of paid, owned and earned Media


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Amy Mengel's presentation from the 2012 PRSA Counselors to Higher Education Senior Summit defines different types of content types: paid media, owned media, and earned media, offers examples of each from across higher education institutions, and discusses a framework for integrating the three types of media in to a strategic communications approach.

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  • Today I’m going to be talking about a common rubric for thinking about different types of content: It’s the idea of paid, owned and earned media as the various types of content channels for telling a brand’s story.  This is important because as the media landscape continues to rapidly change and consumers adjust where and how they receive and seek information -- and even change how they ascribe trust and credibility to messages -- communicators need to know how to blend the three to maximize their effectiveness.
  • I’m currently head of research and marketing at readMedia, an Albany, N.Y. based software company that works with more than 420 institutions in higher ed. Our platform is used by colleges and universities to drive engagement,brand awareness, and reputation in the local and social networks of their students. I’ve been with readMedia for about two and a half years now and have immersed myself in the higher ed world and worked hard to learn more about what types of communications challenges and opportunities institutions face. I come from a corporate communications background – I spent 7 years at large companies like Lockheed Martin and GE working in a variety of communications roles including employee communications, marketing, and media relations.
  • Last year, I partnered with PRSA CHE to produce “Leadership Lessons”, which was a monthly webcast interview series with some of higher ed’s top communicators – many of the guests are in this room. If you’d like to watch any of the archived interviews – which covered crisis communications, change management, communications planning, and brand management – you can go
  • So, back to the main event: this framework of earned, owned and paid media. These terms have been brought up and alluded to over the course of the conference in some of the earlier presentations.Today I’m going to define what each of these categories really means, share the pros and cons of each, and talk through some examples. Then I’ll discuss plans and methods for balancing your communications efforts across these three domains and share some examples from institutions who’ve done it well.
  • I want to preface this with the obvious statement that no matter what content strategy or mix you choose, the overall institutional goals need to be top of mind. And those goals come from your institution’s strategic plan.If you’re trying to grow enrollment or develop a more academically strong incoming class, your content and communications strategy should reflect that. If key goals are student retention or showcasing post-graduation outcomes, then your content should be in service of that. If it’s research or generating more grant money… you get the idea. Institutional goals come first, and those should drive your content and messaging strategy and help you choose the right mix. Your content should support your goals.
  • At many institutions, earned, owned and paid media are often treated as separate strategies. An advertising or marketing team, or maybe even admissions/enrollment marketing, handles ad buys. You may have a digital or web content team that manages owned media, like the website and some owned social networks, like the university Facebook fan page and YouTube channel. You may have a publications team that puts out the alumni magazine and annual report. And a media relations or public affairs team is working the earned media angle, trying to pitch reporters to land coveted news coverage about research or programs.
  • The problem with this set up is that it reinforces the word that higher ed loves to hate: SILOS.
  • Treating communications separately like this – even when you do have a good working relationship across some of these groups – can be much less effective than breaking down those silos and building solid communications efforts across all three types of media. Some of the most successful communications strategies today are taking advantage of the intersection of these different media channels and know how to leverage them against or in concert with one another. So let’s dig in to what each of these types of channels really mean and define them separately before we talk about bringing them together.
  • I’ll begin by defining paid media. Paid media is really the easiest of the three to grasp – you are buying media placement with real dollars. You want to access a specific audience that someone else has gathered, and you pay to insert your brand messaging in front of that audience. And often that audience is full of strangers – you don’t necessarily have an existing relationship with them.In the offline world, this is everything from newspaper and magazine ads to billboards to radio and TV spots. Online, paid media includes search ads, display ads, and new social ad units like sponsored stories in Facebook or Promoted tweets.
  • Paid media provides a few benefits: first, you have complete control over your message, both creative and content. Second, you can control reach – spend more or less to reach a larger or smaller audience. The more you spend, the more you can blanket audiences with your content. Third, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to demographic, geographic and behavioral targeting. You can adjust where you spend your dollars so that you’re likely to only reach a certain cohort or segment of your desired audience. Fourth, paid media is also very auditable: you can track impressions, clicks, actions and conversions pretty easily. Lastly, It can be fast, too: write the check to buy the ads, provide the content, and your brand messaging can be in front of a key audience in no time.
  • Challenges to paid media include, first of all, cost. People’s degree of trust in paid advertising is lower than other forms of content. This low level of influence among paid media can also translate into low conversion rates from ads. Paid media also stops working when you stop paying – there’s no longevity.I want to share some examples of types of paid media, and specifically dig in on paid media within the context of social networks and online, since that’s the most new and likely what many of you in this room are the least familiar with.
  • First, I’ll touch briefly on paid online advertising via search – namely Google. This is classic search advertising where you pay-per-click and bid on keywords so that your ads appear right above or next to the top-ranking organic search results. The paid search results have a much lower click-through rate than the organic search results – and organic results can be driven by optimizing efforts in owned media, which I will get to. But lots of institutions use paid search as a way to drive specific transactions around specific programs. It can be the fastest way to be found. Paid search can be low-cost and flexible: you can look at results in near-real time and adapt your campaigns on the fly if keyword combinations or ad units don’t appear to be garnering click-throughs.Paid search can go well beyond simple keyword buys, though, and some colleges are getting pretty creative. They are buying pre-roll spots against popular YouTube videos, for example. Or, they are thinking about what other kinds of things their key audiences do and search for on Google. A great example is from Davenport University and Google Maps.
  • Instead of buying ads against general search results, they bought ad units on Google MAPS, and they bought them against competitor institutions! Think about the process that happens when students narrow down their college choices and really start investigating. A college visit is probably a key part of the decision. So what do you do when you’re ready to go take the college visit? You sit down at Google Maps and look up how to get there. Davenport University bought search ad units against neighboring Hillsdale College, 60 miles away. If you go to search for directions to Hillsdale, right underneath you see an ad for Davenport promising new student scholarships for particular fields of study. And buying ads against a branded phrase like “Hillsdale College” is a lot less competitive (and thus more affordable) than trying to buy ads against keywords like “business degree” or “college scholarships”This is a perfect blend of geographic, behavioral and demographic targeting. And that’s the beauty of search advertising as a form of paid media. You’re hitting someone with a relevant message just as they are at the point of transaction or searching out information, and if you’re effective you can sway them toward your information instead of someone else’s.
  • Okay, so onto paid media in terms of social networks. Facebook has continued to evolve its revenue model and how it makes money from ads, and the latest iteration happened late last fall at the F8 developer’s conference. With the introduction of sponsored stories, Facebook is allowing brands that run fan pages to take content they created for the page and turn it into ad units. In many ways Facebook ads are similar to Google AdWords – you can pay based on impressions or based on clickthroughs, and you can bid on available ad inventory.
  • Sponsored stories are a paid way within Facebook to “guarantee” better placement/impressions.Sponsored Stories try to “force” or even imitate the organic, word-of-mouth interactions that marketers crave. They give the appearance of an organic recommendation (Michael Likes This) even though it’s a paid placement.
  • Or, in the case of this example for the Titanic 3D movie, premium ads and sponsored stories infiltrate your newsfeed and look like content you’ve opted into. It looks like something one of your friends shared, or maybe content from a brand page… but the tiny word “sponsored” in the lower right means that Facebook was paid to put this in your news feed.
  • A key thing to remember about Facebook and its advertising model is that it’s geared toward BIG brands with BIG budgets. The Coca-Colas,Disneys, P&Gs and Starbucks of the world. Again, we’ll touch on this in the next section on owned media, but as Facebook brand page managers realize that it’s harder and harder to reach fans of pages via newsfeed content, Facebook is even rolling out something called “Reach Generator” to ensure brand content gets in front of more of their fans. Estimates are that to be eligible for this tool/feature, brands need to spend a minimum of $25K per month on Facebook ads and sponsored stories. I don’t know of many higher ed institutions with that kind of ad spend available!
  • Some other types of online paid media: Loyola University used promoted tweets.Ithaca College ran Pandora radio ads in March/April. Interestingly enough, the ads on Pandora mobile far outperformed the ads from users running Pandora on desktop. Unlike traditional radio ads, Pandora ads are very auditable – you can tell exactly who clicked through and where they went from your landing page.This type of paid media is most effective for driving people to a specific action: request more info, sign up for a tour, make a donation.
  • Important things to think of with paid media are of course budget, messaging, and targeting. Let’s move on to owned media. When we get to talking about integration in a moment, you’ll see how paid media can best be used as a catalyst to create or drive an audience to your owned media. So let’s move on to owned media right now.
  • Owned media is classic content marketing. These are the channels that you control, like your website or alumni magazine, or that you mostly control, like your YouTube channel or Facebook fan page. Owned media is the opportunity for you to really tell the story of your brand. When David Meerman Scott talks about “brand journalism” or you hear people discussing “brands as media companies” – they’re talking about owned media.
  • Owned media has several benefits: *control is foremost among them. You decide what the content appears and how it’s presented. A lot of owned media content is evergreen and can be used repeatedly to engage a community.It’s an opportunity to build longer-term relationships around a community, not necessarily just a passive audience. In fact, the audience shifts from strangers to customers or stakeholders – typically the audience for owned media (initially) is people who already have some type of interest in or affiliation with your brand. You can use a more authentic voice have that come through in your content. It’s less interruptive than paid media – typically people seek out or discover owned media content.You can also more broadly extend your brand across the web via owned media – you’re not just limited to your website, but you can now create content outposts for your brand elsewhere online where people are consuming content and having conversations. And owned media can be a really important role in search engine optimization – I’ll touch upon that in a moment.
  • The drawbacks of owned media are that it takes a lot of time, skill and effort to build and sustain. It’s expensive from a resource standpoint: the cost is in the human resources to create this content, and sometimes in the tools needed to accomplish and then publish or distribute the content effectively. Owned media doesn’t come with a built-in audience -- often you need to use paid media in order to create and drive an audience to your owned media. It can be difficult to measure the success of owned media in real, quantitative terms that link to behaviors or outcomes. It’s less transactional. And because owned media content is still coming from the brand itself, audiences may not trust it as much as content from an objective third-party. And owned media on platforms that you don’t 100% control can be subject to the whims of that service provider. (Facebook Timeline for brands, e.g.). So let’s take a look at some examples of types of effective owned media and the role it can play.
  • I mentioned SEO earlier, and owned media can play a big role here. Your largest owned media property is your .edu website, and you have the control over that site to make sure it’s optimized for discovery by search engines. About 60% of searchers never go past page 1 of search results, and 42% of them click on the first organic link that’s returned. Plus, 77% choose organic over paid search results. Optimizing your website – your most important owned media outlet --can go far toward making sure people can find you online.
  • One specific example of how this can be effective is optimizing faculty profiles on your site. I’ve been to dozens of higher ed conferences with reporters who all say they NEVER look at experts directories. Think about how a reporter conducts story research these days: via Google. Optimizing your website, especially your faculty profile pages, with keywords that highlight their expertise, can be one way to help reporters find them. Or you can even create topic-based landing pages that help aggregate information on key areas. Oregon State does a great job of this – their “experts directory” isn’t a PDF list or database of topics and professors, it’s a rich media site with keywords that showcase their faculty as it relates to this topic.
  • If you search “Earthquake and Tsunami Expert”, their page is the first result.
  • Microsites are another common form of owned media -- they can be specific to a campaign or a message and can take on a different feel and tone. SNHU used a “Konami code” microsite to promote its game design & development program. This was a site designed around a short-term campaign. It was an “Easter Egg” on their home page. An Easter Egg is something that’s familiar to gamers: it’s a little trick or hidden element that give you some type of benefit. In the Contra video game, entering the Konami code gave you extra lives.SNHU programmers and designers made a microsite so that when visitors to the main SNHU homepage entered the Konami code, they unlock a playable version of Contra along with a history of the game, info on the university’s game design & development program, and several calls to action, including requesting more information, scheduling a campus visit and sharing the game through social media.1,100 visitors entered the Konami code. 945 of them were first time visitors to the SNHU home page. Total of 3,000 uniques to the microsite. Now, two months later, they are still seeing a sustained 80% increase in traffic to their game development program site versus before the campaign. They were even able to track one visitor all the way through and determine that they filled out an application – effective cost per lead for them, from an enrollment standpoint.SNHU targets a lot of non-traditional, adult and online students, especially for this program. So these are people who would be familiar with Contra and probably have fond and nostalgic memories of it.Microsites are a form of owned media and can be a chance to break form form the traditional edu web site and do something more fun and creative.
  • Youruniversity newsroom is even a microsite: the content there is all owned media content. News releases and news articles that your team writes are owned media.This gets back to the crux of “brand journalism” or the idea that you need to be your own media outlet.People discover and consume your institution’s news now without it needing to specifically appear in an “official” news outlet. And reporters are even pulling quotes and info for stories off your newsroom site without you even knowing about it ahead of time. Ensuring that your university newsroom is an owned media property that’s full of compelling, rich content is critical. University of Delaware’s “UDaily” does a great job of this.
  • Blogs are another important form of owned media. Like the university news page, blogs can be a place for reporters to source content and quotes. It’s a key way to tell your brand’s story.But beyond the storytelling piece, blogs drive SEO and can help your institution rank for specific keywords. Again, if you have faculty blogging about their topics of expertise, or especially about current events related to their expertise, those blog posts can rank well and draw attention to your institution as people search about the current event. This is basically the Huffington Post model: own and rank search terms on current events. You saw the examples from GT Amplifier blog yesterday and Boston University’s Professor Voices does the same thing: co-opt the topics of the day.Great for SEO again – reporters turn to Google first when they’re researching a story. And Make sure you’re not wasting Google juice. Host your blog on your .edu domain, even if you’re using blogger software like wordpress or squarespace in the background. If the New York Times links to your blog post, you want the page authority that those backlinks create!
  • Video is one of the fastest growing forms of owned media content out there. YouTube is the second largest search engine. Google loooves to place video high up in search results. Videos are the most likely content to “go viral” (when’s the last time you heard about “that viral alumni magazine article”). You can have a lot of FUN with video – we saw that with BYU’s mathletes rap video. Another great example is from McGill University. And another thing to note: Links from YouTube are the most popular non-Facebook content that’s shared to Facebook. Videos can get people talking about you.
  • Social media outposts, though you’re not fully in control sometimes, are a type of owned media. Facebook is probably the most-used owned media platform of this stripe, and the focus is squarely on fan pages. But as Facebook frequently changes its terms and its platform and look and feel, it’s tough to stay on top of a strategy and keep it effective. Too many brands focus on and obsess over fan page content: what days of the week should we post, how many posts should be photos versus status updates, how do we collect/attract more fans, etc.
  • The reality is, only about 16% of your fans ever see your content. The way Facebook’sEdgeRank algorithm is structured, posts from friends are prioritized over posts from brands. This goes back to my earlier point about how Facebook as a company is really driving brands to more paid solutions in order to reach fans and friends of fans. There is still a LOT that colleges can do on and with Facebook, but as an owned media strategy, fan pages are far less effective than many people think -- particularly when you take into account the amount of time spent maintaining fan pages. There are all kinds of fishy Facebook metrics out there brands are using to try and define the results that their getting with their fan pages. One is a sense of the “engagement rate”, which is the percentage of community members who like or comment on your page content, divided by the total number of fans. The benchmark that’s thrown around as being “above average” is 1%. One percent! I would bet if you were only getting 1% results on many of your other marketing activities, you’d probably re-evaluate or discontinue them. But despite that, colleges are still pouring a ton of resources into managing Facebook fan pages. I think there is a much more effective way to leverage Facebook and I’ll touch on it when we get to the section on earned Media in a moment.
  • There are dozens of other social media channels that institutions can embrace as part of its owned media strategy: There’s *Pinterest*Instagram*Google Plus*TumblrThese aren’t like toys in a McDonald’s Happy Meal: you don’t get anything if you “collect them all”. The key is to find the ones that are most effective and sustainable and then focus on executing really well on those. Don’t be overwhelmed, and don’t overstretch. Do less better. Owned media needs to be sustainable and high-quality in order for it to work.Think goals before you think tools or channels.
  • Colleges are in a better position than most organizations to generate owned media: there are endless stories to tell, and if you’re good, you can tell these stories via owned media in an engaging voice that embodies your brand, as well as imparts your messaging and values in the content. Often owned media is what spurs the organic conversations and word-of-mouth and even media hits that brands covet. And so let’s touch on that final piece, earned media.
  • Earned media is the holy grail for marketers because it provides external, third-party validation of a brand, without the you having to pay for it. A key thing to remember about earned media is that anyone who finds your content compelling and worth spreading can create earned media – *that means it can be the top education editor at USA Today, a local community weekly newspaper editor, a student who posts a link to their Facebook friends, a parent who tweets about your college, an alumnus who proudly wears a sweatshirt with his alma mater’s logo, a faculty member who emails around a blog post from their department to their colleagues. Earned media attracts advocates and evangelizers.  
  • Earned media helps amplify your message in an organic, trusted way. Data from Nielsen shows that “recommendations from friends” is the most trusted form of advertising. It’s free, authentic and credible, and it can drive audiences to your owned media.
  • It’s mostly out of your control. You can’t guarantee that your message will be retained and promulgated in the manner you would like. Earned media can be negative as well as positive. And it can also be difficult to generate earned media in a way that’s authentic and organic. It can feel like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. It’s also difficult to audit – often you can’t tell or don’t even know when earned media Is happening. You can’t reallycreate it on demand.
  • Let’s first talk about the way most of us with a PR background have tended to think of earned media in the past: getting media outlets to cover our organizations. So many institutions are really, really focused on “home run” type of PR strategies when it comes to media relations: they want to get their institution in the New York Times, or get their faculty interviewed on CNN, or their president quoted in the Wall Street Journal. These home run plays are high visibility and make you look good to your boss and definitely make you feel good. But it’s important to balance these big plays in earned media with smaller, long-tail earned media too, and here’s why:
  • First, these big national and international media outlets have fewer staff than ever before and they are bombarded with pitches. You can only go to bat so many times, so you have limited opportunities for coverage and the competition is fierce. Even if you do hit a home run, it’s hard to do it again on the next batting cycle – you may just have to wait your next turn.Furthermore, the way these big publications cover colleges and universities is changing. A study by researchers at the University of Illinois in the summer of 2010 looked specifically at the New York Times over a 60-year time period and how that publication covered institutions. They found that in 1946, 53% of articles mentioning a research university were about that university, focusing on its programs or activities. Today, just 15% of articles are about that university: the remaining 85% simply cite high-stature faculty for soundbite commentary on current events.
  • Secondly, when you think back to your institutional goals -- if they have anything to do with better brand awareness among potential students, student retention, building a better class... then having a professor’s one-line quote in a New York Times story every now and thenprobably isn’t driving those outcomes. Maybe it can help attract some grant money or grad students. But is it really going to affect those lifeblood areas of the institution: enrollment, fundraising, etc.?Home run media placements can be great when they happen, but they take a lot of time and resources to make happen.
  • Institutions should definitely look for the opportunities for big earned media plays when they can, but balancing these home run efforts is key. Some institutions are doing this by focusing on smaller media outlets -- microtargeting stories about individuals from a geographic perspective -- our clients do a lot of this by creating and sending personalized stories about student achievements back to the local hometown media in the area where each student is from. You atomize a larger, general story into personalized, specific subjects. The audience for each individual story is much smaller, but in the aggregate, if you promote dozens or hundreds or thousands of students in this manner, you get a ripple effect. You’re also more likely to create even more earned media in social channels, by getting students and their families to share their personalized stories in social networks.
  • And social networks are a whole other form of earned media today. Getting others to talk about you and tell their friends and connections about their positive experience with your brand is exactly what we’re all striving for. So let’s take a look at “earned media” not in the traditional sense of PR hits, but in organic word-of-mouth marketing via social networks.
  • I mentioned Facebook’sEdgeRank algorithm earlier. This is what determines how content appears in your news feed. The people you see content from most often on Facebook are those you interact with the most. I’m much more likely to see a status update or a photo that my mom or brother posts than I am to see status updates from friends I interact with on Facebook infrequently. And I’m even less likely to see content from fan pages than I am from friends.This is bad if you’re solely relying on fan pages, but AWESOME if you are focused on online word-of-mouth from your community of advocates to get your message out. The content that *they* post is more likely to be seen, more trustworthy because it’s coming from a friend, and doesn’t require that they’ve opted in to like you brand’s fan page at all for them to be exposed to your brand.EdgeRank prioritizes content from friends over content from brands – so earned media in the social realm really becomes about getting your advocates to post on your behalf. And ideally, what they are posting isn’t just a nice endorsement or recommendation, but also a link back to your owned media content.
  • Steve Roulier sharing his daughter’s acceptance on Facebook. Proud moment for him and his family, and he shared it with his social network. That is earned media too! The trick is to replicate this type of behavior among a broader group of your stakeholders, and to provide opportunities for them to link to your owned media content.
  • The key phrase in this quote from David Armanois “triggers you’ve put in place.” Generating earned media doesn’t mean you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best: you can spur people to action. So what are some of the ways you can trigger social media actions?
  • Reduce the friction. Make it effortless for people to put your content in front of their social networks.Purdue’s Five Students Who: It’s an owned media channel for them where they profile students on a variety of topics.But they embed Facebook social pluginso comments are pulled in to a Facebook newsfeed automatically. They are using owned media content to generate earned media among the audience who visits their content.
  • Our clients that use our platform and badges are also making it easy to share: They are emailing students -- and even parents -- ready-to-post content: serving up owned media content on a silver platter: share this, it’s relevant, it’s important. One of the colleges we work with was able to generate over a 790,000 Facebook newsfeed impressions off of one story template about their president’s list recipients, because so many people were sharing the “atomized”, personalized version of the press release content. And from our own observations of this type of content and how it’s shared and performs in Facebook, we know that 92% of these types of achievement stories generate a like or comment – versus less than 50% for other types of content posted to Facebook. The average story like this generates 12 likes/comments – four times the average.It’s a way to create a lot more Steve Roulier type parents, only with a more direct link and tie back to your owned media – to your messaging. People who are affiliating with and endorsing your brand by sharing your owned media content, that you serve up to them.
  • Make sharing easy and frictionless.Drive people to compelling owned media contentDon’t let the earned media happen in a vacuum! Give people a way to infuse your brand messagingDon’t forget that earned media is not just the media – it’s anyone with a stake or opinion
  • So that’s a good segway: Now that we’ve talked about what these three different content buckets really are, let’s get into integration of all three. As we discussed in the beginning, when earned, owned and paid media happen within silos, it’s so much less effective.  Let’s review quickly what we’ve just learned about each bucket:
  • Remembering the definitions and distinctions that we just laid out: Earned media can have tremendous reach when done right, but it has less control versus paid and owned.Paid media can have the highest cost, and is the least trustworthy.Paid media gives you more control but can also mean a more limited reach, because you have to pay for your reach.And Owned media gives you the most control but there’s no built-in audience so reach can be limited.
  • And again just summarizing the types of content that fits into these different buckets, and what type of audience each attracts.So how can you think of this triumvirate holistically, and create communications strategies that leverage all three in tandem? Here’s one approach:
  • Think of owned media as building a fire. You’re carefully arranging kindling along with medium and larger sized logs. Structurally, it’s a great looking fire, but there’s no flame. No one’s going to sit and roast marshmallows around a pike of sticks.  Paid media is the fire starter. You use paid media as the spark or the match to get it going. You drive people to your content and help create an audience for it. Still, it might be a nice little fire but it won’t necessarily provide enough warmth or fuel for you. But if you can get that initial group to start telling friends about it, and they all show up with extra firewood, and heck, maybe some of them even dump lighter fluid on it – now you’ve got a conflagration! So owned media is the base, paid media is the spark, and earned media is all the extra fuel that really takes things to the next level. If you have any of these three things separately: match, kindling, lighter fluid – nothing really happens. But in concert, you can create a long-burning ecosystem of bright fire about your brand.
  • Paid media as a spark or a match should lead people to a really compelling, engaging piece of owned media content. Once they get there, that owned media content needs to be easily shareable – they need to not only be compelled to tell others about it, but they need to be able to with as little friction as possible. A Facebook like button. An “email this to a friend” widget. A deftly executed owned media strategy is what will ultimately drive your earned media. It’s what sustains earned media.
  • And when you really get this right, you’ve lit the fire and others are adding fuel and its growing and sustaining itself, that when the model really clicks.
  • Because what happens is that the explosion of earned media drives down your overall costs of getting your messages out, and drives up your effectiveness and reach. Gobs and gobs of earned media costs less and is far more credible than paid media, and even owned media.I want to end by sharing one example of a higher ed institution that I think did a particularly good job of blending all three and then I’ll wrap up and take questions.
  • I like this example from Vanderbilt Medical Center because it illustrates what I’ve been talking about without it being a giant $2 million campaign. It’s just a nice simple execution of this strategy.They’ve created monthly health chats, My Health Chat, which are livestreamed video discussions with some of their top doctors and researchers. From an owned media standpoint, they’ve created a microsite that describes the chat topics and the bios of the interview guests. It’s a hub for My Health Chat.
  • They use embedded on their Facebook page and people can watch directly from Facebook. They also embed the video stream on the microsite.The livestream app on Facebook allows people to comment and ask questions during the chat, and those comments then appear on each user’s Facebook profile, so their friends can see them. Blending owned media and some earned media here.
  • Vanderbilt uses paid Facebook ads to drive registration for these events. These ads allow people to RSVP to the event right from Facebook. This form of paid media also has a residual effect of some earned media – when someone RSVPs it will show up as activity in their Facebook stream – their friends can see that they’ve registered.
  • VU also promotes that chats through another owned media channel: it’s newsroom.This has generated earned media pickup from publications like the Nashville Tennessean as well as some niche medical sites and blogs.
  • VU uses other paid media channels like its Facebook page to promote the events and solicit questions, *and has created a Twitter hashtag. During the live chats, people can tweet questions or follow along via the hashtag.They also send out a survey after each chat to get a better sense of their audience and see how they can improve.
  • Finally, the chats are archived on YouTube and descriptions are optimized for search and discovery. This owned media content has longevity and can be found long after the live chat is over. And the long video can be broken down into smaller snippets that can be repurposed and used elsewhere.So that’s a nice quick example of good, thoughtful execution and unification of earned, owned and paid media.
  • Links and citations to research, models and quotes used throughout this presentation.
  • Developing a Social Content Strategy: Finding the right mix of paid, owned and earned Media

    1. 1. Developing a Social Content StrategyFinding the right mix of earned, ownedand paid media Amy Mengel readMedia PRSA CHE Senior Summit April 27, 2012
    2. 2. Welcome, SlideShare viewers!Thanks for your interest in this presentation. I prefer the“less is more” approach with slides when I present, somany of these slides are simply a photo or a screenshot.Please refer to slide notes/transcript at the bottom of yourbrowser for the speaker notes so that the presentationmakes more sense.Contact me with questions or comments!--Amy
    3. 3. About MeHead of Marketing & Research at readMediaAdvise clients on best practices in communications, social mediaBackground in corporate communications
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Paid Owned Earned
    6. 6. Paid Owned Earned
    7. 7. Paid Owned Earned
    8. 8. Paid Paid Media• Paying to place your messaging/content in front of an audience that someone else has assembled
    9. 9. Paid Paid Media: Benefits• Control of message• Control of reach• Flexibility: audience targeting• Auditable• Fast/Immediate
    10. 10. Paid Paid Media: Challenges• Cost• Low influence/trust• Low conversion• Short-term
    11. 11. Paid Paid Media: Search
    12. 12. Paid Paid Media: Search
    13. 13. Paid Paid Media: Facebook
    14. 14. Paid Paid Media: Facebook
    15. 15. Paid Paid Media: Facebook
    16. 16. Paid Paid Media: Facebook
    17. 17. Paid Paid Media Online
    18. 18. Paid Paid Media: Consider• Budget• Messaging / Relevance• Targeting / Segmentation• Then what? Where are you driving your audience to from your paid media?
    19. 19. Owned Owned Media• Owned media is content that you create, on channels that you control (or mostly control)• “Brand Journalism”
    20. 20. Owned Owned Media: Benefits• Control• Longevity• Community-building• True voice• Less interruptive• Expandable across the web• SEO
    21. 21. Owned Owned Media: Drawbacks• Effort to sustain• Resource intensive• No built-in audience• Measuring success is difficult• Not fully trusted by audiences• Shared platforms: lack of control
    22. 22. Owned Owned Media: Driving SEO• 60% of searchers never move past the first page of search results• 42% of searchers click on the first organic link that’s returned• 77% choose organic over paid search results
    23. 23. Owned Owned Media: Driving SEO
    24. 24. Owned Owned Media: Driving SEO
    25. 25. Owned Owned Media: Microsites
    26. 26. Owned Owned Media: News
    27. 27. Owned Owned Media: Blogs
    28. 28. Owned Owned Media: Video
    29. 29. Owned Owned Media: Facebook
    30. 30. Owned Owned Media: Facebook• Only 16% of fans of your page see your content in their newsfeed• Among millennials, 70% rarely or never visit Facebook fan pages• 65% of Facebook users are fans of 5 brand pages or less
    31. 31. Owned Owned Media: Where Else?
    32. 32. Owned Owned Media: Consider• What are your stories?• What resources can you commit to tell them?• Where and how should you tell them?• What’s your brand’s voice, values?• How will this drive earned media?
    33. 33. Earned Earned Media• Earned media is the promulgation of your brand by unpaid, external third parties
    34. 34. Earned Earned Media: Benefits• Free• Authentic• Most trusted, credible• Can drive audiences to your owned media
    35. 35. Earned Earned Media: Drawbacks• Lack of message control• Can be negative• Harder to audit, measure• No “on-demand”
    36. 36. Earned Earned Media: National PR
    37. 37. Earned Earned Media: National PR “In 1946, 53% of articles mentioning a researchuniversity were about that university – its programs or activities. Today, just 15% of articles mentioning a university are about that university: the remaining 85% simply cite high-stature faculty for soundbite commentary on current events.” Leetaru, Kalev&Magelli, Paul. (September 2010). The Soundbite University: 60 Years of University News Coverage.
    38. 38. Earned Earned Media: National PR
    39. 39. Earned Earned Media: Long Tail
    40. 40. Earned Earned Media: Social Networks
    41. 41. Earned Earned Media: Facebook Shines
    42. 42. Earned Media: Advocates ComeEarned Alive
    43. 43. Earned Media: Setting the Stage forEarned Conversation “The people talking about your products and services are never compensated by an agency or network—howeverthey can be set into action by triggers youve put in place.This could mean establishing a relationship, sharing news,seeding content, talking to, and in general interacting with the people who actually care about your product or even better the topics associated around them.” David Armano, Edelman
    44. 44. Earned Media: Encouraging SocialEarned Discussion
    45. 45. Earned Media: Facilitating OnlineEarned Endorsements
    46. 46. Earned Earned Media: Consider• What triggers can you create to incite sharing?• What owned content are you driving to?• How can you make sure that social word-of- mouth includes your brand messaging?• How can you leverage more than just national media to get people talking about you?
    47. 47. Paid Owned Earned
    48. 48. Earned PaidReach Owned Control
    49. 49. Source: Forrester Research
    50. 50. Paid Owned Earned
    51. 51. “Every marketer, of course, has the option ofpraying or waiting for lightning to strike. But only by sending off a piece of attractive owned media can advertisers set off a predictable round ofconversation and pass-along that has the potential to spread brand stories and messages almost endlessly through the ranks of their audience.” – Kirk Cheyfitz, Story Worldwide
    52. 52. “No matter what the short-term goal of anyadvertising effort (product introductions, trials and test drives, store visits, etc.), the long-term goal isalways the same: to drive media spending sharply downward by recruiting fans and advocates who will spread a brands messages for free, forever.” – Kirk Cheyfitz, Story Worldwide
    53. 53. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    54. 54. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    55. 55. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    56. 56. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    57. 57. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    58. 58. Vanderbilt: MyHealthChat
    59. 59. Resources & Links• media.html•• channels-are-you-in-the-right-place/•• picure-de-rappel/•••• friends-and-virtual-strangers-the-most/•• organizations-on-facebook.html••
    60. 60. Questions? Amy Mengel 518-429-2780