Here at Cookerly, Q4 is “planning season” – a time to sit down with our clients and discuss strategies and goals for the next year.
Our job is to translate your business strategy into a marketing program that drives results, regardless of communications discipline. Leveraging paid, earned, owned and shared platforms, we build and bolster your brand.
Sometimes, however, the focus on “earned” media can overshadow a comprehensive marketing plan because earned media is often considered “free.” While the manpower that goes into securing earned coverage comes with a price tag, there’s no check to write to the publication. Free is appealing, but free can also miss the point of how we actually consume news.
Before we started reading the news on our phone in the Starbucks line, we read our news in an honest to goodness, made-of-paper, publication. If we liked (or even hated) an article, if we felt moved to share it with someone else, we handed them that piece of paper to read. We called that “passalong.”
Try to remember the last time someone handed you a newspaper and said “You have to read this article!” Now try to remember the last time someone shared a post with you on Facebook. Chances are good you remember a lot more Facebook shares than newspaper shares, and that’s where paid content strategy comes into play.
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s say you decided to run a marathon. For months, you got up every morning before sunrise to train. You only ate the healthiest foods. You lived, breathed and slept MARATHON.
The morning of the race comes, and you’re pumped. For 26 miles you will your body to the finish line, and as soon as you see the cheering crowd just steps ahead, you stop. Only a crazy person would go through all that training, all that racing, to stop before the finish line, right?
Well, now imagine that you’ve dedicated time and energy to promoting a product or highlighting your business. Your PR team lands every interview you could want. When the articles publish, you share them with your internal constituents—to demonstrate the ROI on your PR budget. You may also post the coverage to your newsroom, distribute it to clients and prospects – and maybe even purchase links and reprints.
But then you likely file those articles away and get ready for the next campaign. You might not realize it, but that’s the equivalent of quitting just shy of the finish line.
Even if your company is featured in USAToday, did the right audiences see it? Earned content is fabulous—it’s one core element of most PR programs—but we’d be remiss not to take advantage of the new opportunities technology provides. By adding paid content strategy to your budget, we can be sure your target audience has a chance to see your company “where they live.”
For a reasonable fee, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram will let us select the demographics of your target audience and boost your content higher into their newsfeed. By including a link to your company’s website in the boosted post, we can also send readers back to your site. Want to reach 18-34 year old males who love sports and live in the Northwest? We can do that. Want to reach 35-39 year old moms who run? We can do that, too.
If a great article about your company is published, but no one shares it, does it help your brand? As you begin your planning for 2017, consider adding paid content to your media strategy.
Emily Rios is an account director at Cookerly.