Understanding what earned media is — what it isn’t — and where to find it
Earned media is precisely what its name implies — word-of-mouth reporting that arises from positive impressions of your business. It represents all forms of attention from third-party news and media outlets — such as feature articles, company profiles, and periodic updates. Earned media also includes interviews with your key personnel and highlights of your growth.
Earned media separates itself from its paid, shared, and owned media counterparts in several unique ways:
- Value that is invaluable. This type of advertising can’t be bought, but rather must be earned through a quality product, uncommon innovation, noteworthy service, or a combination of the three
- Factor in the trust factor. Unprompted praise of your brand by a third party implies to the buying public that your product or service is worth the attention
- A boost in brand awareness. In a market sector that values companies who do things the right way, earned media can have an immediate and lasting effect on the public impression of your brand
Turning earned media into subjective data you can understand and manipulate
Seeing as earned media relies heavily on subjective opinions of your product and/or service, you might jump to the conclusion that any momentum gained through word-of-mouth publicity might be hard to identify and measure. That’s true to some degree. However, there are a few savvy marketing processes you can put into place to turn feedback into strategy
- Your website as a communications hub. Assign specific landing pages with identifiable URLs to each communication opportunity with reporters, representative buyers, and industry monitors. Traffic funneled through these respective channels can be measured — including ROI and conversion rates.
- Discount codes for specific buying channels. This method is particularly effective because you’re pairing buying incentives with positive third-party reviews of your products and services. First-time buyers of building materials and products become repeat customers of businesses that show them early appreciation.
- Get social with your media. Social media networking is only going to grow in the coming years. This is your chance to speak directly to your influencers in fun, relaxed ways. Focus on click-through-rates to get an idea of the success of your Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
Maximizing the conversion rates on earned leads from earned media
The bottom line to any marketing campaign is conversion — or, how many prospects exposed to your campaign followed through with its call-to-action (CTA). Keep in mind that the CTA isn’t always a sale. Your CTA for a particular campaign might be to register for your monthly e-newsletter, to ‘share’ or ‘like’ a social media post, or to respond to a product survey.
No matter what your CTA might be, there are a variety of strategies that you can employ to enhance the conversion rate of an earned media opportunity. If your building products business is being reviewed in a national industry magazine, consider how you might encourage readers to contact you for a consultative analysis of their market challenge.
You might offer an incentive, such as a discounted rate on an initial purchase, an increase in the amount of product purchased at the regular price, or a discount on a later purchase. Or, you might partner up with a complementary business for a co-branded dual offer that meets corresponding needs.
The key is to build on the momentum of the good feelings that earned media exposure affords your business. If handled correctly, you’ll have prospects that see your media spot singing your praises — effectively multiplying your publicity exponentially without having to invest a single dollar in advertising.
Team Kleber is ready to help your building materials brand excel in the art of earned media. Contact us today for a personal presentation of how we can have news and media outlets focusing their attention on your company — saving your business both time and money in the process.
Kleber & Associates (K&A) is an Atlanta-based marketing and communications firm that focuses exclusively on building materials manufacturers and building products. Our integrated marketing spirit specializes in brand development for clients in the home and commercial building products marketplace. For more information on our capabilities, please call +1-770-518-1000 or visit http://kleberandassociates.com/contact/.