The advancements in technology and the rise of social media have undeniably changed the landscapes of advertising. Apart from the traditional PR, we now also get digital marketing. Thus, we get these three medias in advertising that neither both have at once: owned, earned, and paid. By distinguishing the three, you will know how to get things effectively done. Get to know the ins and outs of what makes it owned, earned, and paid advertising and how to get the most mileage in your marketing.
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How To Use Owned, Earned and Paid Advertising
I’m with Ms. Sharon Noot from Noot Inc. Sharon, I just got back in town.
Where were you?
I was down at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, which is the largest social media convention in the entire country. I learned so much about advertising.
Was it different than you thought it was going to be when you were going into it? You knew what you were getting into.
I did, but here’s the thing. I had more time this year to sit in on the sessions that I wanted to whereas last year, I felt like everything I went to was on at the same time. This year I got into a couple of the different paid advertising sessions. Specifically, I went into the one that was about Facebook ads and then also Snapchat ads, which we have to talk about in depth in some show because it’s pretty amazing what’s happening over there.
Do you feel compared to last year, it was different than this year?
It was expanded. It’s actually larger. Every year it gets larger and they have more topics covered. This year, I definitely felt that they spent a lot of time talking about this whole paid advertising, with Facebook and Snapchat and even Instagram. I thought there was more because I’m so much more aware of it. It’s something that I’ve started building a lot for my clients. You and I were talking because you had sent me an article and the article was titled Owned, Earned and Paid.
When we were talking, we decided that would probably be a great show because there are so many different ways that the Owned, Earned and Paid model is not only similar but greatly different in both of our worlds. You are our traditional PR woman and I am the digital marketing girl. It is something that we’ve talked about a lot. When I was down there, I sat in on these paid sessions, but when you and I talked, you were talking about this whole thing called the owned and the actual earned. It was stuff that I did in my business, I just didn’t know that that was the proper word for it. That’s always funny when I’m talking to you, is that you’ll give me a term and I’ll say, “I don’t know what that is,” and then I’m like, “I do that.” I didn’t know that there was a proper term for it. We have our owned, our earned and our paid marketing.Make sure your content is shining on your behalf. Click To Tweet
From the traditional PR professional standpoint, the challenge is that a lot of these lines are getting very blurred. The whole digital media marketing and the digital media world has made public relations, in a traditional sense, very convoluted. In PR, we’re happily remaining in that earned media space. That’s where pretty much all your traditional public relations outreach will reside. It’s not paid for, it’s not something you own, your own content like your website. It is something that you work to earn by promoting your company to influencers, whether they be journalists or online professionals. PR remains happily in that earned space, whereas the digital media world that you live in touches all of those areas.
Why don’t we go through each of these so people know what we’re talking about? It was stuff that I was using, I just didn’t know there were proper terms for it. In our own PR, in our own social media, tell me again what does owned PR mean?
Owned content is everything that you completely control. It would be your website, your blog, the messages you put on your social media channels. It’s everything that you have complete control over in a day-by-day basis.
That would be the same on the social media side as well. You could even take it in so far if you had an actual product. Your brand packaging would be something that you would own as well. I know you handle a lot of clients that have physical products too. Anything that you lest, will say are quantifier or is there anything you have 100% control over, that’s your owned right there, your owned media. That one’s the easy one. That’s the one that in some ways people don’t spend enough time developing.
Back when I was a web developer, I was amazed how many times my clients will come to me. They were just interested in having a flashy website. When it would come down to the content, which was the most important part, a lot of times they would allow myself or the developers to simply write the content for them, which was always amazing to me. Now, that we see that content on your website is what Google uses for search engine results as well as the other search engines, it’s becoming more and more that your owned media is your touch point. It’s like your starting point for how you’re approaching the marketplace. Wouldn’t you agree?
I totally would and it’s amazing to me how many companies are not paying enough attention to all of the owned content that they have. It’s their website, it’s their social media channels, it’s their LinkedIn, it’s everything that is about their company and exists online. They have to manage and maintain all of those things and make sure that messaging is all very consistent. To come to you and have you start doing digital outreach or to come to me and have them start doing public relations, when I go online and look at their website and there’s not a whole lot there. You have to tell them, “We need to step back and start at the beginning.” The beginning is all of that content that exists completely in your control and you need to be making sure that it is shining on your behalf.Everything has to be up, maintained, and look fresh. Click To Tweet
When a new client comes to you, is that a service that you offer where you will create the content for their website or for their blog and things like that? Do you put that into play?
What we’ll do on the public relations side is first, help them with their messaging and that is making sure that we know exactly what their mission statement is, what they want their customers to know about them, what makes them different. A lot of companies haven’t thought that through and it’s the most important part of their business. For a lot of them, they want to go right into the results. They want to go right into, “I want to do a press release. I want to have a campaign.” Before you do that and you have everyone looking at your website and looking at what you’re doing, you need to make sure that your content there is up-to-date, it’s fresh, it’s relevant, it’s what your customers are going to be engaged by when they go to it and they read it.
We start out by doing some of their communications messaging, making sure that they’re defined messages and they’re consistent across all of their platforms. They have to do that before they do any outreach and attract people to their website. The last thing you want is a client that’s ready to do a press release or something about their company knowing that all it will do is drive all these potential customers to their website, which looks like a complete crap. What I do is help them with the messaging and then I call you up and say, “We need to have a fantastic website that is complimentary to these messages that we want to put out there.” I know you get people who come to you and they want a website. They know what it looks like, but they have no information regarding what to put on it. They say, “This is what my website’s going to look like,” and they expect the content to be developed out of thin air. Unless, they come to you with brochures or other information about their company and they give it to you in a pile and go, “Make this into our website.”
That owned space and that owned media is something that is so overlooked. If there’s one thing that we want to impress upon anyone reading this, that is a step that you want to make sure you’re spending the proper amount of time on. It is not something that you can say, “I’ll fill in something or have somebody write it for me.” You do have to have that clear mission. Sharon, that’s where you excel at, being the mission master, helping people figure out what their mission is and how they want to present it to the world. Owned then is your own social network accounts, it’s your website, it’s your blog, it might be your brand packaging. It’s all this stuff that you have control over.
It’s absolutely overwhelming to small businesses especially, to realize that they have to have their website, their social media channels. Everything has to be up. It has to be maintained and it has to look fresh. When they come to you, for example, maybe they have that information. They’ve gone through someone like me, they have their messaging, but they go to you. Are you able to help them streamline so they don’t have to go, “I’m so overwhelmed, I have to make a website? I have to have a Facebook page. I have to have an Instagram.” Look at the social channels. Does everybody need Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Pinterest? Can you use the same content across all of those channels or are they basically looking at a mountain of things that they need to do? A lot of them are probably intimidated. They’d rather do nothing than have to figure out how are they going to maintain and manage all of these different channels and all of these different elements at once.
That’s where the social strategy comes into play, where we figure out what we’re wanting to say across any of these channels because you don’t use the exact same messaging. That is where a lot of people go wrong because they think, “I’ll take this one post and put it on every social media network out there and it’s going to get the same reaction.” You can see by how people interact differently with Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, that that’s not the reality. You have to speak in a way that people are used to receiving messages on that specific platform. Within the owned space, that is something that you definitely have control over and something that needs to be developed. Whereas, what we were talking about was this whole earned space, this earned media, that’s about what people are saying about you.
I would say, arguably of course, I’m biased, it’s the most important piece. It’s the most powerful piece of the mix because there’s more credibility when someone else is talking about your company, your product or your service. There’s more credibility if it’s an expert talking about your company, your product or your service. It bounces back into your world if another outlet is talking about your company, that’s much better for your SEO too.There’s more credibility when someone else is talking about your company. Click To Tweet
You definitely have a greater impact and a higher ROI on any kind of earned social media. I imagine as well as earned media on your side. To clarify, what we’re talking about within this earned space is things like PR, word of mouth, online reviews and viral content. What else would be in that space, that earned space? People mentioning your products obviously or your services within a social conversation.
It’s all the stuff that’s out of your control and I know companies are very uncomfortable with this space. In fact, before digital media, they had even more the sense of control over it because if a newspaper or a magazine was going to talk about you, you usually were aware of it. There were times when your company might have been mentioned and you were not aware of it, but nowadays it can happen. How many times a day is your company being brought into conversation where you’re an outsider? Whether it be a review or someone talking about you on social media and you find out because you’re looking up your mentions or your Google Alerts brings it to your attention. It’s happening all the time, whereas in the past when you were limited to traditional media outlets, it was a much smaller situation. Now, for a company to be able to react quickly to all of these things that are happening literally minute-by-minute, it’s a completely different world.
On the social media side, the online side where I am at, there are a lot of different online solutions for these different listening programs. Going even beyond having a Google Alert in the social space, there are several different companies that provide a listening board for you. Anytime your business is mentioned, you get an actual notification of it and you can see where that conversation happens and how it happens and see the entire thread which is awesome.
We also need to talk about all those tools that you’re mentioning. Some of them, for a small business, they’re going, “How much am I going to be paying them for all of these listening tools?” All of a sudden, they’re making list, “I need a website, I need an Instagram, I need a LinkedIn, I need a Facebook, and now I need a listening tool.” Not to mention the person that’s going to manage all of these things and then again they might go, “I’m going to leave this all alone and I’m going to focus on making my widget or providing my service, doing that and relying on good old-fashioned word of mouth,” but you can’t survive with that attitude this day and age.
Word of mouth happens online. It’s still the same as it always was. It’s just now it happens online, which is why things like online reviews and sites like that took off. I know for myself, I had to buy something because my little dog had a huge accident on the rug. There I was, looking up carpet products and you can be sure I was reading the online reviews before I bought anything because I’ve got to see what’s going to work. That’s where that whole earned social media and earned media in itself is so powerful, you know what people are saying about that product.
I don’t want to get too convoluted here and that this is probably definitely something for another podcast, but it gets tricky and a little bit dark when you consider that a lot of paid media is out there that’s basically masquerading as earned. That would be things like “fake reviews.” Those do exist.
Let’s talk about what is paid media at this point. How can we detect it?
When you go Googling and looking up the solutions for your doggie mess, I know that you as an experienced marketer, were looking through and you read things. You go through and in the back of your mind you’re going, “Is this an authentic review?” You’re never going to trust the five-star review across the board with one-line reviews that you know are all like a little bit the same. You use all of your different tools in your mind, but if something’s got universally negative reviews, how do you know that’s not a competitor that’s going on there? There’s a lot of nasty stuff going on in the world of reviews and third parties talking about your company or your product.
Most savvy consumers look at things with a very careful eye. They want to know that they’re going to trust the source where they’re getting the information. An interesting side thought to all of this is that, you’re also thinking about your audience, whether it be their age range, their demographics or their psychographics. You have to understand where they put their trust. If you take anyone under a certain age, they’re probably 100% getting their information and feedback from the internet and from peers, whether that would be influencers or social media that they followed. Whereas anyone over a certain age, perhaps our parents, are probably still getting that information from the newspaper, the television, and the radio. The savvy ones will go online and they will combine those things together. You’re looking at your audience, where they’re getting their information and who are the people that they trust when they’re making their decisions.Word of mouth now happens online. Click To Tweet
In essence then, our paid media is things that you would normally see, like paid ad banners and paid searches, which we’re all aware of. The search engines will tag that they are sponsored. Things though that are not as easy to see or when we do boost it posts and things like that on Facebook. It will have a little copy at the bottom that will say “sponsored,” which most people don’t even see. It is something that Facebook makes available to any advertiser. There are also the social ad campaigns where you’re out buying ad space, which you can do on any of the platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and your favorite, Twitch. Twitch is also taking paid advertising which they’re killing it over there. That’s another story.
It’s confusing to be able to tell anymore what is paid advertisement. It’s something that you can see and use a lot still in print magazines, where they’ll have the little advertorial. You see them a lot still. Seeing them in print, it automatically makes me flip the page and be like, “That’s an ad.” I can’t tell you how many times I’m reading something online and even when I become aware it’s an ad, I still continue reading it. Do you find yourself doing that?
It’s a different environment where you’re getting your information. It’s important to point out that a lot of the digital world is evolving so quickly that ethics are having to catch up with it. A good example would be influencers. It’s your models and normal people online showing you how to put on your makeup. It’s all those folks that have a tremendous amount of influence because they have hundreds of thousands or millions of viewers. They can take a product, maybe a makeup company or a hair product company has paid them a lot of money to promote their brand. There weren’t hard rules in place on this until it’s become more important for influencers to make sure their viewers are aware that they are accepting compensation. It’s a sponsored review versus, “This is my own opinion and this company is not paying me. I’m just going to tell you that I love it and it’s what I use.”
Companies realize that influencers have a tremendous amount of impact on especially younger audiences. They basically are as powerful as word of mouth from a friend and they’re more powerful in most cases than celebrities. When you look at that, you realize that there could be a lot of room for unscrupulous types of campaigns where you’re targeting an audience through influencers and you’re not being upfront that these influencers are being compensated. That is a whole other can of worms.
Especially in the social space, you see a ton of influencer marketing. It’s equally important to point out that when you’re working with these three different types of media, that they’re all equally important. You need to make sure that they’re working together in order to achieve the best results. Within the owned, the earned and the paid space, you want to make sure that the messaging is consistent so that each of them supports what the common goal is. I’m seeing that what you said about the influencer marketing and trusting them more than a celebrity, that’s definitely true. There is still a huge celebrity pool out there. It’s across the board that you have to decide on your brand or your business, what’s going to make the most sense. With most of the companies I worked for, they’re not interested in any celebrity endorsement. We found way more traction within the influencer sphere. What’s your experience with that? Have you worked with a lot of celebrities?
Celebrity influence has started to fall by the wayside. I did work with a celebrity related campaigns for quite a while. Like anything in marketing and PR, you have to understand your audience. The benefit you have with influencers that you don’t necessarily have with celebrities, one is their accessibility. Obviously, for someone who brings value to your product or service, an influencer is much more cost-effective depending on who they are than a celebrity that might have a certain amount of weight for your audience. Influencers can be targeted much more specifically. You can do that by region, you can do it by product, you could do it by the demographic or the psychographic. It’s so pinpointed compared to the way it used to be.
You might have an influencer that only reaches an audience of 2,000. If it’s an audience of 2,000 engaged potential customers and you have a conversion rate that’s high, that is way more valuable than 20,000 eyeballs that cost you incrementally more money and yet you’re having a much lower conversion. Those are not the exact customers that you want to reach. Influencers are extremely specific because they’re reaching different audiences based on whatever it is that they’re promoting. You have that power that you have with influencers that you didn’t have with celebrities in the past. Celebrities might have had a lot of caches and a lot of recognition, but you aren’t necessarily reaching the people that you need to reach effectively.
Our celebrities are in the paid section.
Unless taking a step back, if a celebrity or an influencer mentions your company, your product or your service without you compensating them and it’s a happy accident, that is considered earned and that is extremely valuable. The way that the companies need to capitalize on this is to go back to their listening tools. They need to know if a celebrity in the online world or a bonafide celebrity in entertainment mentions their product. They need to be able to jump on that right away, thank that person and see if they can develop some sort of a connection. They wouldn’t get that if they weren’t listening.Make sure that the messaging is consistent across all medias so that it supports the common goal. Click To Tweet
What’s important here or what we should let our audience know about is the earned space is something that can help you and give you everything that we talked about. It gives you the credibility, it gives you the validation by having people talk about your product without being paid. One of the tips that I want to leave our audience with is, up your whole review process, no matter what kind of business you are, if you’re a brick and mortar, if you’re selling a product or something online or like I was sharing with you. One of the conventions that we’re supporting for their social media, we did an outreach to all of their attendees asking them for reviews, saying, “Would you please share your experience of the conference online on our Facebook page?”
We didn’t give them any outline or notes of what they should say. We were looking for feedback both good and bad. The reason we want to do something like that is when we were talking about the whole review process, people believe reviews when there is a negative aspect to them. If you’re talking about a product and you’re like, “I liked X, Y and Z about this product, but I wish that A, B and C was also a part of the process.” People will listen to that more than a five-star, “This is the best thing ever.” The response that we got for online getting reviews for this conference was amazing.
Are you still collecting responses? Are they still coming in or is it pretty much wrapped up?
We’re still able to. We do a push every couple of months where we’ll mention it in our email, actively saying to people, “We would love to hear your experience at the conference.” It’s not something that we’re asking for in a continual basis because with any messaging if it gets repeated too much, it gets ignored.
What percentage was your response rate on that? How many people responded and gave a review or were you satisfied with that?
It is one of those things that you do have to do a certain amount of asking to get anyone to respond. What we found is when we did an email, we got about a 30% response rate from people just then taking action and doing a review. The interesting thing was when we did a pinpointed one-to-one ask, where there were certain people that we had access through their email, we already had some personal connection to, where we emailed them directly and asked them for a review. 100% of the time they gave us a review. The way that you could use that online is that you can still direct a comment to anybody. Like say we’re on Twitter, you can direct a comment directly to someone on Twitter that you know attended your conference or somehow interacted and say, “We would love to hear your experience.” There’s a way of doing that outreach too. What would be your tip then for getting some good earned media on the PR side?
Making sure of course, that they first have those elements in place that we talked about, they have their website, everything else is built and ready to go and they know their messaging. I would recommend that any small business, take a look at their local business journal and familiarize themselves with whatever reporters covering their space, whether it be technology, retail, manufacturing or healthcare. Take some time to review the reporter, the journalists that are covering that space. After you’ve done some research, go ahead and send them a very brief email about your company. When I say brief, I mean spend most of your time working on the subject line of the email and the first two lines of the actual body of the email. Be prepared to only provide them with information that you know is going to be highly relevant to them and highly relevant to the audience of the business journal. Things like a trend that you’re observing, that you’ve got expertise in or a growth moment for your company. Maybe it’s a hiring milestone or you’re opening a new facility. Something that is extremely newsworthy and timely.
If you sent a little note off like that via email to a reporter that covers your space, they are very interested in what small businesses are doing inside of their community. They like to hear from the trenches. If you put together an effective outreach like that and know what it is you want to accomplish, you have the opportunity to build a relationship with that journalist in. Hopefully, it will lead to them writing an article about your company or including you in an interview. You can get a lot more sophisticated about it and that’s why you would hire a PR person or a PR agency to help you with that process. That definitely doesn’t mean that a small business can’t go ahead on their own and do this work and this outreach. It could result in some good ink about your company. That adds to the earned media mix and something that you can remerchandise across all of your marketing channels.You have the power that you have with influencers that you didn’t have with celebrities in the past. Click To Tweet
That’s a great bit of advice and something that I’ve also cancelled some of my clients on, reaching out to that local media because you’re right. They are interested in what’s going on in the local sphere and they’re usually looking for content. That’s a great tip. Thank you so much. This one’s pretty good. We want to get feedback from our audience. If you’re reading this and you have a question about anything we’ve talked about, we invite you to send us an email. If we get enough questions, Sharon, we can do an email response show and answer questions, which would be fun.
If you’re reading this and you like what you are reading and you want to read more, please subscribe to our podcast. Give us a little review if you like what you’re reading and let us know your thoughts on how you have used, earned, owned and paid media. We want to know if there are any tricks or tips out there that maybe we could use.
Everything is changing every single day. I’m sure there are people out there who are far more knowledgeable than we are who can give us some information that we need because we all need a little bit of help. We’re business owners too. Any information we can get that is going to help us, we would appreciate it.
That was one of the reasons that we even decided to start doing this podcast. It is because there are so many things that we learned. We know that other people are looking for the same information. If we happen to fall into your vortex and you find this along the way, we hope that you found some value in this. We hope you join us for the next one.