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3 Why Earned Media Is Essential to Marketing Success

Marketing podcast with Christina Daves

The term “earned media” is pretty fashionable these days. While it’s certainly taken on expanding meaning of late, I’ve been using it for years.

earned media

photo credit: European Parliament via photopin cc

I’ve long felt that the blending of advertising, referrals and public relations (what I’ve always called earned media) is the recipe for effective lead generation.

In today’s vernacular that might be stated as the convergence of paid media (advertising), owned media (content assets) and earned media (public relations combined with all manner of customer generated content and sharing.)

So, let’s further define what earned media is.

Earned media is the kind you, well, earn, you don’t create it or buy it, it comes about when you do something worth sharing. That sharing might come in the form of a feature in your local paper or it just might as likely come when your friends and fans tell their friends and fans about your upcoming webinar.

Either way, it must be an essential leg of your lead generation efforts, and here’s why.

In the information age the most effective form of advertising is advertising that creates awareness for valuable, educational, trust building content. That content may be in the form of an ebook, blog post or Google+ Hangout, but the intent of the paid media is to drive attention and engagement with an organization’s owned media.

By adding earned media to this equation you potentially create leverage that can multiply and carry your paid and owned efforts to places you might never reach. So you see, it’s not just about numbers; it’s about access and trust.

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Christina Daves, author of PR for Anyone and an inventor whose talent for generating earned media put her business on the map. In fact, she was so successful she started a business to teach others how to generate PR on a budget.

Earned media, the process that enables and encourages media outlets and end users alike to create and promote messages that benefit your brand is the secret to marketing success.

The pool of potential amplifiers now extends far beyond traditional media outlets. Every member of your community is a potential source of earned media. Anyone that retweets, reviews, embeds, shares, comments, likes and curates your paid and owned media elements generates earned media.

If, in fact, we then proactively build campaigns and processes to turn these amplifiers into subscribers, attendees, participants and ultimately customers, we create the ultimate lead generation machine.

The place where earned, owned and paid media converge, the place where community members can no longer tell the difference, is where the environment for ultimate customer loyalty exists.

You earn market attention when you produce and promote something people want to talk about, but then earned media takes something and creates the kind of momentum that no amount of paid media can.

Creating great content is about creating earned media. Optimizing your blog, website and brand assets is about creating earned media. Your email newsletter is about creating earned media. Your social networking activity is about creating earned media.

Earned media is the ultimate amplification tool when used in conjunction with paid and owned media.

23 Is Media Manipulation the New Media Relations

Media Manipulation – fact or fiction – a frank conversation with Ryan Holiday (@ryanholiday), author of Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator and Peter Shankman (@petershankman), VP, Small Business Evangelist at Vocus.

But, now the rest of the story.

Trust MeEarlier this month a relatively unknown media strategist by the name of Ryan Holiday released a book titled Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator.

The book has received a tremendous amount of coverage due in part to the provocative title and due largely to Holiday’s own perfectly timed manipulation stunt.

Here’s just a bit of the coverage if you want a dive deep into this topic:

In an effort to bring attention to the topic of the book Holiday abused the media service Help A Reporter Out (HARO) by pretending to be a credible source for a number of journalists looking to write stories on specific topics.

Holiday responded to hundreds of queries and lied about who he was and what he knew in an effort to get press to prove his point about the state of online journalism.

Holiday said of his tricks in an interview with Forbes:

“I knew that bloggers would print anything, so I thought, what if, as an experiment, I tried to prove that they will literally print anything? Instead of trying to get press to benefit myself, I just wanted to get any press for any reason as a joke.”

Holiday successfully duped journalists at some of the highest profile publications over a series of several months.

On Reuters, he became the poster child for “Generation Yikes.” On ABC News, he was one of a new breed of long-suffering insomniacs. At CBS, he made up an embarrassing office story, at MSNBC he pretended someone sneezed on him while working at Burger King. At Manitouboats.com, he offered helpful tips for winterizing your boat. The capstone came in the form of a New York Times piece on vinyl records.

So, was this merely a stunt put together by someone pretty good at media manipulation or does it really prove anything about otherwise ethical PR professionals and smart journalists?

“From a reporter’s perspective, it’s not hard to see how it happens,” wrote Thier. “I used HARO once, for this story. Tools like this streamline the hectic process that is blogging — were the situation different, I could see easily myself swindled by someone like Holiday.”

The predictable firestorm that ensued between Holiday and HARO founder Peter Shankman erupted in somewhat spectacular fashion with Holiday going as far as claiming that services such as HARO should be shut down, while Shankman defended the valuable service HARO provides for journalists, PR professionals and small businesses.

Holiday – Peter Shankman seems a little defensive doesn’t he? (Especially the part where he threatens to punch me in the face.) I suppose I can’t blame him. This week, I exposed HARO, the service he founded, for what it is: a cesspool of media manipulation and enabler of bad journalism.

Shankman – Let’s be clear: This idiot (Ryan Holiday, the liar,) did this for one reason, and it wasn’t anywhere NEAR as altruistic as “an experiment.” He wrote a book on how to lie and get in the media, and he was promoting it. End of story. Want more proof? You know what this guy did before he wrote this book? HE WORKED FOR TUCKER MAX, the man who’s written multiple books on how to lie to get laid. Enough said.

Okay so maybe not enough said!

Join me live today at 1:30pm ET as I moderate the first face to face discussion between Peter Shankman and Ryan Holiday since this controversy erupted.

Media Manipulation – fact or fiction – a frank conversation with Ryan Holiday (@ryanholiday), author of Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator and Peter Shankman (@petershankman), VP, Small Business Evangelist at Vocus.

The live Google+Hangout will also feature guest commentary from David Meerman Scott (@dmscott), author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Amy Cosper (@EntMagazineAmy), Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur magazine and Shel Holtz (@shelholtz), Principal, Holtz Communication + Technology – Live – August 1st, 1:30pm ET (GMT-4)

The event moderator is John Jantsch (@ducttape) of Duct Tape Marketing. The event will be available live on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ducttapemarketing

The Google+Hangout Live to YouTube is still pretty shaky technology so let’s hope we pull it off. The YouTube stream will also be recorded for later viewing.