Earned media is on the rise as marketers scrutinize the effectiveness of traditional paid media.
Marketing plans have always juggled some form of paid media (buying an ad), owned media (building a web site or store), and earned media (coverage in press or word of mouth). But the lines have blurred between these three forms of media. Some ad agencies have started hiring Earned Media Directors. Some PR agencies have started placing media buys.
The best paid media generates earned media (which is why last year’s Superbowl ads drew so many views even before the actual game). And the most successful earned media often needs paid media as an accelerant. Grant Owens from Razorfish said, “Earned often requires a paid spark. We have empirical evidence that a kick-start from paid media is often the difference between a cultural juggernaut and complete silence.”
I found this media chart useful, showing the integrated commingling of Paid, Owned, and Earned Media.
The net result of this blurring is that we have to earn ALL of our media more. A lackluster paid media placement is a missed opportunity. The impetus is on marketers to create marketing worth sharing, whatever the media. We can’t rely purely on paid media to carry the weight.
I’m giving the keynote at Google’s “Think Branding” conference next week. I’d love to hear any examples you have on “marketing worth sharing” — either great paid media that generated earned media, and great earned media sparked by paid placement.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away one signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. I’ll pick one comment. Thanks!)