Today you can create customer connections with content marketing. But a decade ago, you had five media options for advertising your business – television, newspapers, radio, magazines and billboards. Your challenge? Translate the brand communication strategy into a media strategy by answering questions like, ‘Who should our target be?’ ‘What media can we afford?’ and ‘When should we run?’
Unfortunately, blurry targets like ‘Males, 18 to 24 who like beef jerky’ made up most of the media planning. And when sales didn’t pick up in the next purchase cycle, your media budget was slashed by Ginsu-wielding management teams.
Fast forward to today. The explosion of digital media options and big data makes media planning more complicated, occasionally slower than expected, and sometimes difficult to measure.
At the end of the day though, media planning’s objective remains unchanged – to deliver strong ROI while achieving communication goals. Digital campaign results have been unsteady, and companies like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever are demanding better results from digital channels.
We’ve been exploring how you can deepen your relationships with customers through content marketing in this four-part series. We’ve provided guidelines for identifying your audience and outlined creative ways to engage with them. This third post examines how to effectively distribute your content across the expanded list of media channels, including paid, earned, shared and owned.
The PESO Model for Digital Marketing
Initially developed in 2014 as a model for public relations planning in the digital age, the PESO model was easy to overlay on digital marketing.
Paid media is the new descriptor for advertising. But our list of five buyable media options has expanded to include any effort paid for to promote content such as Google Adwords, sponsored content, or influencers.
You can hone paid media message effectiveness through testing. The bonus? Content is more likely to get seen with a paid boost. Paying to boost your brand’s content encourages engagement.
But to get the ROI your management team requires, you’ll need a clear target audience, a measurement plan and the authority to pivot if efforts aren’t working:
- Earned media refers to publicity — when a blog mentions your brand, podcast, TV program or industry website created by someone else.
- Earned media is ‘free’ and can deliver powerful, trusted, credible recommendations.
The downside is you don’t fully control earned media messages. Creating useful, shareable content and connecting with influencers and journalists can help you get positive earned media. Here are a few industry insights to keep in mind:
- Shared media or social media is user-generated-content (what we like to call Undeniable Glorious Connections). Your customers, followers and fans become unpaid brand ambassadors by tweeting, sharing, or liking your content. Further, studies show that 82% of consumers consider user generated reviews extremely valuable.
- Like earned media, shared media is ‘free’ and the word-of-mouth endorsements can improve your brand image.
- Creating an environment for shared media to flourish means you’ll need dedicated resources to build relationships with followers. You can expect a troll or two to make trouble. If you’re interested in building a real, enaged audience, remember that a ‘bot’ reply won’t deliver the responsiveness and authenticity your customers want from you.
Owned media is under your control and includes content such as your website, white papers, e-books, webinars, vlogs, blogs and podcasts.
You fully control the message and can deliver a consistent brand experience through owned media. Owned media costs less than paid media, and you likely know who you’re reaching with your content.
But your owned content can have a limited audience if you don’t actively market it. And it can be ignored or relegated to ‘junk’ files, making ROI slower to build.
How to Find the Right Digital Channels for Your Brand
Getting the best mix of distribution for your content can feel like you’ve been asked to prepare a meal at a 3-star Michelin restaurant. You have all these ingredients, no idea where to begin and you’re expected to produce extraordinary results.
In some ways, the PESO model is confusing. There’s overlap between earned and shared media. Your owned media can morph into sponsored media.
Take a deep breath and take a step back. You’ve researched your audience and created great content. Now, think about how current and potential customers want to engage with you – and develop your channel strategy around their needs.
Paid media, your presence on social networks, and influencers can be used to attract potential customers.
When potential customers engage with you, tailor your owned media to help their decision-process and manage your shared media relationships to build deeper connections (and conversions).
Post-purchase, use your owned media to address needs. Harvest earned/shared press for reviews and feedback to put to work as customer development content.
A media distribution plan focused on creating a positive customer experience will produce the ROI your leadership team expects. We’d value the opportunity to talk with you about your goals and how we can help craft the right strategy for your business. Put some time on our calendar – we’ll bring snacks.
Up next, our final post in this series – What Does Digital Marketing Allow that Traditional Doesn’t?
Check out our other posts below: