Earned media as a distinct form of media

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I’m a bit late to the party and wasn’t really on top of exactly what “earned media” is – so I have to admit to dragging my heels. I’d read the Nielsen/Facebook report which showed that earned media significantly increased ad and brand awareness and intent to purchase. That was back in April.

Wikipedia gives a definition, although it is surprisingly sparse. And Brian Shin CEO of Invisible Measures gives a good account in “How ‘Earned Media’ is Providing Value to Brand Marketers” on Beet.tv.

So I had the gist. But it wasn’t until a read a June article in the McKinsey Quarterly that the penny dropped. I’m not really sure why as the article is quite light-weight. As a matter of fact it was because it was so light-weight that I stopped to read it again as I thought there must be something here, as an insight, that I’m missing!

So I concentrated again on the opening background, and I guess the second paragraph got me thinking about the “mind-set” of earned media:

More recently, we have adopted a new mind-set: we think of word of mouth generated on social networks as a distinct form of media. This idea is more than a semantic detail. When you think of word of mouth as media, it becomes a form of content, and businesses can apply tried-and-true content-management practices and metrics to it. In addition, word of mouth generated by social networks is a form of marketing that must be earned—unlike traditional advertising, which can be purchased. We therefore concluded that we could succeed only by being genuinely useful to the individuals who initiate or sustain virtual world-of-mouth conversations.

Somehow, when I read that slowly, it made “earned media” mean something more to me than in the past. I have no idea why but the “mind-set” idea clicked, and now I have a nice little compartment in my mind for “thinking of” earned media. I didn’t get much from the rest, but there you go, one good “click” makes the article worthwhile in any case.

Have you a clear way of thinking about earned media?

What’s the best article on earned media you have read?

Do you think the article had other useful insights?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Walter Adamson
I help firms create optimal customer experiences by integrating social data, teams & processes with enterprise systems. The much vaunted 360-view of the customer can be a bottomless pit without a clear data strategy. I help you deliver a greatly improved customer experience starting with a "45-degree" view of the customer, fully utilising social data analytics. I clarify your objectives and what data you need to service them, and guide you to operationalise "social at scale" to consistently deliver valuable customer experience at every social touch point.

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