Content Strategy Part 3 : Understanding Earned Media

Earned media is content generated in any form about your brand. It could be via Influencers, Experts, Enthusiasts or Consumers. When Influencers talk about your brand, it gives credibility. In the case of Experts and Enthusiasts, the brand becomes popular in most circles. When it comes to Consumers, word of mouth is the most powerful means by which the brand gets engagement and visibility.

So why is this important? It so happens that this type of engagement cannot be controlled. It could go both ways. When it goes well the brand does really well in terms of customer engagement. When it goes bad there is no saying as to how much damage it would cause the brand name.

This is why this is so important to keep track of and understand it.

  1. It offers something of value and people want other people to experience it.
  2. Influencers talk about it because they like the brand offering.
  3. Enthusiasts are the first ones who try the experience offered by it.

As I had mentioned earlier that it could go both ways. Let us say that the user experience is bad, then, earned media generated would be of a negative value. This cannot be controlled by the brand as it is user-generated content.

It becomes very tricky when dealing with earned media. You should have a proper plan in place on how to understand it and use it to your advantage. So one way to ensure that earned media generates positive results is by sharing content that users have generated about your brand and acknowledging them for their effort.

A company by the name GoPro does this really well. They have a competition where you have to “Capture your interests, your passions, your life… with a GoPro“. Here is a video link to all the user-generated content shared by GoPro users. It is amazing stuff.

It generated massive amounts of user-generated content. This is a really good way of generating a healthy competition between GoPro users. They also had a huge cash prize associated with it. You cannot go wrong with this kind of user-generated content.

Another company that used user engagement to get people aware of the importance of mothers on Mothers day is by American Greetings. They created a tagline “The toughest job in the world” for Mothers day. 

It was truly amazing to see how users reacted to the questions asked and how the company used this to promote its core value proposition which basically sells cards for different occasions. Here’s the link to it.

The key here is to know what the core value proposition of your products or services is and this would help you get a better idea of how to create a platform to embrace earned media.

One industry that gets a huge amount of earned media is the gaming industry. Hardcore gamers buy games as soon as they are released and upload videos on how to cross levels and win Boss fights. These are very helpful videos and generate massive amounts of comments, likes & shares.

Users get so involved in the story and figure out how to make the game better and post suggestions on game forums. Some publishers do incorporate this in their next release of the game if the suggestions seem valid.

You can see how powerful earned media is in terms of generating engagement. This is why a lot of brands are trying to incorporate this into their strategy. For some brands, it takes years to get to a point where users generate content on their own about the brand.

Be patient, be consistent and be prepared for it when it actually happens.