Many people in the marketing and communications world have heard the acronym PESO (paid, earned, shared/social, owned) to talk about the different types of media out there in the world today. For this particular article, we are going to talk about the first two since they are so very often viewed as interchangeable by people both inside and out of the industry, resulting in lots of frustration and miscommunication around results.
While they work well together, paid and earned media are still separate entities. Many online news outlets, in order to bolster revenue, have been incorporating paid media outside of the traditional banner ads -- sponsored content, native advertising and/or advertorials -- on to their sites, making it difficult for readers to tell the difference between what was written by their staff and what was paid for and placed by a sponsor. In some cases, contributed articles can be viewed as paid media but that has started causing a backlash by editorial teams who want to ensure that their readers are getting expert opinions on timely topics, not just a self-serving corporate message.
Earned media centers around your traditional articles, Q&As and profile pieces, written by a journalist from their perspective after speaking with a variety of sources and experts. Unlike paid media, where you know when, where and what will be published, earned media is at the discretion of the journalist and his/her editor. Unless there are factual inaccuracies, stories are rarely adjusted. This is why is it "earned" media -- it is critical for your communications team to build the relationships with reporters and clearly understand what the story is about.
If it is a proactive pitch to a reporter, collecting all of the pieces of your ideal story in advance -- spokespeople, messages, data, external sources, etc. -- is vital. But even then, journalists have their own sources and views on various topics so their written words may not be exactly what you and your team were envisioning.
They could be worse -- or they could be even better. This is the gamble you take with earned media. If you aren't willing to take the risk, you and your team might be better off focusing resources on the other pieces of PESO.
The blog post below was written by technical marketing & product leader, Priya Ramamurthi, and was also published on LinkedIn.
Marketing has changed and evolved significantly in the last few years (the rise of content and digital marketing, multi-channel customer targeting and increased focus on analytics) and perceptions of what marketing is and can do for an organization depends on the industry, size of organization and the past experiences, which drive expectations of c-level executives.
In larger consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, brand marketing often sits at the helm driving strategy - developing long-range plans, creating brand differentiation and positioning while also executing through cooperation with finance, operations, integrated marketing teams.
Larger technology companies are driven by engineering, where even if product marketers are CEOs, they tend to have a very strong engineering background and focus. As a result, roles in product marketing and field marketing focus on product understanding, in addition to pure marketing expertise.
Within these mature organizations, PR or marketing communications is a strong pillar to ensure both brand building and evangelism. A PR program is part of the larger marketing strategy and works in tandem with -- not separately from -- the rest of the marketing team.
For smaller companies, marketing and PR are often perceived as interchangeable. There might be a notion of marketing being equivalent to either a press release or analyst coverage. Additionally, there are views on marketing being purely digital paid marketing through a myriad of channels be it Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, to name a few.
We’ve found that it works better to think of marketing holistically to drive business strategy and decide on the vehicles based on target audience, consumer buyer journey and budget. Developing brand and product positioning is often vital to ensuring the PR strategy or ‘first press release’ is on point.
A piecemeal approach to marketing and PR can lead to confusion or worse lack of product uptick. Marketing and PR working in tandem drive better results for an organization. This does not necessarily mean significantly higher spend.
Here are a few ways to think through this:
Welcome to ROAMings, a compilation of thoughts and musings about the PR and media industries. This is an opportunity to discuss the “here and now” of the industry, interesting events or case studies, pivotal moments that affect how we approach PR, etc. It isn’t about brand loyalties or preferences -- and we will not be publishing self-promotional materials or talk about our clients in this setting -- but how those brands, individuals and events are leveraging (or in some cases abandoning) PR.