Feb 14, 2012

Paid, earned, owned & social– where media converges

Rachel Meranus, vice president marketing & communications

There’s a lot of discussion about paid, earned & owned media these days; who owns what and how they integrate to bring the greatest return to an organization.   Truthfully, not much has changed in terms of ownership within each of these media over the past decade – the marketers and advertisers ‘own’ the traditional paid media strategy; the PR folks ‘own’ the traditional earned media strategy; owned media crosses both disciplines in most organizations – the website is under the control of marketing, whereas the media room is under the control of PR.

The media mediums themselves, however, have changed considerably over the past decade, but probably the most significant change to this landscape is the advent of social media and the impact this has had on the paid, earned, owned landscape.

Social media hasn’t really found its home yet in an organization.   So much of what savvy marketers are doing today includes social media, and the same holds true of PR people.   Social represents the one media that is truly shared across the two communications disciplines.  Question is whether efforts are being coordinated to bring the greatest results to the organization.

Is there another common denominator that can help to bring all these strategies together to achieve an organization’s goals and objectives?

Yep.  It’s content.


Content is the de rigueur of marketing these days.   And with good reason.  Marketing with content enables an organization to showcase its wares in an extremely non-confrontational, non-salesy, easy-to-digest way.  And ‘wares’ in this instance is really more about expertise and less about products.  Once you’ve established that you’re an expert in something, your audience will be that much more receptive to a sales pitch.   Not to mention, content serves as a terrific retention tool when used to illustrate your expertise and reassure your clients that they have made the right decision in choosing you.

The convergence of marketing & PR, powered by content, the underpinnings of your PEOS strategies.

But who owns content marketing?  Is it the marketing department or the PR department?  Well, in our organization it’s both.  Marketing writes white papers, creates videos and inforgraphics and PR writes blog posts, articles and press releases.  All of these things are content.  And all of them serve to position PR Newswire as an expert in our field as well as help to educate our customers.   If the marketing department and the PR department were not collaborating closely on the message and the content, it would be completely counter-intuitive to achieving our objectives.

In order to illustrate my point, I am going to give a very simplistic overview of our own approach to marketing & PR, as an example.  We are avid content marketers.   Every time our marketing & PR departments develop a piece of new content, we do the following:

Our marketing department creates a paid media strategy that includes, among other things online advertising in publications that reach our core audience.  The advertisements we run focus on the piece of content and act as a lead gen channel by inviting people to download that content.

Our PR department creates an earned media strategy that includes among other things issuing a content advisory – we use our own tools such as multimedia news releases (MNR) which allow us to combine other content assets with the white paper and disseminate it over the PR Newswire content distribution network.    In addition to being pushed to nearly 6,000 media points and 7,000 websites via the network, the MNRs’ built in sharing, or “pull”, capabilities allow readers to pass along the content via social channels.

Together, our PR & marketing departments determine the best placement of the content on our owned media channels – our website’s Knowledge Center and our company blog, Beyond PR, for example – as well as our social channels – @prnewswire, LinkedIn, Facebook).

There are even some tools that actually enable the convergence of marketing & PR organically.  One such product that we use is our own ARC platform.  The ARC combines multiple different content assets into one branded HTML platform (owned) that is distributed over PR Newswire’s content distribution network to 6,000 media points and 7,000 websites (earned), includes multiple social sharing opportunities (earned + social) and can be strategically placed on target websites guaranteeing a set number of impressions (paid).  Not to mention, it shows up above the fold in organic search results mere hours after being disseminated (search).

So, through an integrated approach between our marketing & PR departments, we utilize the tools in our respective arsenals to activate the content across the entire Paid, Earned, Owned & Social Media Landscape.

Author Rachel Meranus is PR Newswire’s vice president of marketing & communications.

Learn more with our free white paper, Marketing is Content, a discussion of content’s role as  the currency that drives brand engagement.  Marketers’ ability to create quality content in multiple formats and distribute it across all channels is the key that unlocks opportunity everywhere. Learn how this trend promises to change marketing forever.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

rsmithing 16:35 EST on Feb 20, 2012

Thanks for this post, Rachel. Very interesting to see how PR Newswire approaches paid vs. earned media. From my own experience, I agree that the two working in tandem with well-considered planing yields the best results.

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