Opinion: Earned media must work more effectively with paid and owned
Jim Hawker, CEO of integrated agency Threepipe, outlines why PRs need to work better with colleagues in paid and owned media and how the agency has looked to create a truly integrated offering.
Through a merger and two acquisitions, we have created an agency that is able to truly able to plan and integrate campaigns, using the PESO framework across paid, earned, shared and owned media.
Our view of the world is that campaigns are only truly impactful and effective if all these channels are working together – whether with one agency or multiple agencies providing the support.
Having the experts across all these channels is however only the start. Central to making this work is a rigorous planning team that is able to determine the correct mix and type of channel based on audience insight from first party and external data sources.
Earned should be a part of the full mix
I always flinch when I hear of a ‘an earned-first media led approach’, because the reality is that this is ignorant of the value of the other channels from a strategic perspective.
It is mostly PR agencies that, not unsurprisingly, are advocating this approach, but it is naïve to the understanding of strategic planning.
Of course earned media is attractive – it tends to be a more cost effective channel which can drive powerful advocacy that the other channels struggle to match. However, there are many scenarios when earned media should not take the lead but be more of a supporting channel.
Measuring across media sector is vital
Effective planning at the start of the campaigns will also help clarify measurement criteria. We have spent considerable time over the last 12 months building out our own attribution solutions to help our clients really determine the relative value and importance of each of their marketing channels.
The reality is that there is huge impact of one channel over the other as a consumer makes their way through the channels to interact or purchase from the client.
However, each channel does require effective measurement as well. Establishing outcome rather than output based metrics is becoming the new normal. In the case of PR, simply measuring the volume of coverage isn’t good enough anymore.
All the other channels within the mix are being run by agencies which generally are much better at providing performance marketing led reporting. That is a clear warning to agencies as we move into times with increased scrutiny on whether PR is generating positive commercial outcomes.
Jim Hawker’s comments feature in our latest white paper – Creating resonant integrated campaigns by using Earned Media Management – which you can download by filling in the form below.
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