earned media

The five components of a winning press release

While companies have more ways than ever to distribute important announcements at little or no cost, the formal press release is still alive and well.

The reason? A good press release is still capable of driving earned media.

What’s the difference between paid, owned and earned media?

A refresher for anyone who has heard this phrase and either forgot the difference between them or who never knew the difference in the first place.

That includes myself and also a colleague who leaned over to me last week and said “you know what you should write a beginner’s guide to? Paid, earned and owned media.”

So unlike when I DJ at friends’ weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, I happily took his request and obliged.

Here’s a quick guide to paid, earned and owned media…

New Year marketing resolutions you shouldn’t break in 2014

It’s February and already, according to a number of statistical sources, around a quarter of us have failed to uphold our New Year’s resolutions.

Interestingly, 39% of people in their twenties achieve their resolution each year compared to only 14% of people over 50. That’s interesting given the prevailing attitudes towards younger generations.

In the same vein, marketers are mapping out the conversations they want to have this year to stay ahead of the curve. Given the influx of ‘2014 Trends’ in January, I thought it would be a useful point to review the best and highlight a few that might follow New Year’s resolutions.

What does a perfect agile marketing strategy look like?

A few months ago I compiled a list of 26 wonderful agile marketing campaigns, as there are some serious wins to be had for brands that can act fast. 

But what does it take to react quickly? 

Good timing is everything in comedy, in sport, in fashion, in cooking, and in business. Wait too long and you’ve missed your moment, but there’s a very sweet spot to hit if you get it right. As Anna Wintour says:

It’s always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten.

Vogue’s editor in chief could have so easily been talking about agile marketing, which requires superlative timing. How are you supposed to win the earned media game if you sit around twiddling thumbs, or don’t have the right set up to make things happen quickly?

With this in mind, I thought I’d outline the key agile marketing success factors, and to try to figure out what kind of team structure and processes need to be put in place.

Why it’s time for PR professionals to embrace paid media

PR professionals seem to embrace an air of superiority when it comes to the owned/earned/paid debate.

PRs have traditionally crafted stories that win or lose by their storytelling craft. If the story isn’t powerful enough then the journalist will slam the phone down in a rage and never speak to you again.

Whereas on the paid side of the fence, the feeling is that content with a big media budget behind it can reach (or be pushed in front of) a wider audience, whether or not it is any good. And that that’s just wrong.

Truths and flaws abound on both sides of this summary.

26 superb examples of agile marketing in action

Agile project management is something that many tech teams have adopted in the past few years, to rapidly build and develop new products, and to finesse existing ones. There is a focus on sprints, and on getting things done quickly. 

Increasingly, we are seeing the signs that marketing teams are also becoming more agile. Consider the amount of advertising and marketing that is based around a news hook. This is nothing new, but it seems to be on the rise.

Social media might be one reason why agile marketing is on the rise. Brands have spent the last few years figuring out how to react on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. They now know what works, in terms of the type of content they share and produce. Social media has also allowed a lot of brands to establish a new tone of voice: more human, more transparent, and – as we shall see – more humourous. 

The ability to react quickly on social channels is important, to nip things in the bud, and to encourage interaction and engagement. Many companies are now doing this well, and some have figured out that rapid response can be applied to marketing more broadly. If done correctly, it will be amplified on social media (note the number of ‘favourites’ and ‘retweets’ in the Super Bowl tweets below). Earned media FTW. 

I thought I’d compile a bunch of examples of agile marketing, although, by way of a caveat, some of these things may have been planned a little while in advance. While I can’t be absolutely sure of the processes involved or speed of execution, I do know that these examples are mainly ‘reactionary’, be that a response to a news story, to customer or user feedback, or to another brand. I have a bunch of ideas on how to structure an agile marketing team and the kind of processes to put in place, but I’ll explore all of that in a separate post. 

Ok, let’s check them out…