According to a recent Demand Gen study B2B marketers are looking for new ways to drive demand, increase brand awareness and bring more prospective customers into the funnel. Earned media is growing more and more appealing to these companies, as the price of paid efforts increases.
Working with Cision, Demand Gen found that 79% of marketers are prioritizing earned media over traditional paid ads, which have become less effective. Also, 70% said that the increased cost of paid media is a major factor and 41% said it has declined in performance.
Although earned media looks appealing to B2B marketers there are also some major stumbling blocks:
Identifying and connecting with the right influencers.
57% of marketers polled by Cision said one of their biggest challenges with earned media initiatives was identifying and connecting with key industry influencers. This is not a new problem. Earned media relies on knowing who to reach out to and having a relationship with those influencers, so you can earn coverage. Or, if you don’t already have the relationship, having the skill to find them and connect quickly in a way that gets the desired end product. Working with reporters, editors, TV producers, bloggers and other influencers is a particular skill. Not everyone is good at it.
CASE STUDY: Mizuno Mezamashii Run Project. Mizuno Running’s budget was just 1% of industry ad spend and they took the bold decision to lead with earned media. They launched an influencer campaign called the Mezamashii Run Project. We identified 150 A-list runners who blogged and posted on social media about their runs, contacted them all and succeeded in getting 100 into the project as the core community to start spreading the information about the project. The results were better than expected – favorability and store sales increased and a sustainable community of fans was born.
2. Tracking ROI and tying earned media impact to business goals.
Seventy-percent of respondents to the Cision survey said that they would leverage earned media even more than they currently do if they could track ROI effectively.
It is much easier now to track earned media and tie it to business goals, if your earned media efforts are an integral part of your overall strategy and your earned media team knows what those business goals are. Then they can target earned media with that in mind and use a tool like the Custom PR Dashboard in Google Analytics to track results.
What to Measure
Content and media analyst Rebecca Lieb of Kaleido Insights, advises companies to consider metrics that don’t relate directly to sales, but still demonstrate monetary value. “Every business should be thinking more creatively about what can be measured,” says Lieb.
And she urges marketers to look beyond the vanity metrics of likes and shares. In an earlier report that she authored, Lieb identified six business goals that content and earned media could impact: