It wouldn’t quite be accurate for me to write that “earned media is back,” because to many communicators, it never actually left. In fact, 81 percent of marketers view earned media as more than or equally effective as paid media.
Where it has been lagging behind paid and owned, however, is in the crucial layer of technology and data that brings automation, integration and attribution to earned media campaigns. To date, such innovation has been stronger on the paid and owned side. During my time at Oracle, we drove this very innovation with technology that helped marketers energize relationships, build pipeline and boost ROI.
But it wasn’t just about the individual capabilities of the technologies. It was the way the technology and data worked together, as one unified entity, that really drove value for our customers. Marketers had been dealing with a number of vendors and solutions, many of which focused on one narrow problem. We gave them a stack of technology, data and services so they could streamline efforts and get a holistic view of campaigns.
Meanwhile, earned media hasn’t had that same level of technology and data, leaving communicators struggling to demonstrate the value compared to paid and owned. And while there is some technology in the space, it all exists to solve narrow problems, which creates inefficiencies and has users banging their heads against the wall.
That’s all about to change — the tech revolution has arrived in earned media.
Today, we unveiled the Cision Communication Cloud™, a revolutionary platform that enables communicators to maximize earned media potential and execute a unified multichannel strategy that directly ties to an organization’s objectives.
The one thing I would like to emphasize is the multichannel component. Earned media shouldn’t work in isolation, nor should paid or owned. We need to break down the silos; the technology and data have arrived on the earned side to showcase its critical role in the marketing mix. A study we did at PR Newswire found that when we added PR to other paid and owned channels, we saw a 250% increase in content downloads, which then converted into a pipeline increase of 360% and a lift in marketing influenced revenue of 161%.
It all starts with relationships. Influencers, not advertisements, are driving purchasing decisions. From engaging with an influential blogger, to rallying a community of brand advocates, communicators need to target and build relationships with the key influencers and decision-makers that matter most. This is critical — on average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing.
The trend is catching on. Marketers are increasing their influencer marketing budgets, meaning you will need a thorough understanding of how to stand out from the crowd and really connect with those influencers, who are getting inundated with messages. You’ll also need to identify the up-and-coming influencers who will be receptive to your content.
This is where the layer of technology and data can deliver a myriad of benefits. With powerful data and analytics to help you forecast key trends and show you how your content will resonate across mediums and audiences, you can optimize your program strategies. By listening across channels, you will uncover additional opportunities, and further develop stronger, more impactful campaigns.
CMOs are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate value, and to do it quickly. We now have the ability, in real time, to analyze what’s working and what’s not, so we can make changes to optimize campaign performance. With stronger reporting than ever before, communicators will get a 360-degree view of campaigns to accurately demonstrate their value, including the financial impact of their programs.
All of these powerful capabilities are now available under one umbrella, facilitated by collaboration tools, eliminating the need to work in silos or work across a number of disparate systems.
In one unified platform, we now have the ability to more easily and effectively manage our programs across the communication lifecycle, helping you to listen, target, create, engage and analyze in a streamlined approach. The Communication Cloud has arrived, and it’s here to cover the entire customer journey.
If you’re as excited as I am about the new technology and data-driven landscape of earned media, I invite you to explore the Communication Cloud, and feel free to share your thoughts with me by tweeting me @Akeroyd or @Cision.
About Kevin Akeroyd
Kevin Akeroyd oversees Cision’s executive management team across operations globally. He has more than 25 years of experience in reshaping modern digital, social and mobile marketing globally.