SOCIAL MEDIA: EOP Media: A Comprehensive Strategy

By Matthew Givner

When it comes to designing a comprehensive plan to drive attention and engagement, brands are confronted with a panoply of tactics and strategies from which to choose. With flashy buzzwords and industry lingo constantly paraded in front of their eyes by savvy gurus, it’s no wonder one of the most common questions brands ask us is: “Where do I start?”

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Let’s start at the beginning by defining our terms and organizing our thoughts. There are so many different methods and mediums by which a brand can choose to convey its message and reach its audience that it can be difficult to wrap one’s mind around them all. At Agency 33, we use a simple acronym to help our clients make these crucial decisions: EOP. What does it stand for? EOP represents the three different types of media a brand can employ in its marketing or advertising strategies: Earned, Owned, and Paid media.Untitled

Earned Media

Earned media is another way of describing content created and distributed about a brand by a third party, such as the news media. With Earned Media, the goal is to encourage other people to talk about your brand. Traditionally, this has fallen under the rubric of public relations, wherein brands hire professionals to lobby the press on their behalf with the goal of generating press coverage for a brand. Although still a valid and necessary tactic, public relations and the services which accompany it (such as message development, press release drafting, journalist outreach, crisis management, etc.) are just one aspect of Earned Media.

Check out our previous post How to Write a Great Press Release

Along with public relations, one of the best ways of cultivating earned media is through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others. When a brand creates and distributes content on its Facebook page, anytime one of their fans decides to Like and Share that content the brand has just generated Earned Media. By sharing a brand’s content with their own connections, a brand’s fans become advocates, spreading the company’s message to a larger audience than that to which the brand would otherwise have access. Brands can also get proactive by identifying and then directly engaging with “Key Influencers,” or individuals prominent in a particular industry with their own large and loyal group of followers. Companies which succeed at this type of socially-generated Earned Media occasionally get to watch their content hit the internet holy grail by going “viral” and spreading amongst netizens as fast Balloon Boy or Gangnam Style.

Here’s the next logical question: “So what kind of content should my brand make to generate earned media?” There’s no straightforward answer for that one, as the best kind of content will vary with each brand and target audience. However, generally speaking things like contests, quizzes, giveaways, videos, infographics, and photo quotes tend to be winners. There are also some more traditional ways of fostering brand advocates through methods such as loyalty programs and incentive schemes which directly and tangibly compensate your fans for promoting your brand.

In short: Earned Media is the product of getting other people to become brand advocates and spread your brand’s messaging for you to their own audience and connections.Untitled1

Owned Media

Next up in our acronym is Owned Media. As you might guess, Owned Media refers to all the channels that a brand has complete and total control over. This includes your website, blog, newsletter, social media profiles, and more. Surprisingly, despite the fact that brands by definition own this type of media, more often than not businesses fail to develop and execute a coherent strategy that actively employs these tools and tactics.

So what does a coherent Owned Media strategy look like? The brand has an easy-to-use website that is fully search engine optimized (see Google’s SEO Guide), mobile responsive, links to the brand’s social media platforms, and has relevant calls to action on each page. If applicable, the website includes a straightforward e-commerce platform that drives users towards making a purchase. The brand also has a blog which it updates regularly with informative and interesting content that its customers and target audience(s) are sure to find helpful. The blog, as well as relevant pages on the website, display social share buttons to make Earned Media generation simple for users. The brand has identified the best social media platforms for its particular target audience and customer base (here’s a quick demographic breakdown of the major platforms), has created branded company pages/profiles, and regularly posts interesting and engaging content to its fans and followers according to a comprehensive content schedule. Not only that, the brand also replies immediately and positively to any and all engagement it receives from its followers. The brand engages in regular communication with its audience by publishing newsletters (which users can easily sign up for via the website and social media) to alert them to the latest news, events, promotions, contests, blog posts, and more.

Read 5 B2B Content Marketing Tips

The above is just an example, but it illustrates the importance of making your Owned Media work for your brand. It takes time, effort, and a well-thought out plan, but it is possible (and vital!).Untitled2

Paid Media

Arguably the easiest of the three to wrap your mind around, Paid Media is simply another word for advertising. Whereas Earned Media represents individuals spreading your message for you and Owned Media represents the assets your brand has total control over, Paid Media represents the manifold channels accessible to your brand – for a fee.

Since most of us are familiar with traditional advertising, be it on the radio, TV, billboards, bus benches, etc., I will focus on the different online advertising options brands employ in their Paid Media efforts. Online ads fall into roughly 5 types: pay-per-click, display/video, social media, in-app, and retargeting.

Pay-Per-Click(PPC): PPC ads are those that you see on the search results pages of the major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Brands identify specific geographic areas and bid on particular keywords and phrases users search for. Brands pay the search provider each time a user clicks on one of these text ads and gets driven to a specific page on the brand’s website. Ad extensions such as site link, phone number, and dynamic keyword insertion are a great way of improving a PPC ad’s click-through-rates.

Display/Video: These types of ads are the kind you find on the top, bottom, and sidebars of websites in the form of banners. These can be static images, animated GIFs, or videos which play automatically, on mouse-over, or with a click. Video ads can also be placed ahead of, for example, YouTube videos. Unlike PPC ads, Display/Video ads have more sophisticated targeting options available, such as Contextual (target based on the content of a webpage) and Behavioral (target based on the user’s IP address).

Social Media: Each social media platform has their own advertising capabilities, but in general ads on social media websites appear as Promoted Posts which can be targeted at specific audiences based on demographic information as well as (depending on the platform) their interests, behaviors, industry, income level, and more. Sophisticated Paid Media providers (such as Agency 33) can even use the targeting capabilities available through social media with display/video advertisements placed around the web. For a more detailed discussion on social media ads, I invite you to check out my previous blog post Your Facebook Marketing Efforts Aren’t Working: Here’s Why.

In-App: Fairly straightforward, in-app advertisements are those you find in free versions of mobile apps for Android and Apple. Much of the same targeting capabilities apply as you would find with Display/Video ads.

Retargeting: One of the most successful forms of online advertising, retargeting involves displaying ads to users who have visited your website in the past but failed to take a specific, desired action, such as purchasing something. If a user visits your website without taking the action you’d like them to take, retargeting ads will follow that user around the internet no matter where they go, inviting them to return to your website and complete the action. These ads are the best way to address what is referred to as “abandoned shopping carts.” Brands often find that including a special incentive, such as a discount on a user’s next purchase, make especially effective retargeting ads.Untitled3

Making EOP Media Work For You

As you can see, despite the numerous tactics brands have at their disposal for spreading their message, it really all comes down to EOP. Now, the question is, how can a brand make EOP media work for them? While the answers to this question will vary with each brand, here are four questions you can ask that can help clarify the situation for you:

  1. What are your business goals?
  2. What does a “win” look like?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What are your target audience’s pain and pleasure points?

Significantly, these four questions represent the starting point for any engagement Agency 33 undertakes with a client. After consultation with a client on these and other questions, Agency 33 can then craft a comprehensive solution to address a brand’s specific needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more about how Agency 33 can help design the most effective marketing and advertising plan for your company using EOP Media.