Converged media weaves paid, owned, and earned media in driving the reach and success of each other. Paid media drives audiences to owned media, owned media gives value worth sharing as earned media, earned media sentiments are echoed in paid media, and so on.
In part one, we discussed Rebecca Lieb and Jeremiah Owyang’s first six tips for crafting successful converged media. Here are the last five.
Step 7: Ensure real-time capabilities.
Earned media is obviously the most demanding in this regard. In fact, 42% of social media users expect responses from companies to their inquiries within an hour. Attentiveness and agility in earned media is very important, but can’t be ignored in owned media either. In owned and paid media like blog posts, original video, and paid placements of this content, be relevant. Give your brand point of view on current trends and events as they’re happening to be part of the bigger conversation.
Step 8: Be channel flexible.
The “leading” channels for convergence today will not stay leaders forever. Never marry your campaigns to a few channels – in other words: choose strategies, not tools. The question is not, “What can we do on Facebook and Twitter?” but “How do we get people talking about us and watching our content? Now, where is the right place to do that?”
Being channel flexible also means closely monitoring and evaluating your activities across channels. Nurture what works, and kill what doesn’t. Not all channels are right for every business. If your owned media Google+ isn’t driving the earned media you planned for, which networks are? Can you focus more on those networks?
Step 9: Manage influencer relations.
“All earned media is not created equal,” says Rebecca. Commentary from more active consumers with bigger and more engaged networks can carry more weight and be more persuasive. Consumers with highly active networks add a multiplier effect: they share your content, and their followers in turn re-share it.
For example, brands might pay certain influential tech writers or “mommy bloggers” to honestly review their products or discuss their campaigns (paid with a fee or free goods, and always with disclosure). The bloggers in turn create earned media that they share with their networks, and their networks share with their own networks, and so on for exponential effect. Rubbermaid used this tactic when launching a new kitchen mop, with great success.
Step 10: Analyze the crowd and listen to social.
Rebecca dismissed the “chicken-and-egg question” of whether paid/owned media drives earned or vice versa – the answer varies for every execution. What is important is monitoring the conversations around your brand, and distilling them for trends. The positive trends in brand chatter can inspire the most authentic and talkable brand creative for paid campaigns – the brand reflects what consumers are saying back to them in ads. And monitoring earned media is essential to being responsive in real-time, as discussed in step 7.
Step 11: Have a system for identifying and measuring KPIs.
Truly, step 11 ties back to step 2. Identifying the goals and KPIs that will be used to judge the campaign’s success is an integral part in planning a stable foundation for your campaign. KPIs for a successful campaign should match business objectives you’re already striving toward. Measuring increases in likes, followers, etc. is meaningless if not tied to existing goals like traffic, time on site, conversations, conversion rates, etc.
Then once the campaign is live, measuring those KPIs is paramount. Converged media is only as good as you can measure. Always be testing, using methods like A/B to prove the influence of your converged media on a metric versus those visitors who did not interact with your converged media. A/B tests are only a snapshot in time, so be sure to trend these tests over time and see what’s working, and what’s not.
Rebecca and Jeremiah discuss converged media and their advice in much more depth in their report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned, and Earned Media. Read the full report for examples of companies using converged campaigns effectively.