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Three Ways To Use Content To Promote Your Brand

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Alice Chan

September 24, 2014

With a PR landscape that’s fast-changing and new techniques emerging almost daily, it can be hard for start-ups to know the difference between different types of content (specifically: earned, shared and owned) and how to use it. Here’s a quick guide:

Earned Media: What Is It?

This involves pitching an interesting and relevant story idea to a reporter. If the journalist likes your idea and decides to write an article, the resulting coverage will help raise awareness among stakeholders and validate your company’s idea. There’s a lot of work involved in this process – you literally have to “earn” the story.

When It Works

“Interesting” and “relevant” are key words. Journalists want to write stories that will engage their readers, show they have the inside track on what’s new and keep them coming back for more. Typically reporters want “hard” news such as significant funding from name-brand VCs, disruptive technologies from proven innovators, or a key distribution partnership that will assure a company’s success. New products are often tested and reviews published as a result.

Example: Here’s a product review that appeared on CNet for Bird PR client, health tracker, Basis. It was the culmination of many months of collaboration with the reviewer, Brian Bennett.

Shared Media: What Is It?

In the era of social media, Pinterest, YouTube and internet memes, “killer” content can go viral if you do it right. The value of this is clear: getting your brand in front of potentially hundreds of thousands of customers.

When It Works

That’s the hardest part to predict. No one knows they have viral content on their hands, until it has gone well, viral. Sad, but true. However, you can certainly stack the deck in your favor by working with editorially-trained experts to generate content that engages and entertains. A few firms, like Group SJR that works with the likes of Dell, are emerging with this specific focus.

Example: Here’s an example of a video that Group SJR did for GE to celebrate the invention of the LED light bulb. It’s generated nearly 140,000 views on YouTube along with other media articles.

Owned Media: What Is It?

This is content created by a brand or company, such as bylined articles, blog posts, white papers, etc.

When It Works

With media outlets struggling to keep up with the volume of news and innovation in technology, particularly in the face of shrinking editorial teams, many now accept contributed content. Forbes practically invented this, and if they can’t take credit for that, they certainly made the practice of posting brand content acceptable. However, changes abound with many publications starting to realize they can attach a price tag to this real estate, so work with your PR firm to work out what’s best for your particular needs.

Example: Here’s an example that appeared on VentureBeat for Bird PR client, PowerbyProxi.

*Originally published on Bird PR‘s blog.

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