One Publicity Tactic Isn't Enough: The Value of an Integrated Strategy

Steve Flynn, SVP, National Publicity , 10.30.23

10.30.23 Steve Flynn, SVP, National Publicity

In the world of publicity, deploying the full range of tactics available - across earned, paid, and owned - is imperative for any successful campaign. Each piece of this publicity puzzle offers its own advantages; mastering their integration is key to an impactful strategy. Let's unravel the nuances of earned, paid, and owned publicity, exploring their distinct characteristics and the immense value they hold in building and sustaining a strong public presence.

Earned Publicity

Earned publicity (also known as earned media) refers to favorable media coverage gained through promotional efforts other than paid advertising.

  • Examples of earned publicity include positive news articles; television, radio or podcast interviews; favorable reviews; influential social media mentions; speaking engagements; inclusion in awards or "best-of" lists; and word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Why is it valuable?
    • Credibility. Earned media can be seen as more authentic and trustworthy than paid advertising. Positive news and third-party endorsements can boost a brand's reputation and credibility.
    • Reach. Earned media has the potential to reach a very wide audience, especially through online shares. It expands brand awareness beyond what paid advertising budgets may allow.
    • Cost-efficiency. While generating earned media takes PR and promotional resources, it doesn't incur the high costs of buying advertising.
    • SEO. Online earned media like mentions, links, etc. boost a brand's search engine rankings and discoverability.
  • How we optimize it: Generating earned media takes strategy but pays dividends in brand image and visibility. We actively leverage third-party credibility and organic amplification to offer our clients publicity that is high-value, and more affordable than paid advertising. We recently activated our large network of reviewers during the writer's strike to help a studio amplify awareness of a movie release when traditional publicity methods were not available to us.

Paid Publicity

Paid publicity involves advertising or promotional activities where the company pays for media exposure or distribution.

  • Examples are sponsored content; event sponsorships; product placement; brand partnerships; and influencer collaborations through paid partnerships.
  • Why is it valuable?
    • Targeted reach. Paid content, collaboration and partnerships let a brand target their messaging to a specific audience's demography, interests and behaviors.
    • Control of messaging. The brand has full control over the content and placement. This lets them carefully craft the narrative and associations with their brand.
    • Brand building. Paid placements, sponsorships, etc. reinforce brand messaging and visual identity.
    • Competitive edge. Paid publicity opportunities let brands counter competitors' messaging and maintain visibility even when they are advertising as well.
  • How we optimize it: This channel's greater control over messaging, target audience, and timing is invaluable. It allows for precise targeting and immediate visibility. We support a resort casino client by complementing their paid media buys with advertorial content in highly relevant outlets to accurately convey their desired positioning.

Owned Publicity

Owned publicity refers to the content and platforms that a company or individual owns and controls, typically their own website, blog, social media channels, or email newsletters.

  • Examples of this type are website articles; blog posts; social media posts; videos; podcasts; whitepapers and case studies; and CRM.
  • Why is it valuable?
    • 1:1 contact. It lets brands directly communicate with their target audience without going through media gatekeepers, and provides full control over messaging.
    • Insights. It generates data and insights into audience demographics, interests and behaviors that can inform content and product development.
    • SEO. It boosts search engine discoverability through fresh, optimized content.
    • Complete control. It provides full creative control over visuals, messaging and aesthetics, ensuring they are completely on-brand.
  • How we optimize it: Owned media lets us craft and share stories on our clients' terms while providing value in service of business goals. The control and insights it provides makes owned publicity a highly strategic asset. Recently we helped a large experience-based client launch a rebrand of their company. As part of this effort, we initiated positioning statements within executive white papers and blog posts to help their customer base better understand the new look and image.

It's critical that messaging and brand attributes are consistently reflected across paid, earned, and owned channels, so they can't operate in silos. At AGM, we provide an integrated approach combining earned, paid, and owned publicity strategies to optimize brand exposure and maximize impact. We leverage our agency's multi-disciplinary strengths to support each effort, which results in a more holistic and impactful campaign by enhancing brand visibility, credibility and engagement. Want to know more about how we can put our publicity solutions to work for you? Get in touch.

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