Doug SimonDouglas Simon
Are you able to integrate all of your cloud based analytics tools into one easy to use platform? What if a solution could be found? While at the recent PRSA International Conference, I broached the idea of creating a platform to integrate all of your platforms with a number of attendees. Many agreed that it could generate a flood of VC funding. I even made a faux announcement from the stage.

During PRSA, a number of venerable brands made significant announcements about cloud based solutions, integrated platforms and the like. I get the value of both big data and a scalable business model based on a technology solution, but I worry that this drive to VC backed millions could mean communicators are losing our focus.

The recent presidential campaign should be a wake-up call for communicators about where to focus our attention. The power to earn media and drive earned coverage with social media propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. He was outspent and at a data disadvantage yet still won a historic victory. A front page article in the Wall Street Journal found ad agencies are rethinking how they compile and use data and anticipate a slowdown in campaigns. Isn’t it time for PR people to turn our attention back to how to earn media in this social media world?

Doug SimonVideo: Doug Simon discusses platform integration at the recent PRSA International Conference.

In the Brand Video Communications Report, D S Simon Media recently completed with Talkwalker, 77 percent of agency communicators said it is harder than it used to be to earn media. 88 percent of in-house teams and 97 percent of agency people said increasing earned media will improve ROI.  It’s more important than ever as the silos between earned, shared, owned and paid and even between public relations, marketing and advertising have broken down. We call it PRketing.

So what should you do? First, use your social media channels to drive earned coverage. Come up with creative ideas. Create video content that can be used to pitch story ideas to journalists and promote your industry experts as thought leaders. Our research has found 81 percent of online media will actually look to social media sites for story ideas. This approach needs to feed your social media eco-system.

Second, use your earned media coverage to drive social. Target specific media outlets for coverage as part of your plan so the link to that content can be repurposed to share and drive media results. Use video. Our Media Influencers Report found 71 percent of online journalists will actually use outside-produced video content. 80 percent of them will use it in its entirety, giving you message control. 

Third, program your content marketing like a network television executive. Create different channels with different content and distribution strategies. Include thought leadership, media content for broadcast and social, how-to’s, behind-the-scenes and events.

Still not convinced about the power of earned media? For a media tour we did for an insurance industry non-profit about preparing for and recovering from a natural disaster, we compared the paid online performance of a segment we earned for the client on WNBC digital in New York and a narrative video that was developed for social media as part of the campaign. The earned segment outperformed the narrative piece online by 450 percent.

Let’s not lose focus. We have to put new effort into creating great stories that benefit our organization and our clients and be willing to change how we capture media attention and generate results. Services such as media tours have to be reinvented to include social content to pitch the story, feed the social media eco-system and target content to different dayparts and cross-platform outlets. Digital press conferences, custom content packages and video press junkets need to be integrated to broaden reach. We might have to start thinking of our earned outreach as PRketing Media Tours or PRMTs.

If we do, we might even be able to review the great results and how our business has benefited on a shiny new platform. That’s something we should all invest in.


Douglas Simon is CEO of D S Simon Media.