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How Do I Use Licensed Content in my Marketing?

Published on 8/4/2016 by Brittni Castilaw

Content marketers work tirelessly to create and execute an integrated content marketing strategy. To be most effective, the campaign should include a healthy mix of owned, paid and earned media. The first two components are easy, but generating earned media takes considerable time and energy.

When marketers finally accomplish their earned media objectives, it is natural to take a breath. It’s a big accomplishment, but you shouldn’t stop there. Ask yourself this:

Do you promote your case studies, white papers, blog posts and videos?

Of course you do. You pour so much effort into creating these assets that you stretch them, repurpose them, and promote them across every channel that makes sense.

The same should be true for your earned media. Just like owned content, you need to plan and execute a strategy to promote it.

But how?

Research

Research

Competitive Research

Chances are, you have done a great deal of in-depth research on your competitors. But have you documented how they leverage their earned media? If not, you need to find out.

Understanding how your competitors promote this content to their audience (and yours, too) will help you create a similar plan for your own earned media.

Focus Groups

Do you conduct focus groups for your ad campaigns, packaging or product concepts? Consider implementing some earned media options within your focus group sessions.

Simply present two similar ad creatives, with one having a pull quote from your recent earned media. Solicit first impressions, reactions, and opinions from your group to decide if the quote option would improve the effectiveness of your campaign.

Plan

plan

Current Marketing Plan

Your current marketing plan will identify strategies, mediums, and tactics to achieve your overall marketing objectives. Many will include ad campaigns, social media content plans, and event sponsorships. Be sure to incorporate your earned media content into these campaigns for an integrated approach.

Add an award badge or a pull quote to your ad creatives, put together a GIF of your earned media to share on social media, and consider promoting your earned media at tradeshows by distributing reprints to attendees.

Find New Opportunities 

Let’s say your efforts produce some earned media late in the year. Chances are, your marketing plan is already in full swing and you have begun planning for the next year. But you can’t waste the opportunity - put together a “mini” plan to market your recent earned media. We like to call these 1-sheeters and they do really well at outlining objectives, strategy and execution. Consider new ways to promote your 3rd party mentions like:

  • Website Content
  • Product Packaging
  • Sales Collateral
  • Press Releases
  • Videos
  • Commercials
  • Ad Campaigns
  • SEM Campaigns
  • In-Store Displays
  • Business Cards
  • Email Campaigns
  • Email Signatures
  • Company Swag

Budgeting

This is one aspect of using earned media that marketers sometimes overlook. In order to promote media coverage of your product or service, you generally have to license the use of it.

Why?

Marketers who align their brands with media outlets like Good Housekeeping, Mashable or Women’s Health know that it boosts revenue. Using anyone else’s brand to promote your products and services isn’t free. And there are usually limitations and costs associated with aligning your brand with another.

Bottom line - the licensing fees are miniscule compared to the return you will generate. 

Measure

Measure

A/B Testing

A/B tests are very useful for several different marketing channels, and your earned media is no different. If you have used sitelinks in your Adwords campaign to promote your recent mention, conduct an A/B test for those ads – one with the earned media sitelink and one without.

The same goes for your ad campaigns. I prefer to run A/B tests on digital banner ads, as these are easier to measure and can be swapped out quickly. Keep the look and feel similar, with the earned media content as the only variable that changes to get the most accurate statistics. 

ROI

Ask any marketer and they will rank the measurement of ROI as one of their top three headaches. Execs want to see it and most marketers don’t understand how to calculate returns accurately.  

But when it comes to earned media, it’s a bit easier. When you place a digital banner ad promoting a specific product with a pull quote and notice a spike in purchases, that is proof that your investment was a good one!

Earned media can’t be left on the back burner. Put together a strategy and see the dramatic, positive impact it can have on your brand. Be sure to approach your earned media like every other piece of content you create. Invest in it. Promote it. Then watch it generate revenue.