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Everything You Need to Know About Earned Media Management

Cision is a proud sponsor of the PRSA 2019 International Conference in San Diego on Oct. 20-22.

Are you looking to track your earned media in a way that’s easier and more efficient? Enter earned media management — the system we use to think about, track and measure earned media at Cision.  

Here are four, key steps to understanding and maximizing earned media management:

Step 1: Target 

You need to know your audience, inside and out. If you don’t know your audience, then that’s definitely the place to start. Learn who they are, where they like to spend their time, and who they talk and listen to.

It’s that last aspect — who they talk and listen to — that’s important for brands who want to build relationships with influencers. The people your target audience engages with regularly, and goes to for advice and entertainment, are the people you want to consider building relationships with.

The key is determining not only who your target audience finds influential, but also how much of that content they’re actually consuming. This will tell you who is the most influential with that audience, and who it would make the most sense to build out relationships with.  

The mapping out of this process is called an influencer graph.  

Step 2: Engage  

Now that you’ve identified not only your target audience but also who influences them, you need to make sure you’re engaging them. Don’t think in terms of episodic press releases, but instead of an always-on campaign lifecycle that targets and engages differently at different times.  

Decide which types of media will work best at different stages, test it and work from the results. You can continuously refine your always-on campaign lifecycle as you learn more and as your target audience and their influencers inevitably shift, grow and change.  

Step 3: Measure 

That testing needs a way to show what’s working and what’s not. For that, you need to put together a tech stack that’s within your team’s budget, while hopefully tapping into the latest and greatest technology has to offer.

In putting this together, consider you’ll need to be able to:  

  • Interface with MarTech and AdTech platforms: You need to be able to track behavior across the internet, including everything from Google analytics to marketing automation systems and more.    
  • Use tech with pixel tracking: You need to know which specific earned media articles audience members consumed.    
  • Integrate media monitoring: You’ve got to go beyond clips to the actual number of people who saw an article.   
  • Impact reports for audience: Tap into demographic and firmographic data that really dives into who your audience is.   
  • Impact reports for web conversions: Learn the answer to what do people do on your website after they consume earned media. 

Don’t let this step feel overwhelming; integration will break down how to approach it.  

Step 4: Integrate  

We have a more in-depth piece on how you can integrate your earned media into your paid and owned, but the quick version is that you need to take stock of three things: your people, your processes and your technology.

Do an audit and decide what is working where it is right now, what you could move for maximum effect and what you need to cut out. You might discover in your technology and process audit, for example, that you’re still paying too much money for an old tool no one uses anymore, and you can reallocate that budget to something more useful for your team.  

Choose the technology that will help streamline your processes and give your people back their time so they can tackle more high-level projects and fewer mundane tasks.  

We’ve also found that an earned media management strategy works best when you designate a leader, a strategist, a storyteller and an analyst. This can be any combination that works with your particular team. Smaller teams might have someone take on more than one role (storyteller and strategist, for example) while bigger teams may be able to have more than one person sharing a role like analyst that can be broken down into more distinct parts.  

Why earned media management?  

Now that you’ve seen, briefly, how to apply this strategy to the work that your team does you might be wondering why it’s worth all of the work. The short answer is that when done well, this strategy lets you prove the full value of the hard work you and your team are already doing to the rest of the business.  

You know how much value the work you do provides to your company. Make sure they know it, too.  


Sarah A. Parker is the content marketing manager for Cision, where she can be found planning, producing and curating content across channels. She previously managed content and social media for several brands, in addition to working as a freelance writer. Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks where she is happy to talk all things integrated PR and social media strategy, and mastiffs.

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