All a healthcare or wellness entrepreneur in Houston has to do to understand how lucrative a little positive press can be is to consider the mountains of cash raked in by Dr. Oz last year. You don’t have to be a media star to benefit from a little coverage, of course. Media exposure can put a new medical practice, gym, or consulting business on the map, generating leads and driving brand awareness. That’s good business, but most of you reading this probably already know that. What you might not know, however, is that there are different kinds of media exposure: owned media, paid media, and earned media.
Never heard of them? No problem! Creative8 creates and runs successful media campaigns for Houston-area businesses every day, and we can answer any questions you may have about media campaign strategy. Here’s the breakdown:
Owned media includes the channels your business controls, such as your website, blog, and social media accounts.
Paid media includes the channels you must pay to advertise for you, such as television, radio, display ads, search ads, and sponsorships.
Earned media is what marketers call the phenomenon when consumers become the channel. This includes press coverage, word of mouth, buzz, and viral content.
Owned media and paid media are usually within your grasp if you’ve got the time, effort, and money necessary to make them happen. Earned media is more elusive. Generating buzz isn’t always as simple as creating a bunch of content or writing a check. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing, however: According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Meanwhile, consumer trust in paid and owned media continues to decline—call it the “fake news” effect.
So, how can a healthcare or wellness business increase its earned media mentions? It all starts with an earned media strategy. Here are three ways to leverage your current marketing initiatives to increase your potential for earned media coverage and reduce your cost per lead:
1. Encourage patients and customers to leave recommendations and reviews.
If your favorite patient or customer wanted to sing your praises online, where would they go? Does he or she have somewhere to share their review? By the same token, if consumers are sharing their opinions of your product online or through social media, is your marketing team aware of where these reviews get posted? Consumers trust peer reviews over nearly any kind of marketing. Making it easy to post reviews about your business online allows you to re-post and re-use your good reviews in all of your marketing campaigns as well as keep in tune with the differentiators that your best customers respond to.
2. Cultivate editorial content.
All over Houston, media outlets have deadlines to meet. Writers and producers must come up with fresh content constantly, and if you can give them a good story angle, you can get some great, free exposure for your business. Some easy ideas that you might try today include applying for (and winning) regional and national awards highlighting your best selling points, drafting press releases detailing a new product or how a patient benefitted from your services, and partnering with a local charity to serve a community need. One or two story ideas isn’t enough—stay consistent with your efforts!
3. Publish optimized, shareable content.
Here at Creative8, clients ask us all the time how to go viral. There’s no easy answer to that question, but getting started is pretty straightforward: Start producing shareable content. This can take the form of blogs, white-papers, videos, and social media posts. Make sure that this content is optimized for search by focusing on hot topics, common questions, and interesting stories. Simply maintaining a blog and a Facebook page isn’t enough anymore, especially if you want to cultivate some earned buzz for your business. It’s time to get creative and produce content that people can really use and want to share.
Fostering earned media exposure is a challenge that usually requires a long-term plan to achieve. The return on investment can be great, however, lowering your cost per lead and giving you a broad, permanent digital presence online. If your earned media strategy and execution could use some help, call Creative8 today at 713-322-6841. We’ll conduct a free audit of all your marketing initiatives and discuss how you can better achieve your objectives in Houston, Texas, and beyond!