Branded Content and the Future of Social Media
I had the pleasure of chatting with Maggie Fox at the Media Relations Summit in New York City last week. She spoke on the session about the future of social media and in this interview Maggie explains how branded content and the intersection paid and earned media is a growing trend she is seeing.
Great minds think alike, Maggie! Branded content is one of the trends in my Future of PR report
Using paid media to extend the reach of your news content is often a controversial subject in PR. Making the most of the online and social media opportunities to leverage great content produced by customers or bloggers makes good PR sense.
Suppose a blogger or video blogger produces content around a remarkable brand or product experience and their blog only reaches ten thousand people. You could use paid social media and online news services to deliver it to other people who might be interested, but won’t ever see that particular blog post. This kind of content has a high trust-factor and sites like digg and foursquare are offering paid content marketing opportunities now. You can also use services like Outbrain and Newsforce to place the content on major news sites. And that audience is growing by leaps and bounds. Newspaper websites had their highest ever number of visitors in Q1 of this year.
Its definitely time to add some new ideas and tools to our traditional PR and media relations skill set.
Update: You might also find this post about the long tail of the media from Geoff Livingston relevant to this idea.
In Chapter Four of Now Is Gone, we talk about this “ping pong match” between traditional and new media outlets. From the draft material in June of 2007:
One great way to promote your new media initiative remains traditional media, who often use well-respected blogs as sources or even the subject of stories… [Social media attention] drives information into the spotlight forcing traditional media to pay attention – or look like they’ve missed the news, and most importantly the conversation. Blogs [can be] a more effective way of reaching and inspiring traditional media to react than most PR professionals and wire services combined. Ping pong matches demonstrate that weighting one tool by its actual total community and eyeball impact fails. As Seth Godin said in Meatball Sundae, “It doesn’t matter if the socially generated earned media only gets one percent of the hoped for attention if it’s the right one percent.”
However, it doesn’t hurt to make it available to the other 99 percent either.