As new media channels continue to emerge at such a fast pace, consumers are getting product information from more and more sources. Some remain traditional news sources like newspaper or TV, yet specialty and peer sources are becoming more important. How important? In the new world of editorial marketing, unbiased, third-party endorsement can be three to seven times more valuable than paid advertising. And with today’s analytics, we can even be more specific in our goals.

In the Web 2.0 landscape, editorial marketing dovetails perfectly into the world of social media. Earned media can come from a variety of sources: professional news sources, specialty blogs, user-generated social media sites. The new goal is to use this influencer media to promote a product or service. The key is to push customers to social media to engage in a dialogue about the product/service benefits. The combination of product promotion by a credible source, followed by peer engagement, produces increased likelihood for acceptance.

We know an editorial marketing strategy is more than the “regularly scheduled press release” method. It requires ongoing partnerships with a variety of media to introduce the product/service and educate them. We must fashion a compelling story about the product/service and engage consumers to build loyalty.

The successful strategy must include:

* Identification of the business opportunity or challenge the campaign addresses. The more specific, the better.
* A campaign goal. The more measurable, the more successful it will be (product awareness, event attendance, friend building, relationship management, sales conversion).
* Alignment of goals with the marketing strategy, creative campaign and messaging to reach the audience.
* Implementation of proper editorial engagement and consumer response tactics
* Analysis and appropriate adjustment

Success from editorial marketing can be determined in myriad fashions. The goal may be a huge profile in a major association publication. It might be a simple as 20 event mentions in various area blogs. Or a coordinated deployment of message across traditional and social media channels, as in the case of a major client of ours.

Last year, we launched a new creative platform for the $100 million company using a unique tagline.

We recruited the company’s fans to be a part of the message development through a series of open “casting calls.”  Through carefully timed release and follow-up with local broadcast and newspaper writers, the story found its way to the front page of the Features section of the Courier-Journal and on 5:30p, 6p and 11p network-affiliate newscasts.  On-premise marketing materials at area locations directed potential participants to a micro-site for details, times and location.  The result was more than 200 people waited in line to tell their story on the two designated shoot days.

The segments gathered were immediately uploaded to a YouTube channel developed specifically for the campaign, allowing participants to share their segments with friends and family.  The YouTube site received move than 3,000 views in the week following.


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