Earning Your Media (continued)

I spent some time this morning putting together the first draft of my talk on Tuesday at the Ad Age Digital conference. It builds on what I laid out in my post yesterday under the same title.

This is still very much a work in progress and will change as I collect some data, videos, images, and more comments and suggestions. So fire away in the comments please.

Note that the videos don't play in the slideshare version I am embedding here. Also, some of the text is not legible unless you go full screen mode (click on the second icon in from the right on the bottom of the player).

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Adrian Palacios

    Fred,Thanks for putting the slides up.I think one of the aspects that needs to be added to this idea of earned media is the *position* from which some people are outputting their social media activity.I’ll be completely honest: one of the reasons I have your RSS feed in Google Reader and follow you on Twitter is because you’re one of the principal partners for a VC firm that currently has Twitter, Tumblr, Etsy, etc., in their portfolio… not to mention Delicious, Feedburner and Tacoda (with, it would appear, rather successful sales to Yahoo!, Google and AOL, respectively). This is usually the same litmus test for most of the blogs to which I subscribe. Are they experienced? Do they have a vested interest in what they’re talking about? And are their posts, comments, etc., useful to me (I can’t stand the touchy-feely opining/blathering on most social media blogs)?As far as KogiBBQ, notice that you also said “KogiBBQ was the creation of Mark Manguera and a team of food professionals who come out of some top restaurants.” The people behind the truck are already experienced, have a vested interest, and use social media to be useful for their customers.One commentor in the other post mentioned Shake Shack. The reason I follow that place is because of the experience… but also the mouth-watering burgers at a great price created by none other than Danny Meyer.Sorry, I just realized I don’t have a solid conclusion here… I think it has to do with where you said earlier: “Earned media has been around forever. But it has now gotten a lot easier, thanks to the Internet and social media, to earn media for your brand, product, or self.” Easier? I don’t know… seems like there’s still a lot of hard work behind it :-

    1. fredwilson

      Great commentIs there a specific slide I should add to make your point?I am all ears. I want this to be a great talk.

      1. Adrian Palacios

        Hmmmm… I don’t know what you could add to your deck. I just felt like the previous post was working off the thesis that social media makes it “easier” to earn media… but, for me personally, it is what those people are already doing *outside* of universe of social media that helps them actually earn my attention. You, Matt Cutts, Avinash Kaushik… the Treats Truck that roams NYC and City Bakery. These are all people/businesses that are already doing something great, and, utilizing that respect, leverage social media to help extend their brand (and perhaps ROI?).Maybe I’m trying to say is that if you’re not working your butt off in the offline world I don’t care *what* you tell me in the online world. You’re right: you have to *earn* that media. And the best social media strategy will not create that value for you. People are getting better at seeing through these facades.On a separate note, as someone who works specifically in interactive advertising, I would love to see some of these startups extend their technologies to help me in my business and I think I would get clients who are willing to pay for that service…. which it appears you sort of address in this deck. I mentioned previously on this blog an idea I had of Meebo extending their service so that I could serve banner ads with chat capabilities that are linked directly to sales staff (http://brandingme.tumblr.co…. I talked to Meebo and basically had someone tell me “Sorry, we’re not headed that direction.” My firm is small and we don’t have clients with the ability to pay for us creating these types of technologies so we’re left without the ability to use the Internet to the fullest for our clients. I think VC’s and your startups could help immensely.

        1. fredwilson

          I should tell the disqus guys to come see youThey are very interesting in helping marketers

          1. Adrian Palacios

            I would love the opportunity, but I don’t know what I could offer them 🙁 My firm advertises in a (very) niche market…

          2. obscurelyfamous

            Your comment was already a good read, and I’d love chat and get your thoughts sometime. I think your experience here out in the wild and your thoughts would be helpful regardless of how niche your market is. I’m daniel at disqus.

          3. Adrian Palacios

            Daniel, that would be great. You can email me or hit me up on chat @ [email protected] when you have a moment. Thanks 🙂

  2. bsaitz

    real good deck, and funny.. what about measurement? accountability? how do you know if you earned it or not?

    1. fredwilson

      HmmTwitter is working on thatSo it bit.lyI wonder if that will be a distraction though

      1. Scott27

        I recently attended an interesting presentation at a law firm in Boston, where Rishi Dean of Visible Measures presented on a similar topic. A couple of key points he highlighted were (i) the ultimate goal of “web advertisers” is to capture market share from corporation television marketing budgets, (ii) the biggest impediment to such corporate buyers is understanding and measuring the effectiveness of the advertisement, (iii) at some level, web-based advertisers have too much data, which makes it more complex to understand – example: how many mouse overs should count as a click versus a “view” versus someone watching part of a video etc…, (iv) a level of standardization in industry verticals might solve this – example: within automotive, it’s unlikely that consumers will click through and buy a car, but may be driven to see a particular message and spend time on an advertising page, engaged with the brand.You might also be interested to know the panel selected Boxee as the potentially most disruptive technology on the market related to video advertising and video media.Finally, the other participants were from Bain Capital Venture, Akamai, and ScanScout, so apologies if I attribute something to Rishi that should have been to one of the other panelists.Hope your presentation went well!-Scott27

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks for sharing this with me. Smart people on that panel!

  3. Adarsh Pallian

    Thanks for the slideshow… slide #7 by david armano sums it up pretty well – “actual people required to engage participants; start by listening then engaging”.For example, I launched a twitter grouping/embedding startup called tweetizen and glam media launched a startup called tinker about 6 weeks later. Both our startups do the same thing… although, tweetizen has a leg up with more features. Anyways, my point was that, tinker is heavily funded by glam, have tons of PR money and got featured on almost every mainstream website/blog the day they launched. Tweetizen on the other hand, is all guerilla marketing. Twitter feedback from our users has given us ideas we didn’t even think of (like using OAuth for login, which no one else does), to connecting us to bloggers like mashable and readwriteweb who’ve then written positive stuff about us, even went to the extent to compare us to tinker and proclaim us the twinner :-)You can never get this kind of interaction with paid media, and it literally takes you all day to establish connections, interacting, listening, responding. Even this very comment is part of the effort…

    1. fredwilson

      Any idea how you are doing against tinker in terms of users?

      1. Adarsh Pallian

        No exact numbers… but tinker has a media ad in all 90+ blogs glam owns which gives them a huge advantage. We keep track of all tweetizen conversations here: http://bitly.com/f2I and all tinker conversations here: http://bitly.com/3LJcpb so we’re on top of things and interact with them if need be.

  4. Marty Butler

    GREAT!We’ve been engaged in this for several years as ex ‘ad guys’. We started and agency in Austin and produce documentary film content among other things. Brand Films is our product. We’ve recently produced a film for Jason’s Deli in close coordination with their public relations dept. The story was picked up most recently in NY Times. Washington Post, USA today and loads of blogs have also picked it up. They’ve also been picked the 2nd healthiest chain by Health Magazine. Not a single piece of media purchased. The film is focused on Jason’s landmark decision to rid their food of corn syrup.We help clients earn the media by telling their news worthy stories through film. The primary challenge is that brands must drive innovation into their operations so their activity is newsworthy. A new deep fried burrito from Taco Bell isn’t going to make it into the NY Times – so companies must do interesting things that address the issues – health, environment, etc etc… be relevant or go away.thx

    1. fredwilson

      Awesome. I’ll have to stop by and say hi the next time I am in Austin

      1. Marty Butler

        please do. One of our good friends Ben Kweller turned us on to you. Been enjoying the follow…

        1. fredwilson

          Well then it’s a must visitI’m following Ben’s eating habits in Japan right now and enjoying it immensely

          1. Marty Butler

            1…. 2…. 3….We can pop over to Uchi. Loved watching the We Live IN Public trailer. Please do let us know when you are headed our way.

  5. MikeDuda

    Earning your media is a great subject matter, especially if it becomes accountability specific.Both marketers and agencies are in need of greater accountability. It transcends ROI and when optimal, both clients and agencies reap the rewards, good or bad.The labor-based-fee model (agencies) and overall focus on cost versus value (marketers) has caused a general erosion of true partnership. There are traces of true performance-based relationships, especially arrangements where an agency is paid based on CPA (allowable or acquisition), pure sales (DR model) or skin in the game (lower fee/sweat equity for some % of ownership.) Far the exceptions than the rules.Agencies have much deeper capabilities than the general business world gives credit for. Some examples to refer (but note they are examples rather than representations of the respective agency’s biz model):* Bernstein Rein, a Kansas City agency. A very traditional agency, but leveraged it’s Wal-Mart experience to become a retailer in a sense. Driven new and traditional revenue. http://bit.ly/tKaGe* Crispin Porter + Bogusky has been a much-watched Agency and struck a truly interesting deal with Haggar…though I dont suspect it’s a live-happily-ever-after ending. http://bit.ly/11Mohl* Anomaly (anomalynyc.com) has heavily PR’d its performance/co-owner business model, though many have questioned how well this has done due to limited transparency on successes.(Deutsch has done some things but given I work there I won’t grandstand and in truth, it’s an area we would hardly claim to have perfected.)What’s exciting is that this presentation seems to provoke on a digital way of life, MUCH more than the “plumbing” aspects of digital communications which typifies most digital conferences. It would be great for marketers and agencies to grasp the rapid evolution of the Now Web (as Betaworks would say) and retool things at the operational level, infusing marketing deeper throughout client organizations who so often really aren’t as consumer-centric as they claim. Then agencies can impact clients in a much deeper way on the brand experience level, not just the brand communications and open themselves up for a more VC-like economics. An then – walaa – performance-based compensation could become more commonplace, something that will increase the talent, the rewards and the respect for the discipline.So that’s a longwinded way of saying I like it and think the more discussion of accountability in marketing the better. Good luck.

  6. Kim Garretson

    Suggestion for Slide 20: Zeus Jones in Minneapolis, http://zeusjones.com/about/I don’t work at ZJ, but they are friends of mine. They recently won Microsoft’s PhizzPop competition at SXSW, and some bloggers have said VCs have approached them about their winning business model.Suggestion for technology that starts to merge buying/earning media, ThinkVine.com, agent-based modeling for media mix planning (a client of mine). (DFJ Portage)

    1. fredwilson

      AwesomeSuggestion taken

      1. adrianho

        Thanks for the mention Kim!@Fred, couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’d argue you don’t go far enough. We never suggest paid media for our clients. In fact we price our services against the media cost for 1 insertion in a national newspaper. Good luck with your presentation.

  7. Scott

    Great deck!Quick question – what are the tickers for the stock charts on slide 4? Those are powerful images but may have more impact if the context of the security is noted.

    1. fredwilson

      They are indexesThe S&P 500 and S&P indexes for the euromarket and the non japan asian market

  8. annemai

    Fred, enjoyed your first draft. Political consultants have been marrying paid and earned media for many years. Tony Schwartz, creator of the Johnson “Daisy commercial” which ran once but was picked up by all the news and re-run by them many times (btw, it was an intentional strategy). That commercial has been generally credited with costing Goldwater the election (he was ahead at the time in the polls). Big corporations are only now (last 5 years) learning to influence earned media more effectively given rise of blogs, social media, etc. without having to rely on traditional media to pick up the story.In terms of your slides re: creative costs vs. media spend, I assume you will have access to agency folks to give you better numbers. Typically big company — e.g. Apple, Amex, GE — that spends $30MM or more on traditional media also spends $1MM plus on creative. The more channels, the higher the creative — with TV creative being the most expensive — especially if you’re using celebrity talent or buying musical rights. Finally, in general, creative costs are higher for new brands/products vs. established brands — unless established brand is code blue because of some horrific PR issue — e.g., AIG.Wish I could hear you on tuesday; I’m sure it’ll be great!

    1. fredwilson

      I was thinking of using $25mm for the media buy and $1mm for the creative cost and calling it TV advertisingDo you think that’s a good guesstimate?

      1. annemai

        Yes, that works with clarification of just TV.Love all these comments and hope that Ben Straley posts links to those studies.

  9. @scottrcrawford


  10. Mike Gero

    Fred:You talk about many of the components of taking advantage of earned media vs traditional campaigns – agencies, ad networks, platforms. How about the monitoring side of the equation? There’s some brief mention of measurement, accountability and how do you know what you’ve earned below – to me that’s where social media monitoring tools, like Radian6, fit in. These tools let you measure and compile analytics on earned media, across the various social networks it occurs – twitter, blogs/blog comments, YouTube, Flickr,…Isn’t monitoring and reporting on these efforts, then adjusting to maximize impact and ROI, as important as getting them out there in the first place?

    1. fredwilson

      This is the second comment about measurement and accountability and I’m thinking it means I need a slide on that

      1. Mike Gero

        Yes, I was referring to the brief comment on it above, but making the point that there’s more to say about it. Plenty of agencies and brands have deployed and are successfully using these tools.Good luck with your talk – it’s sure to stimulate some good conversation.

  11. RacerRick

    re what brandingme said…You have to have offer something “remarkable” (seth godin) FIRST in order to take advantage of earned media.People don’t talk about you, visit your flickr page, follow you on twitter, stand in line for an hour if your tacos suck. At least they won’t do it more than once and won’t tell their friends.

    1. fredwilson

      Does careerbuilder offer something remarkable?That monk-e-mail campaign worked so well it has been re-upped for a third straight year

      1. RacerRick

        Not their actual service… but the monk thing seems to be.

  12. Ben Straley

    Great topic. One of the issues not addressed directly in your deck is the impact earned media has on site visits and conversion rates. With respect to the former, on average one out of five (20%) site visits come from links shared via earned media. Microsoft and MTV did a study in 2007 (Circuits of Cool) that found that among the thousands of 14-24 yos they surveyed, 88% of the links they followed were sent to them by friends. They’re not clicking on ads or even using search results as much as older demos. With respect to the conversion rates, we find a pretty consistent 2-4x lift in conversion rates for visitors that arrive on our customers’ sites by way of shared links. Razorfish published a study a couple of months ago that pegged the conversion lift from shared links at 4x.If you play with those numbers a bit (% of site traffic from earned media and the earned media lift on conversion rate), you quickly see that it makes a lot of sense to increase spend on creative that’s likely to get passed around and talked about. You already have a slide that alludes to how spend is going to shift in this way which is great.While it’s certainly possible to “reach” more unique visitors via paid media brute force, earned media is where the juice is for online marketing these days. That’s great news for creative departments and agencies and it leads to more uncertainty for media planning and buying groups.

    1. fredwilson

      Wow!Can you point me to any of these studies?I see the same thing in my refer logs and so do our portfolio companies

  13. Simon Edhouse

    Fred, I am an admirer of yours, and many of the ideas you have developed/promoted on this blog, particularly discussions around Seth Goldstein’s ‘myware’ concept… So, today I looked through your draft “earning your media” presentation, and (as a reformed ex-advertising guy myself) I did actually feel quite uncomfortable about the euphemistic use of the word “earned” in this context… So (below) this was my comment on David Armano’s blog, about “bought” vs “earned” digital media… and I think its relevant to your presentation as you feature David’s concept prominently.- – – – – – – – – -David,”Earned Media”, the way you describe it, is one small step away from paying bloggers to write positive news about companies/brands, which is all too close to what this “Professional Monopoly Player”(according to his bio) is doing to Twitter: http://www.twittertrafficma… …and all together these are not too big a step away from the core issues behind the 1950’s Payola scandal in the US radio industry.Your definition of the difference between ‘buying’ and ‘earning’ digital media is:”…instead of paying directly for a placement or making arrangements with a partner—you are paying for the time and resources of people who will investigate what’s being said about your brand and engage on your behalf.You know… It’s precisely at the point when you are “paying them” to “engage on your behalf” that the distinction becomes meaningless. All you are really saying is that, you can pay people to subvert, (although in apparently authentic ways) what should essentially be authentic conversations.”Earned” then, just becomes a euphemism for the illusion that you are paying for… its manipulative and therefore represents a poor solution for the kind of landscape that for instance Clay Shirky is discussing in his presentation on TED Talks: on the ‘increased leverage of loosley coordinated groups’ http://tinyurl.com/6g7dpfThe final point I would make is that in a properly functioning ‘attention economy’ trust matters and this kind of B.S. will be counter-productive for brands and advertisers.http://bit.ly/3eT6ys- – – – – – – – – –

    1. fredwilson

      I’m looking for a short word to compete with “paid”Got any ideas for a better one?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        ‘gift’ …?the raw potency of this approach is what strikes fear into many traditionalists, i suspect – you/your product/service will live or die based on elements out of your control – ie, the reception within the target demographic.a traditional multi million dollar ad campaign may have very little tangible impact but creates a nice warm fuzzy feeling for brand awareness, etc and is (relatively) pretty easy to execute. by contrast, the ‘gift media’ (ie, the inverse of paid) approach has to be creative, innovative and be prepared to risk (and rapidly learn from) exposure to negative as well as positive results.this means i believe it is best viewed as an iterative, real-time process.fascinating stuff.

      2. Morgan Warstler

        Pass On Media?Whether it is your friends or bloggers, the eyeball is obtained thru each person believing they will positively viewed by the recipient for passing it on.This is in fact the larger issue of brand advertising. Good brand ads, should seek to convince even the non-buyers to have a positive impression of the buyers. When people buy brands they are literally investing their own money, their own selves in the ad campaign. They are paying for all the other non-buyers to KNOW what kind of person they are.

      3. petekazanjy

        I like “Shared Media” for media that has been passed along by an individual. That’s what we call it in-house.The act of sharing does two things:1. it targets the media using demographic/targeting metadata that pretty much *only* lives in the brain of the user. My act of reading Fred’s blog means so many things about me which would be amazingly difficult to roll up into a Facebook profile or broken down in discrete database tables.2. It puts the personal stamp of approval on the media in question.Those two things combine to increase relevance. I am more likely to click a link passed by Fred (stamp of approval) *and* it’s more likely to be interesting to me (I read Fred for a reason), which in turns makes it more likely for me to pass it along, etc.”Shared media” is that which has been passed along.”Shareable media” is that which is designed, from the get-go, to be shared, and this understanding impacts its design, its delivery plan, and more.Pete KazanjyDirector, Product Marketing750 Industries

        1. fredwilson

          ExcellentShared media is social media

    2. scott crawford

      yes. community.in context.

    3. Scott Johnson

      Earned media is more cost effective because it takes actual hard work by employees of the company. I notice that Fred Wilson has no ghost writer. So, the executive teams at companies will actually have to do more than delegate/outsource to earn their media, or it looks (and often is) payola. Problem is, many are very poor mass communicators, and the ones that are good at it don’t scale very well.Perhaps we can thus conclude that the ability to “earn” media is the most important skill an executive can develop in the age of social media.

      1. fredwilson

        Yes, and they are not teaching it at business school to my knowledge

  14. John Prendergast

    Fred,The slides are great content. A couple of thoughts as I looked through the deck.1) I think there is a cost that you don’t list on slides 14 and 15 that is particularly material for smaller campaigns and acute in social media – Execution. While it’s not a big deal in traditional media, social media requires a relatively large people and time commitment to genuinely engage a community. It’s a problem many are working on but no one I’m aware of has it tamed – but I’m not aware of everyone.2) I understand the reason you’re juxtaposing the media trends and the stock market and while visually compelling, I would be careful not to overdo the comparison. In slide 3 you’re talking about aggregate spending in business segment versus the stock market in slide 4 , which as Warren Buffet has often said, is a voting machine that reflects hopes and fears as much or more than fundamentals at any given time. I think it can work as an illustrative visual but I wouldn’t loop back on slide 23 when it seems you’re trying to make a point about the future.Wish I could be there to see it delivered, I’m sure it’ll be great.

    1. fredwilson

      Great commentsI’ll think about how to capture them in the presentation

  15. Amber Naslund

    Hi Fred,This looks to be a super interesting presentation; sorry I’ll miss it live. Definitely agree with Mike and others that you could benefit by tucking in a slide that talks to how you quantify and qualify the impact of truly earned media. Would be happy to chat with you anytime about some of the metrics and measurements that we often discuss as indicators of positive impact from social communications.Best wishes for a great presentation!Cheers,Amber NaslundDirector of Community | Radian6@AmberCadabra | [email protected]

    1. fredwilson

      AmberCan you send me an email with some ideas for that slide?I gather you are in this business of measurementYou can email me by clicking on the contact link on the upper right of my blogfred

  16. bradburnham

    I understand Simon’s concern that “earned” media could be interpreted as pay for post, which is especially nasty because it is wrapping “paid” media in the guise of authentic blog commentary. But I think earned is still the right term. You earn media by offering something fun, novel or interesting, that people want to pass along to their friends. The media consumers who pass along the media are each making an individual decision, and even though you may be able to fool all of the people some of the time, people are good judges of authenticity. They are not that easily manipulated.So stick with “earned media” but make it clear that you are earning the retweet, reblog, or link, one media consumer at a time, and it is those consumer/distributors who make the decision to pass along the message. There is no way you can pay all of them.

    1. fredwilson

      There’s a suggestion in here that you actually earn audience not mediaWhich I think is probably accurate at some level

      1. bradburnham

        Yes but you can earn audience with great content and or programming. This is not just about getting one person to pay attention. The leverage is created when that one person promotes you to three friends, or when one person chooses to have a relationship with your product as they do when the choose to follow the Korean BBQ truck on Twitter. I think the term audience may be broadening to encompass this kind of relationship, but most people still think of audience as passive media consumers. Here we are talking about engagement with and promotion of a product or service.

      2. GrishaRemake

        Another suggestion: “earned attention”People’s attention is an internet currency.

        1. fredwilson

          That’s good

    2. Simon Edhouse

      Brad, thanks for the (qualified) positive feedback… the issue for me is partly the term “earned” because its basically just ‘spin’ on a grass-roots aspect of the mass-participation revolution. If we could rest assured that it would always produce the obvious benefits of the KogiBBQ tweets, and not become a hyper-spam-agent, then great!However, The irresistible thing about Twitter for marketers is the WOM ‘recommendation’ quotient… Remember the bullish valuation of good WOM as a $300 CPM (ref here http://tinyurl.com/cgmq6v and here http://tinyurl.com/d9d464) This is the kind of topic that would make Madison Ave Execs whistle on the way to work again, especially as Martin Sorrell knows that his “Frenemy” Google has been blind-sided by Twitter-Search, with some pundits saying that Google now HAS to buy them, because they can never catch Twitter in this game now.But finally, (and as Fred’s keynote has the the big ‘I’ word in the title, “Innovation”)… I would like to remind all you Ad-guys or VC-guys, that ‘earned-media’ conceived and applied as it appears to be taking shape, (as another way to fish for prospects) apart from the risk of it becoming ‘outed’ as un-authentic by the constituency it is chasing, or sullied by spammers… can at best only be an ‘incremental-innovation’ for Advertising. – Why? Because its motive is still basically to try to stuff more people into the front end of the marketing-funnel, rather than genuinely addressing the real needs of customers in this new participatory era.

      1. fredwilson

        It’s not surprising that google spends a fortune fighting spam and twitter is quickly headed in that direction too

  17. Benjamin Masse

    Hi,In the past few years, we’ve applied recommendation engine technology to better personalize ad serving. 1, 2, and 3 can thus be automated. However, the idea is not to personalize the ad per say, but provide the end user with desired / useful content (free music in our case). This content can then be sponsored / branded.I’m not sure if this model really fits in “earned media”, but is certainly not regular “paid media”. In this example, the creative budget is content acquisition (the sponsored content).This effort both creates a new channel for targeted, entertainment advertising, as well as captures shifts in industry marketing expense from traditional to digital advertising, and mass- to direct marketing.As it is for earned media, this approach requires a participation from the user. We thus need to present the ad widget in a compelling way to make sure people engage with it. To do so, we can certainly cross our fingers and broadcast the widget in all networks, but it’s certainly better to do 1, 2, 3 is our rolling-out strategy. But instead of doing it on a per-brand basis, once it is out there, it is much easier to change sponsors by keeping the experience similar.And we don’t have a problem of creative inventory with millions of available content to be sponsored.As for how VC can help, the main challenge is to connect advertisers to people and vice-versa. Some agencies are properly geared towards this, but any endeavor challenges current processes (technology (widgets), ad networks (to provide compelling experience), publishers, agencies, advertisers, and content owners (in our case)).Earned / personalized ads are part of the user’s experience, not simply a box shown to the user while visit a destination. This is a big challenge.Maybe VC could create a special funds for publishers to take some risks testing new ad widgets (until eCPM reaches targets – the time required to earn / personalize the advertisement)?B.

  18. Simon Edhouse

    I’ll let the legendary David Ogilvy have the last word:”Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”Enjoy the conference, wish I was there…

  19. Jordan Mitchell

    Whether you call it earned media, earned audience, viral marketing, or whatever, I just don’t see your point as being anything new — hasn’t everyone seen case studies? Don’t most people in media these days receive links via email, read blog posts, know what twitter is, and are generally aware of how powerful earned media can be?Everyone wants to do it, but he hard part is doing it right! So it feels like you’d benefit by heading into that territory quickly and making the audience think a little. To what do you attribute *your* success with your blog? How would you measure the cost and ROI? What are the patterns you see when you look at successful campaigns (they’re usually either useful, funny or controversial). What’s the right process to utilize in building/testing an earned media campaign? How do you test? When is the right time to place media buys to complement your earned media?I’m sure you’ll engage the audience with your presentation skills Fred, but to me the content feels like a retread.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s good feedback JordanClearly I’ve got more work to do on it

  20. ryan

    Fred,I actually consulted for oddcast a few years back. I always felt and still do, there was an opportunity to engage celebrities and social media influencers to use the platform. There’s an ad based business there. Example, most advertisers can’t do a formal endorsement deal with say, kim kardashian. However, virtual kim kardashian, very doalble. Micro ad buys around her avatar…It’s a mini enorsement deal with spotrunner qualities.Anyway, I’m exiting my post as global director of entertainment marketing at one of the top 3 footwear/ apparel brands. I’d been advocating for a while that earned media is the new black! Print is dead and ad spends in print are declining rapidly, outside of a few really special books like monocle for example. Earned media is not only less expensive than traditional pr and adv but more effective. it allows brands to stay closer to the trend and do things right now, rather than long lead ad buys in magazines that no one reads anyway. i have many examples of how i created earned media that blew away the results of an ad, print or tv, but i’m not at liberty to post here. but i think you’d be surprised how many brands still are in the dark about how or why they should convert to an earned media strategy.

  21. Chris Wilson

    To address the notion that this “earned media” discussion is nothing new – which is legit – I think it does make sense to emphasize that *operationalizing* a pursuit of earned media is what needs to be happening these days. That means setting goals, identifying tactics, establishing measurement frameworks, executing, and then optimizing. There is *NO* school anywhere teaching how to do this.To that end, your presentation could potentially benefit from a discussion of the purchase funnel as providing the context for strategies and tactics. For example, if your goal is to drive brand *awareness*, then what you’re trying to *earn* is vastly different than what KogiBBQ (all the way at the bottom of the purchase funnel – looking to get the actual purchase) is trying to earn. It’s all about what success (conversion) means, and that *should* be different depending upon where you are with respect to the funnel.As far as paid versus earned budgets, the real takeaway from slide 2 is not so much what you have in slide 3 but that traditional media is declining and internet media is increasing. (Actually, it’s hard to reconcile that slide with what we’re actually seeing in terms of our clients’ ad mix and what they’re spending on print and TV – both are falling off significantly.) The reason, of course, is that Internet advertising – particularly PPC – is very measurable, so you can easily calculate ROI. It turns out that “earned” media is also somewhat measurable, although less so than PPC.Do some searching on “Brand Surveillance.” This is one way to measure earned media. I can tell you that if you can find a company that can democratize (i.e. make available to small entities) brand surveillance and make it understandable and easy to use, you should get your checkbook out. That’s a winner. Right now, it’s very complex to set up and it costs a lot, which leaves it to the big players out there.Last point – you might consider mentioning that what you earn isn’t always good. In our brand surveillance work, it is common for us to find situations where our clients are actually getting a lot of negative sentiment in the UGC/earned media world. We then initiate SEO campaigns designed to push the negative off the radar (i.e. the first couple of pages of search results) and replace it with positive. Creepy? Sure. Effective. Bet your ass. The point is that operationalizing an earned media initiative means working toward positive sentiment while defending against negative sentiment. It takes both if you have an even moderately sized brand.Hope that helps. I’m happy to provide more detail if you need it.

    1. fredwilson

      This is all great ChrisI am starting to realize that I am going to be talking to an audience full of experts like and you and I am going to be the least experienced person in the room about some of this stuffoy

      1. Chris Wilson

        I’m just a low-level ninja. There are shoguns in this game. But…The caveat is your friend. Something along the lines of – “Though I know many of you in this room know this stuff inside and out – far more than I – the fact is that very few brands have embraced it. That’s curious. Something must be missing. So the question is what kinds of companies, tools, skillsets, etc. will emerge to usher in the future of earned media as a standard program component for marketers of all sizes? That’s what I as a venture capitalist care about.”Or something like that. The spotlight then ends up where it ought to – on your expertise as a VC in reading tea leaves and ruminating on what they might mean. You provide enough about earned media to establish/clarify what you’re talking about and then you move onto the role of VCs in the space. That’s where *you’re* the shogun.Incidentally, the questions – “what’s missing?” or “why is this not a standard part of marketing programs?” might be good ones to ask. All marketers with any sense know they need to be operating on the social side of things, but yet they mostly don’t. I suspect the answers are the usual answers – resistance to change, organizational silos, and political infighting – however, as I stated before, it could just be a tools thing. Brand surveillance is awesome, but hardly anyone can figure out how to do it or afford it. Just throwing that out there…I saw your talk at web 2.0 in NYC in the fall, so I know you’ll do fine. This crowd-sourced vetting process will ensure that.

        1. fredwilson

          You were right ChrisThe crowd liked the VC stuff better

      2. MikeDuda

        Don’t think as such.The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. These conferences tend to be regurgitations, so what you don’t know makes you a perfect keynote. In fact, it’s the only thing I plan on seeing.For most of the people in the room, the future of their craft is dependent on thinking differently in (drumroll) a more accountable manner. Good luck. Looking forward to it.

  22. Bryan Thatcher

    I think your slide 14 and 15 are pretty close to reality, typical traditional being maybe 2-7% of the entire buy (I could never quite understand this). The earned, I would think that the media buy would still be higher, just not in the whacked proportion of the traditional.I also think that Earned Media platforms like slideshare and Empressr (oh btw, Empressr does video/audio embedded in slides) are great places to run earned media campaigns

    1. fredwilson

      I hadn’t thought of the slide sharing sites as earned media platformsI guess I am using it that way!

  23. Morgan Warstler

    I’d like to see my company on slide 20. We provide micro-insertion (mini-buys), editing, transcoding to local spot cable (TV) from a web front end. Our daily routine is talking to the agencies showing them the future of highly social TV ads.Our first partnership is with the major media socialnet, allowing brands to let both fans and local advertisers co-brand themselves and their causes inside TV ad campaigns. It is a cooperative ad exchange for TV. Imagine a national campaign where every ad is local and features local participants.How do we get on slide 20?

    1. fredwilson

      What is your company?

      1. Morgan Warstler

        SaysMe.TVhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008…We started in politics. And after that success, in January the cablers approved us for branded and local.

        1. fredwilson

          I was not able to get this into my deck MorganI was hoping to work more on the deck on Monday but events overtook me and I had to run with what I had

          1. Morgan Warstler

            Its quite alright. It looks like we should first have pitched your firm for cash.

  24. hypermark

    First off, I think that earned media is a great term, as those who do it via blogging, tweeting, commenting, facebooking, microsite building and the like know that it’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing like a display ad buy. It’s more akin to a garden that must be seeded, watered, pruned and cultivated.Specific to your slide 7, I have a construct for explaining how (one element of) social media works that I call Breadcrumbs and Conversations.It specifically deals with the relationship between messages, like comments or tweets, and the payloads that call home (like URLs or widgets) when a user clicks; namely, I am arguing that the reach of a good post (optimally as part of an orchestrated communications strategy) is a by-product of having a good breadcrumbing discipline for driving engagement around organic discussions as they occur out on the web that you see your brand’s narrative being a logical answer or call back for.I raise this point for two reasons. One is that the debate over free versus paid, in-house versus outsourced is subordinate to authenticity, engagement/entertainment and utility. Two is that for a lot of agencies, the IT is still pretty murky qualitatively, and there is something to be said for segmenting out for them a continuum or matrixing of approaches they might undertake.In any event, if interested, here is a link to the post (a breadcrumb example if there ever was one):Social Media – It’s About Breadcrumbs and Conversationshttp://bit.ly/VW8EwCheers,Mark

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the link MarkI had to punt on updating the deck mid-day Monday as events overtook meBut this feedback was so helpful in the talk I gavethanks

      1. hypermark

        No worries, and thanks for the note, Fred. Toughest part is figuring outwhat NOT to talk about, as a less initiated audience quickly goes intoinformation overload.

  25. Ro Gupta

    Some good suggestions. May also be worth noting, Fred, that the FTC is apparently considering more trad’l standards for social media campaigns: http://bit.ly/kCVdZ. Granted this appears specifically targeted towards ‘paid earned media,’ if that makes any sense — e.g. pay-per-review bloggers. Reaction so far from mktrs has not surprisingly been negative, but in the long term I think this could help legitimize the concept of systematically tapping into these earned media channels in the eyes of the mainstream/old guard… Let’s hope, though, that the Feds can distinguish between apples and oranges when trying to apply some of the rules from the past.

  26. CoryS

    Bit of in-house, non-agency marketing perspective here. This is all about problem – solution, right? Problems with earned media: *interaction and engagement requires qualified staffing, we are cutting staff in big companies atm*buying traditional media is planned, then executed = predictable, earned is assumed to be a messier process*earned media, may not extend fast enough to mass audiences for large audience adoption*many agencies do not do both earned and traditional, hence when we pick media, our existing traditional houses get the jump ball*we [in house marketing groups] know the trend is coming, and also see the gap on what to use to cross over, e.g. the way Salesforce stepped in*along with point 1 = we are struggling with budgets and while ‘new’ is interesting, cost cutting / effectiveness better be part of the equation, don’t push new untested stuff at us as we’re not college kids willing to try anything for freeNow, is slide 22 my answer to the list above?

  27. Carl Rahn Griffith

    word media.

  28. Michael Downing

    Great Preso Fred,A couple of quick questions:1. Screen #2 “Global Ad Spend” > do we mean…how much total Ad revenue generated by each medium?2. You mention the dynamic in advertising of Creative VS. Media Buying….in my agency experience the likely percentage difference between the two is typically 8:1 to 15:1 in favor of media buying.But more important than the percentage difference…..the relationships between the two is forever changing….today the lines are blurring between who does creative and “buying” exclusively.As an example, new vertically targeted networks, establish great “reach” for their clients (brands) but they more and more are also developing cutting edge creative/integrated campaigns that achieve the objectives of their client brands…this is really changing fast and new ideas are forming all the time….potentially displacing the typical agency – media buyer dynamic.M

    1. fredwilson

      I believe slide 2 is about how much is spent on media in each sector each year

  29. Daniel Runion

    The slide w/ the flow chart of Paid v Earned media made me wonder “Are Community Managers replacing Account Managers?”I think so.

    1. fredwilson

      Great insight