Most things worth studying, or doing professionally for that matter, have dichotomies. They can be broken down, their differences expressed, and their similarities debated.
Media is no different, and people are sometimes surprised that we too, have a dichotomy. Not between fake and real, though the point could be made, and not even between good and bad. No, it’s something much less subjective: Earned media, paid media, and owned media.
The 4media offices have been the site of much discussion lately about these types, as a way of trying to discern what sort of tactics are best when pitching. It’s a discussion that has proven productive, because it has shown us something pretty cool. Pitching for earned media, pitching paid media, and even considering owned media have one common factor: Research.
Why Is Research the Silver Bullet?
Research is a media pitcher’s silver bullet because it exists as a foundation upon which any story can stand. It’s an example in all instances of the way that facts, especially interesting or surprising ones, can be a huge part of getting your foot in the door with a story of any sort.
Earned Media, A Strong Topic, and a Research Angle
Earned media is to most, the Holy Grail. To successfully book earned media means literally that you earned it—you worked for it, and got it on the strength of a great topic, or excellent timing, or maybe even famous talent. But do you know what lies at the foundation of most of those things? It’s still research.
Without a research angle, stations will be much less likely to simply pick up a story that has any sort of branding attached to it. But with a statistic that’s moving, earned media becomes possible. We ran a tour recently that looked at American’s grocery-buying habits, and was founded on the strength of a statistic that
Paid Media: Don’t Make it So Obvious
Paid media is, as you may have imagined, coverage that you pay for. People have acted incredulously in the past at the suggestion that paid media may need a research angle --
it’s being paid for either way. But that view sort of misses the point of securing coverage in the first place. Even if coverage is paid for, it should appear organic—otherwise you’re not making news! And at the base of making news, is information people actually need. That information is best generated by research.
Owned Media: Is There a Place for Research?
Owned media is media that you own, which is to say, that you are in control of. This blog is a piece of owned media. Our social channels are owned media. And once again, research is the basis of what makes this sort of media valuable to us. The common denominator is the same: People are vested in stories that come from a point of proof. Our most-liked tweets and LinkedIn posts share that same sentiment, where the presentation of information is more than an opinion, but a discussion founded on fact. That’s how coverage should be built, and it’s exactly why research is our first pillar. It props up the others, too.
Stats to Take Home to Mom:
In case you still require convincing, I figure there’s not much more I can say. But what I can do is present you with some research angles. To finish this week’s consideration, here are Atomik Research’s top statistics to take home to mom. Try reading one of these and telling me you don’t want to know more…
- 35% of respondents said being their own boss was the number one motivator in opening a small business in 2018, followed by the belief in the power of their own product.
- 69% of those surveyed said they can imagine a future in which we no longer use cash, and instead pay only via smart technologies like cellphones and wearable tech.
- Americans trying to determine if they can eat a piece of leftover food use the "smell test" to decide if it's still safe to eat.
- 62% of Americans believe the first few months of 2017 have been more emotionally and mentally taxing than previous years.
- 87% of respondents keep their leftovers for up to 5 days before disposing of them.
Every one of these stats either added to a story for a client, or was the very reason the story itself was pitched. Each one was meaningful, both on its own (as evidenced) and as a building block for a greater narrative.
Want to perform a survey, and pitch media whether earned, paid or your very own? Call us. We’d be happy to help.
TJ Stallbaumer is 4media Group's Account Coordinator in Media and Research, where he focuses on delivering meaningful, click-worthy and research-driven content for clients and their brands. TJ worked in television news, where he was an online content editor and social media manager in a top-100 media market. TJ also spent time as a freelance longform journalist, and has had pieces featured in publications across Northwest Arkansas ranging in scope from 'social media's subliminal priming in political discussions' to a series detailing the area's best motorcycle roads. TJ has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and is an NWA native living in Rogers.