10 Killer Resources for Earned Media on YouTube

This post is the second in a series providing resources for understanding owned media, earned media, and paid media. For a comprehensive YouTube strategy, it is important to understand and leverage all three. An earned media strategy is a bit harder to crack when compared to owned or paid, given that you have to earn it, and you have little control over the final form it takes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t master it.

To help get you started with your earned media strategy on YouTube, we put together this handy resource guide. Plus, be sure to subscribe to our blog for all the latest strategy tips on this essential part of video marketing.

1.  Nielsen: Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance

earned media youtube resources

In 2012, Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey had this to report:

“Ninety-two 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—an increase of 18 percent since 2007…”

You can download the full report right here.  Although it doesn’t explicitly mention YouTube, it’s a great starting point for convincing anyone, including yourself perhaps, that earned media is an essential component of any marketing strategy.


2.  Ad Age: Five Reasons You Need to Focus on Earned Media

“Today, it’s earned media impressions that are building brands and paving the way for an open dialogue between companies and their customers. If you’ve been ignoring this trend, then you’re missing a critical piece of the revenue puzzle.”

Hint: stop ignoring this trend and read this article already.


3.  ZEFR’s Beyond Reviews: The 12 Types of Videos Already Influencing Your Consumers [eBook]

Beyond Reviews - Haul Preview - ZEFR
a page from Beyond Reviews about “haul” videos

A recent survey found that 53% of shoppers are influenced by YouTube videos.  The question though is this: what do those videos actually look like? Are they simply your standard “product reviews”?

Our eBook, Beyond Reviews, reveals that earned media on YouTube is about so much more than just product reviews. Fans are creating all kinds of videos that influence shoppers, such as “hauls”, “empties”, and “unboxings”,  and we created a guide to help you find and understand all of them.

Get the free eBook right here.


4.  Adweek: Fans Crush Brands When it Comes to YouTube [Infographic]

earned media youtube resources
Click here to see the full infographic

ZEFR Co-founder Zach James wrote a byline in Adweek, and had this to say about earned media:

“Consumers are no longer just a passive audience; they are now passionate fans who are actively participating in driving value for brands. And while there’s been lots of talk about brands acting as publishers, we’re increasingly finding that fans drive more value by creating videos about the brands and products that they love.”

Check out the full article for examples of brands with a ton of earned media on YouTube.


5.  140 Proof: Earned Media Isn’t Free

earned media youtube resources

If you’re interested in the debate over what the word “earned media” really means, or where the stuff originates, we’ve got three good reads for you. First, from 140 Proof:

“There is no free media. That may fly in the face of the “paid vs. earned” dichotomy that has become a big part of digital strategy in the marketing world.  But it’s a mistaken dichotomy.  You’re still paying for what you earn, just in different ways.”

Agree or disagree? Follow their argument here.


6.  Mashable: Is This Article Earned Media? Depends Where You Got it From

Here’s the second article to follow the debate, and it digs in to how the term has shifted over time. After tracing the first appearance of the term in Newsweek from 1988, the author uncovers how earned media has impacted marketing strategies:

“…All of this means that earned media is more important than it ever was. It’s not just a PR strategy anymore. Now it’s a marketing strategy that informs the way ads and other forms of a brand’s communication are structured.”


7.  Ad Age: If You’re Paying for It, It’s Not Earned Media

With the third piece of our little “earned media debate” series,  we’re reminded of what it truly takes for brands to generate earned media:

“Earning the trust and respect of our audience should remain paramount, regardless of how difficult that objective is. And this is something that can’t be bought. It can only be won through a customer’s experience with us.”


8.  ZEFR’s Anatomy of a Fan [eBook]

ZEFR Anatomy of a Fan eBook

When most people hear the phrase “fans on YouTube,” the first images to pop in their heads are likely fans of music, movies, TV shows, comic books… fans of any and all “media.” Then, ZEFR’s Anatomy of a Fan introduced people to the notion that fandoms aren’t limited to the media world. Brands also have their fans, and many of the same rules apply. And wherever you find fans, you will also find earned media:

“When fan communities produce their own content, brands call it ‘earned media.’ Fans have no hesitation about publishing that content online. Nowhere is it more important than on YouTube, where brands are being talked about, shared, and incorporated into the identities of communities on a massive scale and at a viral pace.”


9.  Ad Age: Why Every Agency Needs an Earned Media Director

As you can probably tell from this list, Ad Age has been on top of all things “earned media” for quite sometime now. Thus, it’s worth considering their advice. Here’s what they recommend for a job description when hiring an Earned Media Director:

“An EMD’s job is to guide the creation and execution of earned media campaigns – and then provide clear metrics showing the impact these earned media campaigns have on brand reach, sales, and marketing ROI.”


10. ZEFR Blog: Brands on YouTube, and What Drives Earned Media Creation?

earned media

photo by Chris Metcalf

Last but not least, a “two resources for the price of one” deal to close this out. First, when it comes to our blog posts, the Brands on YouTube series is filled with examples of how earned media played a role in various brands’ YouTube strategy. Starbucks in particular has a story that might surprise you.

Second, if you want to dig deep and discover why earned media is created in the first place, check out what this post has to offer:

“Finding the answer to this question for a particular brand requires an understanding of the many keywords and terms fans actually use to describe their videos, along with the various contexts and motivations that lie behind these creations. Once you understand these sources of influence and motivation, the vast YouTube ecosystem becomes more manageable.”


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