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If Content Isn't King-- Who is?

Social media a gift to communication professionals. Not only does it allow for the dissemination of information, but also the intake of ideas, thoughts, and news. Social media has changed over the years with the addition of new platforms, new guidelines, and increased popularity. What used to be a pass time for young college students has become a means of interaction and reaching consumers. Not only is this new tool relevant, it’s essential in today’s society. “Pew data found that 20% of social media users say they’ve modified their stance on social or political issues because of material they saw on social media, and 17% say social media helped change their views about specific (political) candidates” (Anderson Social Media Causes Some Users to Rethink Their Views on an Issue). Not only does social media inform, but it also shapes consumers perspective. To assume that social media is irrelevant, would be naïve.

How do brands connect with consumers on social? They create content that is engaging and inspires the user to dig deeper into the brand. In one of my favorite books, Spin Sucks, Gini Dietrich identifies how to create content and apply them to your brand. Creating content follows fours media types: paid, earned, shared and owned.

  • Earned Media. Earned media is what you know as either publicity or media relations. It’s getting your name in print. Having a newspaper or trade publication write about you. Appearing on the noon news to talk about your product. It’s what the PR industry is typically known for, because it’s one of the few tangible things done.

  • Paid Media. Paid media, in this case, doesn’t refer to big, fancy commercials and highly creative print ads. On the contrary, paid media for a PR program is social media advertising, sponsored content, and email marketing.

  • Shared Media. Shared media is also known as social media. It’s evolving as well, and continues to build beyond just marketing or customer service teams using it. Organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communications internally and externally.

  • Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog. You control the messaging and tell the story in a way you want it told.

In my personal job, I’ve had the hard realization that “content is no longer king” due to the constant change in social media platform algorithms. So what content attracts people? Influencer based marketing. “Influencer Marketing is like a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of the celebrity endorsement and placing it into a modern-day content-driven marketing campaign. The main difference is that the results of the campaign are usually collaborations between brands and influencers” (What is Influencer Marketing? An in Depth Look at Marketing's Next Big Thing). At my job as External Communication Manager for Accuride International, I’ve seen the importance of influencer-based marketing. In order to break into niche communities, I need to have an “in”. An influencer provides that “in” and makes the introduction for the company. In many ways I view it as an exclusive cocktail party. Not only do you need someone to get you an initiation, but also someone who will introduce you to all the important people and others you can connect with. Having an influencer give a shout-out on a social platform is the invitation to the cocktail party. With my job, I’ve partnered with different influencers to get into those hard to reach markets. It’s paid off for me and my company many times. Influencer marketing is the future of social media outreach in business.

Anderson, Monica. “Social Media Causes Some Users to Rethink Their Views on an Issue.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 7 Nov. 2016,

“What Is Influencer Marketing? An in Depth Look at Marketing's Next Big Thing.” Influencer Marketing Hub,

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