My post last month suggesting a development of the Forrester POE (Paid, Owned, Earned) media model in favour of a 4 part BEOS content model – Bought, Earned, Owned, Shared – has found some critics….
Where we can all agree is that whatever definitions we create, the ‘boundaries’ are blurring and this is generating real confusion. And we are all trying to make sense of a fast-changing scene – busily taking snapshots/instagrams of a moving stream…on which we are afloat!
However, there is a key difference of opinion out there around the definitions of earned versus social content.
I never much liked the ‘earned ‘ label. However it has become quite widely accepted, over a decade or so, to use earned to describe traditional non-paid media content: filtered, selected and editorialised according to defined rules and codes by a ‘closed shop’ of professional journalists. And usually controlled and distributed via traditional media brands – like ABC, the San Jose Mercury, the FT or AdAge.
By this definition, third party supplied content needs to ‘earn’ the right to be published – by conforming to rules and standards set by these media brands and their journalists – or it must be paid for. As I have suggested before, it is by applying such rules (in the interests of creating good quality content) that trusted Western world media brands emerged from the mire of the 18th century mass publishing free-for-all often called ‘Grubbe Street’ (Grubbe = open sewer).
And while print distribution continues to decline, the importance and influence of this type of content on people’s opinions and behaviour is still critical. Indeed the model can thrive online. The UK’s Daily Mail for example, a mid-market tabloid, has seen readership of its print edition decline to about 2 million daily in the UK while its online edition now reaches an audited 100 million international users monthly. Pretty impressive. Other traditional media brands like the New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian etc have also had success by essentially replicating their controlled/earned content model online. And that’s quite apart from those who have created online media brands from scratch using the traditional model, eg Huffington Post, Mashable et al.
Meanwhile, shared media content represents the New Grubbe Street – it can be created by anyone: expert and amateur, customers, competitors, friends, foes, informed, ignorant, benign, malicious etc.
In its purest form, therefore, shared media content acknowledges no filters, no rules, no standards. This can create powerful, exciting and valuable content but ‘earned’ it is not.