Q4 is officially upon is, and that can mean many things to many people – to the average person, it means firming up their family time plans for the upcoming holidays, enjoying seasonal activities, and to many, the joys of shopping (and shopping, and more shopping) aided by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday gifting season.
But to brands and their respective agencies, this time of year has a much different meaning. Q4 can be a make-or-break time fraught with stress for growing brands who are under pressure from stakeholders, investors and leadership to deliver on their lofty sales aspirations. When a company’s bread-and-butter is a product that has seasonal or gifting appeal, meaning a heavy percentage of their e-commerce and retail revenue is made during this 2-to-3-month period, the critical need to hit the mark becomes even greater.
All of this is widely understood, but in a saturated marketplace, it’s easier said than done. What can be done to deliver the type of media attention and coverage needed to truly move the needle and correlate with tangible growth in brand awareness and sales?
Navigating the Ever-Changing Media Landscape
It’s no secret that the overall media landscape has undergone a dramatic shift in structure over the last handful of years. As media houses and publications attempt to navigate this and stay afloat, newspapers have shuttered print editions completely or moved to a full online subscription platform, industry-leading publications have consolidated (think Men’s Journal absorbing Men’s Fitness), and journalists have begun seeing their work syndicate across several different media outlets owned by one conglomerate as a way to occupy space, capping the amount of “new” content published.
One major introduction to the media world that has quickly evolved into a core factor in alleviating media attrition is affiliate marketing. For those new to the term, affiliate marketing is a tactic where two or more entities partner to benefit from the web traffic or sale of an item. The brand or partner in turn reaps the reward of a sale via incentivized exposure of the sales channel, such as Amazon, and the sales channel earns a commission by promoting and selling those products – a profit sharing model that has become essential to the sustainability of several media corporations.
As a result of this, we’ve seen a seismic shift in editorial content and focus because the affiliate partnership is a constant priority. Taking things even further, some media outlets have moved to a partially or even fully “paid” model – meaning a large percentage, or all, of the content on their website is rooted in keeping the affiliate partnership front and center. If this makes you feel like your reading time is blurring lines with your online shopping time, you’re not alone.
Cracking the Code
All that said, it’s as important as ever for a brand to have a presence in top-tier media outlets, especially with the online sales process becoming accelerated on the consumer’s end. But what’s a brand to do?
Here at GreenRoom, we’re fortunate to staff a team of media mavens with a keenly sophisticated understanding of the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing and its overlap with traditional public relations. As we approach the holiday season, our team is deploying several creative tactics to garner essential Holiday Gift Guide coverage for our clients the “2018 Way.”
Several publications are employing media professionals who are tasked with the sole responsibility of overseeing and managing affiliate partner content. We’ve fostered tight-knit relationships with those contacts. We’re already constantly in conversation with e-commerce teams about Holiday 2018 and have been for months, educating them about our client’s products and the retail channels at which they can be purchased. Lastly, in tandem with our incredible digital and social teams, we’re working with influencers and popular YouTube personalities to generate original brand content as part of our core programming for clients, staying ahead of the evolving media curve while still helping our brands achieve their goals for consumer awareness and traffic.
We’re able to turn what for some agencies would be a dead-end (“no luck this year, their gift guide is all affiliate content!”) into new opportunities for our client. Whether it’s a giveaway, paid partnership, or simply finding the right contact, we pride ourselves on being more in-the-know than any agency and capable of trendspotting what’s next in the marketplace before it even happens. Paired with an aggressive approach to making inroads with publications and understanding the innerworkings of how they are handling their upcoming content, we find it to be a recipe for success.
The next several weeks are a critical time for brands with any hope of securing the holiday media coverage they dream of. Why not find out what it’s like to have an agency that can take that stress off of your hands?