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The Often Forgotten Tribe of Marketers Who Amplify Your Brand

The often forgotten tribe of marketers who amplify your brand

As businesses and brands we are used to paying for attention. TV, Radio and Print.

We call the “Ad” agency and ask them to create the “TV Ad” that is created, published and paid for. Stop paying and the ad and attention stops.

The PR agency is contacted and we brief them on the the latest public relations worthy news event that we think the world needs to hear about. The journalist is tracked down and convinced that the story is worth publishing. The successful result? We get some column inches in a national newspaper. That is lining the bin tomorrow. We pay the PR company for their time and influence.

It’s the way things have been done for decades. Businesses are the paying advertisers and newspaper companies and TV networks are the publishers.

But there is a different way and a source of free attention. There is an often forgotten tribe of marketers who can amplify your brand for free.

The media landscape today is a very different beast and we need to learn how to play with it.

Become the publisher

In 2011, Coca Cola decided to move from agency driven “creative excellence” in marketing to “content excellence“. They decided to become the publisher. Content excellence starts with creating your own content. it could be videos, images or blog posts.

Their goal was to create content so contagious it couldn’t be controlled and create buzz and virality online.

They flipped the old model.

The challenge

The flipping of the “old model” and becoming the “publisher” is a challenge. The typical company doesn’t have writers, video producers or editors. It is an internal and cultural challenge and outside the management’s comfort zone to do something different from the norm.

Paying for attention the old way is easy. it is the way things have always been done. The brand has the systems, processes and key staff to do what always has been done.

Changing is painful.

The hidden tribe of publishers

Becoming the publisher is one thing but the true power of taking control of your own content and publishing lies in what follows. When the online crowd shares and even creates more brand related content. It is the hidden and often forgotten publishers. It is your fans, advocates and customers.

So social media has provided crowd-sourced marketing for free. What is that worth?

The scale of this will surprise you!

Octoly.com have tracked and measured “user generated content” (often termed “UGC”) on YouTube around and about brands. The numbers are a revelation.

  • 95% of the views on YouTube about “Call of Duty” were not created or owned by the brand but created by users. 95% of the 9.3 billion in total views were earned. That’s 8.84 billion views just from fan created and shared content.
  • 99% of the views about “Lego” are user created. Of the 8 billion in total views 7.92 billion views just from passionate advocates who created and shared content about the Lego brand.
  • 99% of the views on YouTube about Apple were not bought or “owned” by the brand. 99% of the 4.2 billion in total views were fan created. That’s 4.16 billion views just from fan created and shared content.

The brands started the conversations by publishing. The online fans amplified it.

You cannot buy that level of attention.

Earned Media vs paid media Infographic

Infographic source: Octoly.com

Where is this going?

The savvy brands are taking control of their marketing by becoming the publishers. The technology, the platforms and the social networks now exist to reach your audience without always paying. New media has given businesses the means to amplify their content and marketing and engage with their own audience.

Red Bull hardly spends a cent on mainstream advertising but instead spends it on “publishing” and lets the the crowd do the heavy lifting. Distributing, co-creating and sharing the brand globally.

Let’s have a closer look at the specific numbers for some brands that get content marketing and are receiving free marketing through user generated content.

Coca Cola

In the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods”  category (FMCG) Coca Cola is the standout with 24.2 million social actions.

Coca Cola and earned Media

Victoria’s Secret

In the fashion category Vctoria’s Secret’s fans and “other publishers” produce 92 times more videos than the brand itself.

Victorias secret and earned media


GoPro, the high definition mobile video camera manufacturer in the “Tech” category shows that earning free media attention isn’t just for the big boys. Creators produce 125 times more videos than the Official YouTube channel.

GoPro and earned Media

The social web has provided a “new” and alternate way to get attention. Are you ready to become a “publisher”? Are you creating content and building your social networks to amplify that content?

What about you?

Are you paying or are you working on “earning attention”. How many articles and views are created by your customers about your brand?

Look forward to hearing your stories and insights in the comments below.



Want to learn how to create contagious content that begs to be shared? Do you want to grow your social networks on Twitter and Facebook?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

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Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Henley Wing

    “99% of the views on YouTube about Apple were not bought or “owned” by the brand. 99% of the 4.2 billion in total views were fan created.”

    Wow.. I did not know that. Shows how powerful creating that tribe is. How do you do this if you’re in a boring industry though, Jeff?

    • Content needs to be created not about the brand but around the brand. The type of content depends on the industry.

  • It provides proof of the power of content to start, carry and continue the conversation. Create content and amplify.

  • venkyiyer58

    Ow. This post has my head buzzing.

  • Jeff, I left a comment about this article yesterday but it seems to have disappeared. I wonder, is there a blip in the system or just a matter of not liking the comment?

    • Hi Debbie I did approve it yesterday. There was a small glitch while moderating yesterday. Somehow it seems have disappeared into the ether. Submit it again and I will approve it. 🙂

  • This is amazing! Thank you for sharing, Jeff. This trend is not going away – the media outlets want ‘content’ from many experts in their respective industries. Content contributors that are able to create a following of loyal fans and potential customers will succeed.

  • Great article Jeff! Media is changing – the way we create it and the way we consume it. Most successful businesses – big and small – are now generating their own content, and building brand reputation through creative online methods.

    I think it’s key that companies understand the power (and brand influence) of their consumers. It may seem like ‘giving up’ your message control, but PR/ marketers and businesses need to embrace engagement strategies like UGC and interactive content to actually spread the reach of your brand.