Learn all about earned media and how it can help your business succeed in this comprehensive guide from The Go-to-Market Dictionary.
If you're a marketer or business owner, you've likely heard the term "earned media" thrown around. But what exactly is it, and why does it matter? In this article, we'll give you a comprehensive guide to earned media, including its definition, types, benefits, and strategies for earning it. Let's dive in.
Earned media, also known as "free media," is any publicity or exposure a brand receives that it hasn't paid for. This can include social media mentions, online reviews, press coverage, and influencer marketing. Unlike paid and owned media, earned media is more difficult to control, as it's generated by third-party sources. However, it's often more valuable than paid media, as it comes with increased credibility and trust from the audience.
To put it simply, earned media is the result of positive word-of-mouth about your brand. It can come in the form of online mentions, reviews, shares, or press coverage. The importance of earned media lies in the fact that it's generated by third-party sources, meaning it's more trustworthy and authentic than traditional advertising. In fact, 92% of consumers trust earned media when making purchasing decisions, compared to just 50% who trust ads.
Earned media can also be more cost-effective than paid media, as it doesn't require a direct investment from the brand. Instead, it relies on the brand's reputation and the quality of its products or services to generate positive buzz and exposure. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, sales.
Before we dive into the types of earned media, let's quickly differentiate it from paid and owned media. Paid media refers to any form of advertising that a brand pays for, such as PPC ads or sponsored content. Owned media, on the other hand, describes the content and channels that a brand owns and controls, such as a website or social media profiles. Earned media is different, as it's created by third-party sources without payment or ownership by the brand.
While paid and owned media can be effective in their own ways, earned media is often considered the most valuable due to its authenticity and trustworthiness. Consumers are more likely to engage with and trust content that comes from a third-party source, as opposed to content that is directly created or paid for by a brand.
Now that we've established what earned media is and why it's important, let's take a closer look at some of the different types of earned media:
By leveraging these different types of earned media, brands can increase their exposure, build trust and credibility, and ultimately, drive sales and growth.
Now that we've covered the basics of earned media, let's explore the different types of earned media you can earn as a brand.
Social media is a prime platform for earned media. When a user tags your brand or shares your content on social media, it can result in increased visibility and engagement. Encouraging user-generated content can also lead to more social media mentions and a stronger social media presence.
For example, if you're a clothing brand, encouraging customers to share photos of themselves wearing your clothes and using a branded hashtag can lead to increased social media mentions and a stronger sense of community among your customers.
Additionally, social media mentions can also come from influencers or celebrities who use or endorse your brand. This kind of earned media can lead to increased exposure and credibility.
Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing can also generate earned media. When a satisfied customer recommends your brand to a friend or family member, it can result in increased brand awareness and trust.
One way to encourage word-of-mouth marketing is to offer referral incentives to customers who refer their friends to your brand. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and a stronger customer base.
Another way to generate word-of-mouth marketing is to create a unique and memorable brand experience. This can include personalized packaging, surprise gifts, or exceptional customer service. When customers have a positive experience with your brand, they are more likely to recommend it to others.
Online reviews are another form of earned media that can have a significant impact on a brand's reputation. Positive reviews can boost credibility and trust, while negative reviews can damage a brand's image. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews can help increase the likelihood of earning positive earned media.
Responding to both positive and negative reviews can also show that your brand values customer feedback and is committed to providing exceptional customer service. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and a stronger brand reputation.
Getting featured in the media can be a major win for any brand. When a journalist or publication writes about your brand, it can result in increased exposure and credibility. Pitching your brand to journalists and engaging in PR tactics can increase your chances of earning press coverage.
One way to increase your chances of earning press coverage is to create a unique and newsworthy angle for your brand. This can include a charitable initiative, a new product launch, or a partnership with a well-known organization. When your brand has a unique story to tell, journalists are more likely to be interested in covering it.
Partnering with influencers can generate earned media through sponsored content. When an influencer creates content featuring your brand or product, it can result in increased exposure and engagement. However, it's important to choose the right influencer to ensure authenticity and alignment with your brand values.
One way to choose the right influencer is to look for those who have a genuine interest in your brand or product. This can lead to more authentic and effective sponsored content. Additionally, partnering with micro-influencers, who have a smaller but more engaged following, can lead to more targeted and effective earned media.
In conclusion, there are many different types of earned media that can benefit your brand. By focusing on creating a positive brand experience, encouraging customer feedback, and partnering with the right influencers and journalists, you can increase your chances of earning valuable earned media.
Now that we've covered the types of earned media, let's explore the benefits it can bring to a brand.
Earned media can result in increased visibility and exposure, leading to increased brand awareness and recognition in the marketplace. When a brand is featured in a news article or mentioned on social media, it can reach a much larger audience than through traditional advertising methods. This increased exposure can help the brand gain new customers and increase sales.
As mentioned earlier, earned media is more trustworthy and authentic than traditional advertising, leading to enhanced credibility and trust among the audience. When a brand is featured in a news article or mentioned by an influencer, it is seen as more credible than if the brand had paid for an advertisement. This increased credibility can help build trust with potential customers and improve the brand's reputation.
Earned media can also improve a brand's SEO rankings, as it generates backlinks and signals to search engines that the brand is authoritative and relevant. When a brand is mentioned in an article or blog post, it often includes a link back to the brand's website. These backlinks can help improve the brand's search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find the brand online.
While it may be difficult to control, earned media is a cost-effective marketing strategy, as it's generated without payment or ownership by the brand. Traditional advertising methods can be expensive, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. Earned media, on the other hand, can be generated through public relations efforts or by creating shareable content that resonates with the audience. This can result in significant cost savings for the brand.
In conclusion, earned media can provide a range of benefits to a brand, including increased brand awareness, enhanced credibility and trust, improved SEO rankings, and cost-effective marketing. By leveraging earned media, brands can reach a wider audience and build stronger relationships with their customers.
Now that we understand the importance and benefits of earned media, let's explore some strategies for earning it.
Creating valuable and shareable content is one of the most effective ways to earn media coverage. When your content is informative, entertaining, or thought-provoking, people are more likely to share it on social media or mention it on their blogs and websites. To create shareable content, you need to understand your audience and what they find interesting. Conducting market research and analyzing your competitors' content can help you identify topics that resonate with your target audience. Additionally, using eye-catching visuals, such as infographics or videos, can increase the shareability of your content.
For example, if you run a health and wellness blog, you could create a shareable infographic that breaks down the benefits of different superfoods. This type of content is both informative and visually appealing, making it more likely to be shared on social media.
Developing relationships with influencers in your industry or niche can be a powerful way to earn media coverage. Influencers are individuals with a large following on social media or a popular blog or website. By partnering with an influencer, you can reach a wider audience and increase your chances of earning earned media through sponsored content or mentions.
To identify potential influencers, start by researching popular blogs and social media accounts in your industry. Look for individuals with a large following and a high level of engagement with their audience. Once you've identified potential influencers, you can reach out to them with a personalized message and offer to collaborate on a project or sponsored post.
Engaging in PR tactics, such as pitching to journalists and publications, can help increase your chances of earning earned media through press coverage. To successfully pitch to journalists, you need to have a newsworthy story or angle that will capture their attention. This could be a product launch, a new study or survey, or a unique perspective on a current event.
When pitching to journalists, it's important to personalize your message and explain why your story is relevant to their audience. You should also make it easy for them to cover your story by providing all the necessary information and assets, such as high-quality images or expert quotes.
Encouraging satisfied customers to create and share content featuring your brand can be a powerful way to earn earned media. User-generated content, such as customer reviews, social media posts, and blog articles, can help increase your brand's visibility and credibility.
To encourage user-generated content, you can offer incentives, such as discounts or free products, for customers who share their experiences with your brand. You can also create a branded hashtag and encourage customers to use it when posting about your products or services on social media.
For example, if you run a fashion brand, you could encourage customers to share photos of themselves wearing your clothing with a branded hashtag. This type of user-generated content not only helps promote your brand but also provides social proof that can influence other potential customers.
Earned media can be a powerful marketing tool for any brand. By understanding its definition, types, benefits, and strategies for earning it, you can develop a comprehensive earned media strategy to increase visibility and credibility in the marketplace.