What is earned media?

Earned media is a term often used to describe coverage that has been achieved organically, without paid advertisement. It is harder to achieve than other forms of media but can be one of the most effective forms of content marketing.

Earned media relies on a strong proposition or “hook” that catches the eye of editors or social media users. This is far easier when your business has strong messaging, a distinctive viewpoint or easily defined selling points, supported by a PR strategy.

It’s all in the name – you can pay for advertising in print, broadcast and online – but you must ‘earn’ earned media.

 

What counts as earned media?

The term “earned media” now covers a wide range of print, broadcast and online media, and increasingly applies to shares and mentions from social media users, especially those with large audiences.

Metrics like reshares of your content, brand mentions, and recommendations all fall under the bracket of earned media – and getting these from third parties can help to increase your earned reach. Platforms such as YouTube can offer a huge amount of earned media value through content such as product reviews.

 

So why is earned media so important?

With the rise of social media, everyone is constantly connected – so what they like, share, comment, and post is available online for the entire world to see. But in a world where anyone can post anything, earned media has extra credibility and kudos as it is from an unbiased source, helping to influence consumers to trust in your brand. A decision by an editor to cover a story, or an influencer to post about your brand because it is newsworthy or interesting to their audience means more than a paid advert or partnership.

Building your company’s credibility and brand awareness through earned media forms a more engaged audience interaction that can be achieved with paid media tactics.

 

How can my business develop a successful earned media strategy?

Because earned media is all about third parties, it may seem like it’s out of your hands – but that is not true! A strong earned media strategy can help you build the foundations from which your earned media coverage can grow. Here are some tips on where to start.

1. Create content that is worth sharing

A good place to begin is by getting your audience to want to engage your content, and a good PR company will help you create interesting content that is worth the social media share or the decision to cover a story.

Engaging content is concise and draws readers in, so identifying what your audience is interested in and getting all those great stories out there – whether it’s about a new product launch, commentary on a hot topic or your brand winning an award – is a great way to achieve earned media.

Another way to gain earned media is by encouraging your audience to share your content. This can be done by placing share buttons next to your content, making it easier for people to share your posts, creating contests on social media or creating captivating content that will prompt your audience to take action.

2. Interact with your audience

To have a real impact on your customers, they must feel like they know you. Interacting online can help to build the relationship between you and your audience, which helps to encourage them to talk about your brand more or even recommend it to others.

Showing your customers that you care about their experience can often lead to exceeded expectations that can start a buzz of positive opinions and shared posts about your brand.

When your audience loves you, they are more likely to support you, remain loyal to your brand for a long time and share good things about you.

3. Reach out to influencers who share your audience

Another great way to achieve earned media is by incorporating influencers into your content. Reaching out to influencers who have the same or similar audiences as your brand and asking them for a comment or review of your products or services can work to secure earned media for your brand

Using influencers within your campaigns can also help to boost customer trust in the brand – as the comments are coming from a real-life individual, not a paid partner.

 

How can earned media be measured?

A good PR company can use a variety of media monitoring tools to demonstrate the level of earned media for a client. These tools can look at which media outlets and social media users have mentioned your brand and/or its products, and automation tools like Google Alerts can be used to streamline this process.

Another great way to measure your earned media is by looking for your key messages and analysing whether these are included within them. This can demonstrate your position in the market and the effectiveness of the earned media in sharing your brand’s message, which can then be used as a comparison against your competitors and their performance.

If you would like to find out more about how you can achieve earned media coverage for your business or brand, contact our team by emailing info@polymediapr.co.uk today.