Earned Media 101: The 6 Ways to Achieve It
Businesses have to do everything they can to boost their internet presence. As a business owner, you understand how much time and money this requires. Yet, instead of pursuing that coverage, why not attract earned media for your brand instead?
You gain this type of coverage whenever non-affiliated media outlets discuss your brand. People do this when they deem your business worthwhile to discuss. In other words, this digital marketing strategy affirms your brand image and encourages others to promote your business!
You wouldn’t want to miss out on this opportunity, so we will discuss why this is the case. After that, we will talk about the types of earned media you could gain. More importantly, we will go through six ways you could work for this type of media coverage.
The importance of earned media
As the name suggests, earned media comes after you’ve exerted enough effort into promoting your brand. What makes it unique is that you don’t create it yourself.
Other people and companies should see that your brand is worth discussing. Eventually, they will create various pieces of content that praise your brand.
Take a company like Tesla, for example. That company doesn’t often post promotional materials, even on its social media channels. Yet, you’ll find reputable publications like Forbes keeping up-to-date with its activities.
That counts as earned media as there is no way all the content regarding Tesla comes from the company itself. The EV firm has built a reputation, so major outlets cover it.
Another great thing about earned media is that you can work towards it. Other companies will create the content, so you won’t have to exert effort for it.
Aside from being a money-saver, earned media is also an effective brand-builder. It tells people that your company has built up a reputation that various outlets deem worthwhile to discuss.
Your earned media shouldn’t stand on its own. You must implement paid and owned media to enhance its effectiveness. Let’s first talk briefly about paid media.
This type of media involves paying a third-party platform to create content on your behalf. Some examples include TV advertising and billboards. Meanwhile, owned media comes from the channels you control.
Examples include social media accounts and your homepage. As mentioned earlier, paid, owned, and earned media can complement each other.
For example, your social media posts could also feature related press releases from other websites. Your earned and owned media work together for your marketing strategy.
Types of earned media
The internet provides so many kinds of content, from blogs to videos. The same goes for earned media examples, so let’s take a look at some of them:
- TV segment – As your brand becomes more famous, channels like CNN or CNBC could one day discuss it on national television. However, you will have to be a well-known name in your industry to gain this type of coverage.
- Niche or trade publications – Most people don’t know newspapers and magazines, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. It’s just that specific industries need them. Appear in print advertising, and you’ll have social media mentions from other businesses in no time!
- Twitter mentions – Speaking of brand mentions, Twitter is an excellent platform. Generate enough buzz on the internet, and you’ll be racking up millions of retweets. Eventually, people would create earned media related to your business.
- Reddit threads – Online forums are still a thing in 2022, and Reddit is the most well-known platform for it. You’re more likely to find discussions about your brand as you gain a reputation. Be present in those talks to connect closer to your target audience.
- Review sites – You could send your products and services to certain websites, so their writers can write a review about them. Even better, your brand might be so well-known that these publications do it themselves. This type of earned media also makes organic traffic for your online pages.
The 6 ways to achieve earned media:
- Improve your content marketing
- Provide top-notch customer service
- Do a publicity stunt
- Work on your SEO
- Publish a press release
- Pitch to appear on podcasts
1. Improve your content marketing
The most common way for businesses to connect with potential customers is through quality content, such as videos, infographics, emails, and especially online articles.
Its goal is not to directly promote your brand. Instead, it aims to generate interest in your products and services. Let’s say an electric scooter wants to pursue a content marketing strategy.
It may publish articles regarding electric two-wheelers from other brands. This company could suggest its offerings as one of the best in the industry while discussing alternatives.
These services can be your brand’s ticket to earned media. Your goal should be to make your content “shareable” and even “viral.” In other words, it should be worth sharing with others.
That’s why you must create engaging content. It should have elements or themes that resonate with your target audience. Do this well, and your content may even go viral.
Eventually, people may share your content. If this is a tweet, it will have thousands or even millions of retweets. As a result, you gain online media coverage over time.
Even better, you might even get traditional media outlets buzzing about you. Your brand may star in a TV news report, so your brand gains more earned media!
If certain media types aren’t working, you could try converting them into other forms. For example, let’s say you have a blog post that’s not providing the intended results.
You could break down each section into a YouTube or TikTok video. As a result, it may reach more people and become more appealing than written form.
2. Provide top-notch customer service
The genius of earned media is that it comes naturally from people around you. Before they do so, you will have to give them a reason. Let’s look at its namesake “earned media.”
You will have to provide something that people like. We’ve discussed how a content marketing strategy can help you with this. However, you must focus on customer service too.
Simply put, make sure people love your products and services. If you offer snacks, make sure it’s the best they’ve ever tasted. If you deliver meals, make sure you’re always on time.
Eventually, the quality of your brand will speak for itself. People will respond by posting positive reviews about your business. They may even write about how great your goods and services are.
Folks may spread the word about your brand on multiple social media channels. That causes a discussion among the users of these platforms, which could inspire even more positive media coverage.
Earned media isn’t just about goods, services, and promotional materials. It’s also about connecting with your customers via social media accounts.
If they post positive reviews, don’t forget to acknowledge their message. If they post complaints, be ready to discuss their concerns, address them immediately, and apologize when necessary.
Both actions let potential customers know that you’re committed to providing quality. They will grow to recognize your brand as a great source of a specific product or service.
You could gain more earned media by recommending more products and services. Also, you might want to provide promos or discounts for loyal customers.
These perks incentivize long-time supporters of your brand to continue their patronage. Also, they could encourage them to post more positive vibes for your brand, netting you more earned media.
3. Do a publicity stunt
Modern businesses tend to focus on online marketing since people spend so much time on the internet. However, it would help if you didn’t neglect the power of real-life marketing as a source of earned media.
People usually take photos and videos of their surroundings because they have smartphones. If they see something interesting, they snap a pic or take a video of it.
Your brand could generate earned media by being that “something interesting.” You can do this by launching marketing material that’s so creative that people are bound to take notice.
Take Burger King’s “Keep It Real Meals” campaign. It involved limited-time meals that had QR codes. Scan them, and you get a non-fungible token (NFT) from the meat monarch himself.
It successfully took advantage of the NFT craze at the time, generating earned media for the brand. Also, McDonald’s had a different stunt for International Women’s Day.
It showed solidarity with women’s rights by flipping its iconic golden arch from an “M” to a “W.” This was a great “W” or win for the company as it also provided earned media coverage.
In the Philippines, SM Mall of Asia’s giant globe suddenly disappeared. This event made headlines for days until the establishment admitted that it was a publicity stunt for the Netflix film “Red Notice.”
These actions turned out to be effective for earned media and social media marketing. The stunt got people talking about the brands, so they eventually caught the attention of media outlets.
4. Work on your SEO
Getting earned media from the internet works because most people spend a lot of time on the internet. Roughly 68% of online activities start with a search engine.
As a business owner, you’d want to make sure your marketing strategy meets customers as they start browsing. Search engine optimization can help you achieve this goal.
It involves taking advantage of how search engines rank websites on search results. For example, let’s say someone types “best cryptocurrencies” on Google and clicks “Search.”
The search engine will then sift through billions of websites. It will look for the ones that fit all the following criteria:
- Terms and phrases that are related to the search query
- The ones that have the most organic traffic or get the highest number of visitors
- The number of linked websites
SEO-earned media technically counts as earned media since you’ll have to work for these criteria. Figuring out the right keywords requires extensive research and proper tools.
Linking your website to owned media channels is ideal. Getting non-affiliated sites to do that for your brand means you’ll have to earn their free media coverage.
As mentioned earlier, content can help you grow positive earned media. Yet, results will depend on the quality of your materials, so you will have to work for it.
The most effective marketers nowadays aren’t brands; it’s regular people. Thanks to the internet, anyone can share their thoughts and work with people worldwide.
You can find them dancing to the latest TikTok trends. Perhaps you’ve seen a few of them on YouTube, or some of them appeared on your social media feed.
As they gain millions of followers, they become online influencers. The name comes from their ability to encourage these people to do certain things.
This strategy can be powerful for your earned media strategy. Imagine an influencer with millions of fans compelling them to try out your products and services.
That’s a lot of potential customers! These results made them a regular part of content marketing and earned media marketing. How does this work?
Start by finding internet personalities that fit your brand and industry. They must have physical and personality traits that suit your business image.
Also, they should have content that is relevant to your industry. For example, women influencers often promote makeup products during their live streams or videos.
Once you’ve found someone, reach out to them via email. If these people accept, properly discuss the terms of your marketing strategy. You will have to provide general requirements for an ad read.
For example, you should tell them the features they should mention and the ones they should avoid. Other than that, it’s best to let them create the media content themselves.
Giving influencers this freedom makes sure that the promo sounds genuine. The limited-time perk counts as both paid and earned media since the influencer will have to put effort into encouraging their followers.
5. Publish a press release
Businesses use many online marketing methods nowadays, but this doesn’t mean that they’ve abandoned traditional media altogether. Instead, they’ve created digital versions.
Specifically, they still publish press releases (PR), but they appear as online articles. These are lengthy statements that inform clients about a company’s recent activities.
These announcements could be a company’s plan to enter a new industry. For example, the Brazilian financial institution Nubank announced that it would now provide crypto trading to clients in a blog post.
A business may also post a press release when it acquires another firm. For instance, a blog post talked about Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plan to purchase Twitter for $44 million.
You can gain earned media with this method by reaching out to specific outlets. Discuss your plans to feature your blog post on that platform.
This type of media effectively boosts earned media, but it has a few issues. First and foremost, this works if you’ve established a considerable reputation in your industry.
Regular people don’t often read PR posts, but other businesses do. If your brand isn’t large enough, it may not yield satisfactory results.
That press release should appear on a reputable site, or other firms are unlikely to notice you. Again, your brand reputation will determine whether or not the platform will allow your content.
If you succeed, you’ll catch the attention of other media outlets. They will eventually discuss your brand, so you can generate earned media as time passes.
Read More: The Business Benefits Of Press Releases
6. Pitch to appear on podcasts
Nowadays, radio is a mostly forgotten medium. Unless you’re bored on a long road trip, you probably won’t tune in to a specific station. Radio shows are far from gone, though.
It just took on a new form as podcasts. Instead of turning knobs on a plastic box, you tap an app like Spotify. You’ll find a list of talk shows in audio format.
Believe it or not, this is also a great way to gain earned media. Let’s use the Joe Rogan Experience as an example since it’s the highest-rating podcast in the United States.
Joe Rogan is a former MMA fighter with 11 million people listening to his talk shows. He invites people to talk about various topics, from politics to diet trends.
Establish your brand as an authority in your industry. Then, you might catch the attention of famous personalities like Rogan. Perhaps you could show up as a guest on his online talk show.
Take what happened with Elon Musk’s guest appearance on the JRE Podcast as an example. It even made headlines as the SpaceX CEO smoked marijuana during his chat with Rogan.
Those headlines are earned media for Musk’s companies. If your brand isn’t as huge as Tesla yet, you could try sending a pitch to podcast hosts like Joe Rogan.
Just make sure to pick the podcast that fits your brand image. Perhaps you’ll successfully convince them to let you in one of their episodes.
A podcast is an effective way to generate earned media, but it depends on your industry. If you have younger customers, they might overlook your efforts.
Like PR articles, they’re more effective if you’ve already built a company image. Otherwise, you may want to use other methods first.
Earned media comes from non-affiliated people and companies that decide to promote your brand. However, it would not be wise to rely on this method solely.
It would help if you used it in tandem with other marketing tactics. For example, paid, owned, and earned media could complement each other to boost marketing results.
Earned media can take a lot of time and effort, though. Fortunately, digital marketing agencies like LeadAdvisors can form this strategy on your behalf. See how it can provide the results you need by clicking here.
What are examples of earned media?
Here are some forms of earned media:
- Public relations or media publicity
- Social media
- Third-party review sites
- Search engine optimization
Read the article to learn how you can gain these types of coverage for your brand.
Why is earned media important?
Earned media is an effective way to build your long-term brand image. Also, it lets you boost your marketing efforts without spending time and money on creating the materials.
What are the disadvantages of earned media?
It’s not easy to track the impact of earned media since it doesn’t just come from a single source. Also, made media could backfire as it could contain negative content.