Earned media, often referred to as PR coverage, is growing in importance for today’s digital marketing success.
People are returning to mainstream media in droves, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020. Just two years ago the news media industry looked bleak with almost half, 44 per cent, of people checking the news less than once a week. Today’s picture is much rosier. Three out of four people now check the news at least weekly and almost half will share news media content via their own social networks.
It’s an incredibly turnaround. This renaissance speaks to mainstream media’s increased perceived credibility and trustworthiness. It means reporters and other news professionals are now restored to the position of influencer. Companies and brands that had previously dropped PR to focus just on content marketing are once again waking up to the incredible power of positive media coverage.
This means that getting media coverage for your brand, company, product or service is once again becoming an essential part of the marketing mix. In this post, I’ll define “earned media” and show a few examples of how smart marketers use it to fuel successful campaigns.
What is Earned Media?
Earned media is media coverage or ‘good PR’. It confers powerful third-party endorsement for a company, a product or even an idea. And, it provides broad exposure to large mainstream media audiences. Sometimes known as publicity, earned media is just that. It earns coverage based on its news value and is never paid for. It’s not advertising.
Why is Earned Media Important?
Earned media is one of the four pillars of digital marketing success alongside the owned, shared and paid media pillars.
It’s a framework, sometimes known as the PESO model. It integrates digital marketing communications strategies and tactics to maximize impact, extend reach and deliver a measurable return on investment (ROI).
The four pillars are interconnected and dependent upon each other to gain the most value for marketing budgets. If earned media is not part of the mix, other activities will struggle to deliver the desired results.
Let’s imagine you have a company blog. You spend time and talent in writing and posting articles, but the expected web traffic just never materializes. You try sharing it on social media and even run a few Facebook ads, but the results are short term and costly. After a while you give up on the blog thinking it’s a waste of time.
Hang on! Here’s the problem. People are not surfacing your content through search. Getting to Google Page One means increasing your website’s Domain Authority, and a great way to do this is to get backlinks from other high authority websites. Mainstream media websites tend to have elevated domain authority!
So, getting reporters to link to your website can dramatically impact the visibility of your blog content in the long term. That’s one way that earned media directly powers owned media.
Tips on social media
Earned media fuels shared media by providing quality content to share on company’s social media channels. This strengthens brand positioning and bolsters stakeholder relationships by letting followers know that news reporters see this company as a credible source.
Using PR coverage in paid media campaigns exposes new audiences to the powerful endorsement of mainstream media stories.
Examples of Earned Media Success
- Here a software company has published a research report using a hook that’s sure to interest reporters. The result is massive top tier media coverage that raises awareness of the company, educates its target audience and includes those prized high-domain backlinks. Ransomware costs Canadian companies as much as $2.3 billion.
- Here’s a media article which examines the Canadian Cannabis industry and includes a key CEO interview. Great exposure for the individual and his company among shareholders and the industry. Cannabis Canada: New Canopy Growth CEO to focus on consumer, becoming profitable
- Product reviews are a great way to gain coverage and credibility. Here is a wearable tech product review that sure to convince the media outlet’s tech savvy audience of its value and maybe they’ll even buy it. FitbitVersa 2 Review
- Fashion and beauty brands love working with Canadian Instagram influencers who can reach hundreds of thousands of Millennial shoppers. Here Toronto’s Beckerman Twins who post almost daily featuring makeup brands, fashions and fun things to do.
Tips for Earned Media
Earning positive media coverage can happen overnight, but it usually doesn’t. Customarily, it takes sustained effort to build the kind of media relationships that deliver positive PR.
Here’s my rules for good media relations. I first published them in 2006 and then updated them 2018. This article continues to be one of my most-read blog posts.
Remember that adding earned media into the marketing mix will improve results overall. Don’t risk total failure. When you sit on a four-legged stool that’s missing a leg…you’ll likely fall over!
Interested in learning how to power your digital marketing by adding earned media strategies and tactics? Looking for tips on social media? Let’s set up a time for a free telephone consultation.