How to Generate Earned Media for Your Brand

Unless you are living under a rock, you are probably being bombarded with tons of information every single day of your life. That is why most of us turn to a friend or family member to decide on a product or service we want to purchase. However, if that fails, we seek recommendations from a third party not directly associated with a brand, such as a popular review site. This is the publicity that your brand has ‘earned’ free of cost.

Earned media can do wonders for your bottom line. Let’s dive deeper into this media type and see why it can be effective at helping your brand stand out from the crowd.

What Is Earned Media

Earned media is the gold standard of media and, in today’s world, covers any online word-of-mouth free publicity your brand gets. This could be in the form of reviews, comments, viral tendencies, recommendations, mentions, news coverage, feedback, likes, shares, blog posts or any other content type that mentions your brand.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust the opinion of people they know, and 70% rely on reviews and comments posted by consumers before opting for a purchase.

This media type is not promoted by your business or paid agents of your company. Instead, it is cultivated by organic methods via audiences, customers, social media users, journalists and bloggers.

Why Is Earned Media Important for Brands

Earned media has a better ROI and is far more economical than paid media. It works best in collaboration with owned media. Earned media takes over when people start to share your initial marketing effort or post comments on it. These shares, positive reviews, and favorable comments make earned media such a powerful marketing tool.

While it might not sound credible when you talk about your brand, credibility and trust are earned when someone else talks about it. This is the reason why sales managers are so fond of user-generated marketing campaigns.

Earned Media Benefits

Earned media is the way to be remarkable in front of potential customers. When done right, earned media can have a lot of benefits for your brand:

It Is Free

One of the most important benefits of this media type is that it is free. Many brands burn a lot of money on advertisements and sponsorships and still achieve little. Good news is that with earned media, no financial investment is needed. All you need is your team’s effort and time. Your business ‘earns’ the right of awareness by producing quality content worth sharing.

Develops Credibility

Paid media strategy is usually based on the theory of persuasion. Persuasion is not necessary with earned media because the information about your brand comes from a trusted source. Satisfied customers, known personalities and recommendations from family members and friends are still regarded as the most influential source to build brand credibility.

Increases Traffic

Organic positive mentions are highly instrumental in bringing more traffic to your website. These can be in the form of reviews from satisfied customers. The same is true about positive feedback from social media stars. This can lead to thousands of social media followers. Thus earned media is highly effective in boosting traffic to your website and social media pages.

Develops Brand Loyalty

Customers who have a good experience with your brand may feel an in-depth connection with your business after reading constructive reviews and comments about your products or services. These satisfied customers may voluntarily evolve into brand ambassadors for your business.

Boosts SEO

Earned media adds value to any marketing strategy since it helps achieve authority for your content. Viral content is regarded as the “dream come true” of earned media. Search engines observe when your content starts receiving attention on a large scale and boost your search engine rankings. Moreover, backlinks “earned” are seen as one of the best ways of link building within the SEO community.

Paid Media vs. Earned Media

Paid media is a form of traditional marketing whereby you pay a third party to advertise and promote your brand. Nowadays, brands pay for a space on online platforms such as websites, search engines, social media platforms, website popups, etc.

Paid media allows you to straight away appear in front of your target audience and engage them on social media sites where they are already spending their time. But paid media is not always sustainable as a promotional strategy. It delivers greater returns only if you keep paying for its sustainability.

Earned media, on the other hand, is cost-free publicity. It traverses across websites and social media platforms mainly due to popularity and a satisfying experience. Some brands initiate earned media through bloggers, publishers and influencers. These are commonly known as the stars of digital media, and their word acts as social proof for your brand.

Advertisement is necessary to bring about brand awareness. However, trust and reputation develop mostly when we read positive remarks about a particular brand from a third party that is not directly associated or involved with a brand.

How to Create a Unique Earned Media Strategy for Your Business

Here are some guidelines to help you create a unique earned media strategy that will help your business reach new heights:

Understand the Goal of Your Campaign

It is important to understand the objective of your earned media strategy before you create it. For example, are you trying to increase traffic to your website? Are you trying to reach a specific audience? Or do you need further exposure for your product? Be clear about what you want to gain from your earned media strategy before hammering out the details.

Discover What Types of Content Your Target Demographic Enjoys

Understanding your audience is key to creating content that it enjoys. Once you know who you are selling your product or service to, you can produce content that grabs their attention. Are you targeting millennials that decide where to eat based on Instagram photos? Is your ideal customer a woman in her 40s who loves to read blogs in the mornings? The answers to similar questions will have a farther-reaching effect than developing content for the masses on the whole.

Determine How Will You Distribute Your Content

Hundreds of pieces of well-formulated content are lying unseen and unread on the web. Why? The content’s authors did not sort out a distribution strategy first. You need to figure out how to distribute the content you will create before you create it.

Pro tip: Most businesses don’t realize that their employees own a large footprint in the digital world and can be developed into an effective marketing network. It simply involves sharing your content with your employees, who in turn share the same on their social media.

Track Your Earned Media Progress

Tracking your earned media progress will help you to measure the success of your marketing efforts. You can also tweak your strategy based on each campaign’s results.

A few metrics that you can follow to track the success of your earned media strategy are:

  1. Number of mentions related to specific content.
  2. Number of backlinks gained.
  3. The flow of traffic to your site and the percentage of traffic increased within a stipulated time.
  4. Number of shares your content gained.

Simple Methods of Acquiring Earned Media

Earning third-party credibility can seem complicated. Here are some simple ways you can earn earned media for your brand:

Talk to Reporters or Journalists

The best way to connect with journalists and reporters is by utilizing the services of HARO (help a reporter out). HARO was established solely to reach out to journalists with well-placed sources. Another way of locating journalists is through a Twitter search. Simply tag the journalist in your tweet and use relevant hashtags.

Reach Out to Influencers in Your Industry

Find media influencers related to your industry and reach out to them with requests for an interview or comment. Then, add their comment to your content and project it on your website. This will enhance the credibility of your brand in the eyes of potential customers.

Contribute to a Worthy Cause

The best and quickest way to get earned media is to do something significant that will attract the attention of the press and bloggers. It can be charity work or playing an important role in a noble cause. Reporters are likely to cover your efforts and boost your brand exposure.

Position Yourself as an Expert in Your Industry

The business world is a fast-changing environment. You will benefit by keeping up to date with this dynamic environment and offering insight into various segments of your business. Positioning and labeling yourself as an expert is the best and easiest way to acquire earned media.

Social Media Is Your Friend

Trust social media to further your interests. Identify and share content that interests your target audience, and within no time, they will be sharing the same on their social media. Just remember to use relevant keywords and hashtags in your posts.

Earned Media Is Crucial for Brands

The importance of earned media lies in the fact that you don’t have to spend a single dime to gather its benefits for your business. Instead, its power rests in its ability to catch people’s attention, get them talking, garner their support and propel them into action. Anytime people talk about or share their experience of your product or service with their family members, friends or colleagues, you get free publicity for your brand. And this is the publicity that matters the most in the eyes of your potential customers.

Earned media can take your marketing efforts to the next level. So remember to incorporate it into your marketing strategy if you haven’t already. Hopefully, our tips will help you reap its many benefits!

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