Earned Media

Elisavet Maniou
by Elisavet Maniou Growth Marketer @ GrowthMentor

Table of Contents

Have you ever read an article praising a company’s customer service or seen a product review on social media?

That is earned media. It is a marketing tool that can aid in increasing brand recognition, credibility, and trust. Earned media is just as valuable even though paid media is more common.

Here, we’ll define earned media, describe its operation, and discuss why it’s critical to any effective marketing plan.

What is Earned Media?

Any attention or exposure that a company or organization receives unpaid or naturally is referred to as earned media. This includes press attention, mentions on social media, testimonials, and referrals from clients and other outside sources.

Earned media, in contrast to paid media, is produced by satisfied customers, interesting content, or a solid brand reputation. Paid media, on the other hand, entails purchasing advertising space or paying for promotional content.

It differs from owned media, which is content that a business controls and develops, such as a website or social media account. Earned media comes from organic growth, whereas paid media needs a financial investment to gain an audience. This is the key distinction between earned and paid media.

How is Earned Media generated?

Many strategies can be used to produce earned media:

  • Creating high-quality content: One of the most important methods to generate earned media is through producing high-quality content. Giving your audience knowledge and value that encourages connection and sharing is necessary for this. By offering them content that speaks to them, you can persuade your target market to share your content with their friends and followers, increasing visibility and brand awareness.
  • Interacting with customers and followers: Another crucial method of generating earned media is through interacting with your customers and followers. You can build rapport with your audience by answering comments, distributing user-generated content, and actively participating in discussions. Positive social media mentions and word-of-mouth endorsements may result from this, boosting brand recognition and authority.
  • Establishing brand reputation and trust: Earned media can only be produced if your brand has a solid reputation and your audience has come to trust you. This may be accomplished by offering top-notch customer service, being open and genuine in your communications, and continuously keeping your word. Establishing trust with your audience can motivate them to spread the word about your business, resulting in favorable comments and mentions.

Examples of Earned Media

Earned media comes in a variety of formats. The following is a list of the shapes that have become very popular in recent years:

  • Media coverage and press mentions: A favorable article about your company or product in a news source or publication can boost its visibility and credibility. Strong public relations tactics and a solid brand reputation frequently lead to this kind of earned media.
  • Social media mentions and shares social media: When customers and followers share your content or mention your brand in their own posts, it can lead to increased exposure and brand awareness. This type of earned media is often the result of creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience and actively engaging with your followers on social media.
  • User-generated content and reviews: When customers share photos, videos, or other content featuring your products or services, it can help build brand awareness and credibility. Positive reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google can also help increase trust and encourage new customers to try your products or services.
  • Influencer collaborations and endorsements: It can help your brand or product gain more visibility and credibility when an influencer recommends it to their followers. Building trusting relationships with influencers who share your brand’s values and target market often yields this kind of earned media.

Benefits of Earned Media

Businesses can gain a lot from earned media, including better brand recognition, credibility, and trust. The following are a few of the primary advantages of earned media:

  • Cost-effective marketing: Earned media is a more sustainable and cost-effective marketing technique than purchased media since it results from giving your audience value and developing a strong brand presence.
  • Improved brand awareness: When your brand is mentioned or shared by other people or organizations, it can help introduce your brand to new audiences and increase visibility. This can lead to more website traffic, social media followers, and ultimately, more customers.
  • Increased credibility and trust: By generating positive reviews, media coverage, and social media mentions, earned media can help improve your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. When potential customers see that other people have had positive experiences with your brand, they are more likely to trust and choose your brand over competitors.
  • Long-term benefits: Earned media, as opposed to paid media, can continue to produce fruitful outcomes over time. Paid media, on the other hand, often only gives transient benefits. You may lay the groundwork for long-term success and growth by developing a solid brand reputation and communicating with your audience.

How to measure the impact of Earned Media

Measuring the impact of earned media is important to understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. We collected some ways to enable you to measure this impact:

  • Track social media engagement: This contains all of your social media networks’ likes, comments, shares, and mentions.  By analyzing these metrics, you can determine which types of content and messaging resonate with your audience and which channels are most effective for generating earned media.
  • Monitor website traffic: You can assess how successful your earned media initiatives are at generating traffic and raising brand recognition by monitoring the number of visitors who arrive at your website from earned media sources.
  • Evaluate brand mentions and reviews: You can assess the tone and mood of your earned media coverage by keeping an eye on brand mentions on social media and review sites. Negative mentions and reviews can highlight areas for improvement while positive mentions and reviews show that your brand is connecting with your target audience.
  • Employ analytics tools: Insights regarding social media engagement, website traffic, and brand mentions across numerous platforms can be obtained using tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Mention.

Common challenges and risks of Earned Media

Earned media has a lot to offer, but it also has its share of dangers and difficulties. When developing your earned media strategy, you should take into account the following challenges and risks:

  • Lack of control: The inability to influence messaging and brand reputation is one of the major concerns associated with earned media. You have little influence over how your brand is portrayed or perceived when it is shared by other individuals or groups. This can result in inaccurate or unfavorable publicity of your brand.
  • Difficulty in measuring ROI: Unlike paid media, which offers more tangible metrics for measuring ROI, earned media can be more difficult to track and quantify. This can make it challenging to determine the effectiveness of your earned media efforts and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Negative coverage and backlash: When your brand is mentioned or shared by others, it can sometimes lead to negative reviews, comments, or social media backlash. This can damage your brand’s reputation and lead to a loss of trust among your audience.
  • Misalignment with brand values: When partnering with influencers or other organizations, it’s important to ensure that their values align with your own. If their messaging or actions conflict with your brand values, it can lead.

How to Amplify Earned Media

Amplifying earned media is an important part of maximizing its impact and getting the most out of your marketing efforts. The following is a check list to promote earned media:

  • Share on social media: Posting about earned media on your social media platforms is one of the simplest strategies to increase its exposure. You may broaden the audience and exposure of your earned media and promote the trustworthiness of your brand by sharing favorable testimonials, press coverage, and social media mentions.
  • Repurpose content: Repurposing earned media content into other formats, such as blog posts, infographics, or videos, can also help amplify its impact. By creating new content that highlights your earned media coverage, you can increase visibility and attract new audiences to your brand.
  • Utilize influencers: Leveraging influencer partnerships is another way to amplify earned media. By partnering with influencers who align with your brand values and target audience, you can increase the reach and credibility of your earned media coverage and attract new followers and customers.
  • Include in email marketing: Including earned media coverage in your email marketing campaigns can also help amplify its impact. By highlighting positive reviews, media coverage, and social media mentions in your email newsletters or promotional campaigns, you can increase exposure and encourage more engagement with your brand.

How Does Earned Media Fit into a Larger Marketing Strategy?

Although earned media is only one part of a bigger marketing strategy, it may be quite effective in enhancing brand recognition, credibility, and trust. Earned media can fit into a larger marketing strategy with the following ways:

  • Complements paid and owned media: Earned media can be used in conjunction with paid and owned media to enhance marketing campaigns. You may develop a more thorough and successful marketing strategy that maximizes exposure and interaction by combining earned media with paid and owned media.
  • Gains credibility and brand awareness: Earned media can also aid in gaining credibility and brand recognition. You may position your brand as a reliable and trustworthy source in your sector by creating favorable media coverage, social media mentions, and user-generated content.
  • Encourages customer engagement and advocacy: Earned media can also encourage customer engagement and advocacy. By creating high-quality content, engaging with your audience on social media, and encouraging user-generated content and reviews, you can foster a community of loyal customers and brand advocates who can help amplify your message.
  • Supports overall business goals: Earned media should support overall business goals, such as increasing sales or driving website traffic. By aligning your earned media efforts with your business goals, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are focused and effective.

Final Thoughts

Every successful marketing plan must include earned media. Positive reviews, media attention, and social media mentions can help you increase brand recognition, credibility, and trust, which will help you draw in more clients and expand your clientele.

Even while challenges with earned media do exist, these can be reduced by concentrating on producing high-quality content, interacting with your audience, and tracking your impact.

Don’t undervalue the influence earned media can have on your marketing initiatives. Start adding it into your plan right away to discover how it can affect your company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Earned media is the name for the exposure that your brand gets as a result of good press, in-depth articles, and social media mentions that are not under your control or paid for by your company.

Whereas earned media is the outcome of favorable publicity or mentions that are earned through high-quality content and engagement with your audience, paid media entails paying for advertising.

High-quality content creation, customer and follower engagement, brand reputation and trust building, influencer marketing and collaborations, and supporting user-generated content are all ways to generate earned media.

By monitoring indicators like social media engagement, website traffic, and client feedback, you may gauge the effect of earned media. Also, you can employ resources like social media monitoring software and Google Analytics.

Earned media can build brand awareness, credibility, and trust, encourage customer engagement and advocacy, and complement other forms of marketing.

The risks of earned media include lack of control over messaging and brand reputation, difficulty in measuring ROI, negative coverage and backlash, and misalignment with brand values or target audience. However, these risks can be mitigated by being aware of them and taking steps to mitigate them.

Suggested mentors to help you make sense of Earned Media

Craig Zingerline

Founder @ Growth University & Growth Minded | CPO @ Sandboxx | Head of Growth @ Upside Travel

I’ve built & scaled a half-dozen companies (4 exits) & have worked with or advised over 100 others. After a few wins, and some epic losses, I can quickly understand the unique needs of a company and build that into an actionable growth framework to build upon.

Katya Sivkova

B2B Marketing strategist | Helping SaaS companies scale🚀

For over 6 years I’ve been helping fast-growing tech companies to develop their growth marketing strategy, launch large-scale marketing initiatives and run demand generation campaigns.

Barbara Stewart

Customer Experience Design & Marketing Specialist

Passionate end to end CX consultant with a knack for distilling complexity into simplicity.

Joey Kotkins

Founder // Growth and Operations Leader

Entrepreneur and growth leader. Current Chief Operating Officer at Brandlive. Formerly Co-founder and CMO of exited Inside Social, Partner and Head of Growth at We Are Multiple, CEO and Co-founder of Safara.

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