Your Guide to Understanding Earned Media

A robust, successful digital marketing strategy requires that you have the right moving parts in place to achieve your end goals. One of those parts is earned media – it’s an incredibly powerful tool that deserves to be front and center within your arsenal, but too many business owners are unsure what it is, much less how to use it. If you’re still on the fence about it, we’ll break it down to help you understand what it is, how it works, and why it deserves such a central position in your digital marketing strategy.

What Is Earned Media?

What is earned media

When it comes to marketing content, most of it is will be generated within your business. We’re talking about blog posts, social media posts, reports, guides, ebooks, and the like. Those are all examples of owned media. You made it. You own it. You can do what you want with it. Earned media is different.

Technically, earned media is any content that is created about your or your business that was not created in-house or paid for by your company. So, a paid or incentivised review is owned media, but a genuine review left by a real customer on their own is earned media. A mention of your brand on social media – earned media. Your brand being mentioned or discussed in a blog post that you had no hand in creating – earned media.

You get the picture. Earned media is created, published, and owned by a third party. So, how does it deliver value to you, then?

Examples of Earned Media

Examples of  earned media

Now that we’ve established what earned media is and how it differs from owned media, we need to take a look at some examples. There are many of them, and the following are just some of them:

  • News spot on local or regional TV
  • Tweets from customers or other brands
  • Authentic customer reviews
  • Recognition within a trade publication
  • Word of mouth recommendations
  • Facebook posts from customers
  • Inclusion in a third-party produced product roundup
  • Newspaper articles sharing your company’s story

How Does Earned Media Benefit a Business?

How does earned media benefit a business?

This media can benefit a business in an incredibly wide range of ways. However, it can also be detrimental, depending on the conversation. Think about Amazon reviews – they’re trusted by shoppers to be truthful. A bad review is going to tarnish a company’s reputation. The more negative reviews, the less likely a customer is to buy that particular product.

However, earned media can also be very beneficial. This goes beyond positive product reviews, of course. For instance, if you can wow a customer, and they recommend your company through their own social media channel, that recommendation will reach people that you would never have reached with paid content, and it will carry infinitely more weight with them, as well.

How Do You Earn Media, Then?

How do you earn media?

If earned media is so beneficial, you need it working in your favour. How do you go about doing that, though? It’s surprisingly simple, yet too many business owners fail to achieve it.

  • Wow Your Customers – To see earned media and benefit from it, you need to consistently wow your customers. You need to go above and beyond, time and time again. The goal here is to ensure that your customers are more than merely satisfied. They need to be happy with the experience. So much so that they want to tell others about you.
  • Contribute – Be a part of something larger than yourself. Your business is a part of the local community, so get active within it. Support causes that matter to your customers. Contribute to society in some way that goes beyond turning a profit.
  • Stand Out – Find a way for your business to stand out within your immediate geographic area. Company growth, support for causes, sponsorship of sports teams, and other options can call attention to your business.

In the end, earned media is tremendously powerful, but it can be challenging to generate since you don’t own it and cannot pay to have it created. If you’re struggling with your overall digital marketing strategy, we can help. Get in touch today.

Sean Dempsey Marketing
Sean Dempsey

With over a decade of experience, Sean is an amazing, data-driven inbound marketer who will manage the majority of the marketing funnel for your company. Sean attracts site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for your business and nurturing those leads to close into customers. Contact Sean about Inbound Marketing.