What is Earned Media? Meaning, Types and Best Practices

Being an online marketer, you have numerous options to gain recognition of your brand. Among the various options, one highly effective one is paying to spread the word of mouth.

While a few involve brand promotion in places having full control, others involve bringing attention to other people to take notice of the brand and promote it.  Among the different forms of media, most of the people value earned media.

What is Earned Media

Why earned media is highly important, how it can help your brand grow, and a lot more will be discussed in this post.

What is Earned Media?

Earned media is defined as free of cost publicity or recognition a business gets. It is the content published or written about the brand or business by a third-party without imposing any cost. Also, it is popularly known as ‘earned content.’

For example, when you advertise on social media or search engines, it costs you a specific amount of money. However, if bloggers mention your brand name, it is known as earned media. It is because you have not paid them to include the brand on that particular list.

While earned media relies on third parties, it is still possible to curate a strategy to gain more earned media, which can help you expand your brand awareness and extend your reach to the target audience.

Difference between Earned Media, Paid Media, and Owned Media

Before getting into the details of earned media, it is vital to comprehend the difference between paid, earned and owned media.

1. Earned Media:

Earned media can be defined as when clients become a channel for business promotion and they start talking about it in a good way. It is the most reliable form of marketing your business.

2. Owned Media:

This form of media is anything that a company has complete control and ownership over. It includes an email newsletter, the website of a brand, catalogs, and social media profiles.

3. Paid Media:

This form of media pays your brand. Some common kinds of paid media are print ads, sponsored blog posts, sponsored social media posts, online ads, and commercials. The problem with this media is that it is the least trusted form of advertising.

Different Kinds of Earned Media:

There are various forms of earned media, which can be leveraged by your brand. Some of the vital kinds of earned media, which you may consider while developing a marketing strategy are:

1. Newspaper Story:

Nowadays, newspapers are not limited only to printed papers. They are available not only offline but also online in the form of mobile apps and news websites.

If your story is covered by a newspaper including an interview with the CEO or story about your product launch can help you extend your reach to a wider audience.

2. Word of Mouth:

Numerous businesses avoid considering the power of word-of-mouth marketing. But in reality, it is still a highly impactful form of media available for free of cost.

Any customer posting a good or positive review in the form of a Facebook post or tweet can drastically influence your buying decision. A review by the blogger can go viral and support you enhance the reach of your brand for free.

A fast solution to gain positive reviews from customers is to invite positive feedback for their offering. Moreover, an emotional social media campaign can offer fast traction and instantly go viral.

Another promising way of word of mouth marketing is publishing the blog post or press release by bloggers on their posts. A few tech bloggers consider it useful and create an exclusive story about it to share with the readers. This is a great way to extend the reach of your story and get a promotion for free.

Also, your business can gain a story for free and avail of more social media shares.

3. Television News:

It may seem a conventional technique, but it still works for numerous famous brands in the industry. Different news channels prefer providing their viewers with rich information in the form of a spot or an ad.

Consider the example, if you are launching a novel product, a few news channels may promote this launch and may broadcast it also.

4. Social Media:

When users on social media share your business content within their circles, it is also a kind of free media. Not only sharing but writing about the business is also considered.

But mostly, it depends on the customers sharing and writing posts about your brand. Consider the reach you would garner with a user on Twitter with more than 100K followers tweeting about the brand. This reach would be bigger as compared to a user with only 100 followers.

When you run a paid campaign on social platforms, it is considered free media.

5. Articles or Content about ‘Top’ Products or Services:

Presently, there are multiple bloggers and content creators who share the best recommendations and suggestions for their readers or viewers. For example, if you are a provider of web hosting platform, a blogger belonging to the same niche mentions about the web hosting industry.

Such content includes your business in the roundup article, which is a kind of earned media.

6. Trade Publication Story:

If you are a Medium and Small business owner, your new product launch or recent developments may not appeal to big media platforms and TV channels. However, the trade publication in the industry may be interested in the work.

For example, a trade publication may wish to write about your new announcement and share the same with your audience. This is also a kind of free media.

Why Earned Media is Important for Every Brand?

There are various benefits earned media can offer to your brand.

One major reason why your brand must consider utilizing the power of earned media is that it helps to build trust among your customers. As per a study conducted by Neilsen, around 83% of people trust suggestions from their friends and family.

Even, in the era of social media, close ones have become more malleable and flexible. Also, people trust other opinions online, like reviews on social websites, blogs, even if they don’t know about such people in real life.

Another benefit of earned media is that it can bring a higher rate of conversions, and eventually, a greater return on investment. As compared to paid media, earned media offer a conversion rate of over 5%.

Most importantly, your brand is not paying for earned media. It means you don’t have to pay anything in order to get new sales or customers. Hence, all you will get is gain.

Finally, earned media is a highly effective way to enhance brand awareness. Also, it can help you get more leads. It is because people prefer getting advice from their dear and near ones who have already used a service or product from a specific brand. They check online reviews on social media and other websites and blogs before deciding for a product.

People are also highly influenced by their favorite blogger, social media influencer, or celebrity. If they find out that they are using a specific product of a brand or writing positing things about the same, they will be more inclined to purchase the same.

Hence, undoubtedly, free media is a highly effective way of marketing and branding your business.

Why Earned Media is Tricky?

Everything is not perfect and the same holds true for earned media as well.

Earned media can offer numerous benefits to your brand and business. But it also has a drawback, its a kind of media your brand holds the least volume of control over.

When content is published about your brand on a social media profile or website by you, you have complete control over the content appearance and information. This is true even for paid media. However, you may experience more limits and constraints on the content size, length or what can be said or published when you are using earned media.

Earned media can be similar to the Wild West where people may have many great things to say about the brand. However, there will always be those wild or hidden cards available out there, like the bloggers or customers who may publish bad reviews about your offerings. The user on social media who shares the content with a snarky or disgruntled comment can harm your company’s reputation and make it look bad.

In order to ensure that earned media offers only positive reviews to your company, you must focus on controlling and managing the messages you put through paid and owned media platforms. Additionally, you must continue offering services or products, which excite people and do not make them annoyed or frustrated.

Best Practices to Use Earned Media for Your Brand:

You can leverage the power of earned media for your business without paying money. However, you need to invest efforts in order to really gain from it.

1. Utilize Power of SEO By Staying on the Top:

SEO, also known as search engine optimization is highly evolving. It is because the algorithms for the search engines are always changing. It is therefore vital to optimize the media of your brand so that you gain higher rankings in the organic results.

In order to stay at the top, you must stay in line with the search algorithms. Being a marketer, you must be updated about the latest SEO trends and optimize the presence of your brand on search engines.

2. Pair Up with Influencers:

One popular form of paid media is influencer marketing. One of its main aims is to allow people to share content, which is designed by your influencers.

You may pair up with influencers who already possess high-level engagement. Make sure the influencer you engage with is a perfect fit for your brand.

You must engage with individuals who care about what your company performs as this way people engaged with your brand will stay excited.

3. Create Intriguing, Engaging and Shareable Content:

Moreover, your prime focus must be on creating content, which more people would want to follow and share with others. It means you need to write content that is intriguing as well as engaging.

It is best to write blog posts that provide useful tips and advice to users about your product. You must also create informative and funny videos, create quizzes, and design polls, which people can share on social media platforms.

Remember, people will share your content only if they find it engaging and interesting. In addition to video, the content can be in the form of Infographic, blog post, or anything else.

4. Try Boosting Social Media Engagement of Your Business:

Social media is a great platform to engage with the clients and bring them close to your business. It is vital that you or your team member consistently focuses on social media platforms and post captivating content.

Also promptly reply through questions and comments from followers as it supports increasing the engagement. Regularly, ask your followers about their experiences with your product or brand. When such posts are created by your customers about your brand, it works as free media for you.

5. Connect with Media Portals:

Interviews in newspapers or magazines, whether on the web or in print, or press stories about your offerings or company is counted as earned media. However, journalists are choosy about who they create stories. Hence, it is essential you develop a strong rapport.

It implies writing more than a press release or writing friendly messages and emails and checking beyond the attention of the writer.

6. Look After Your Customers:

To make sure your consumers promote your brand and mention good things about your offerings, you must keep them happy with your services and products.

You must rectify their issues as fast as possible. If not exceed, try to meet their expectations and be loyal to them. Your customers will share positive feedback only if you look after them.

On a Concluding Note:

Earned media is a great way to let your business grow fast. So, follow the above-mentioned best practices to utilize earned media to your business benefit.

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