What is Earned Media:
Earned Media can be defined as “when customers become the channel.” Your brand will earn media when people begin talking about you (usually in a good way). It should be noted that earned media is the most trusted form of advertising there is.
Types of Earned Media:
A blog reviewing your product:
Now not all blogs about products are the same thing. If a brand pays a blogger or offers products for free in exchange for a review, then that actually counts as a form of paid media. On the other hand, if a blogger purely loves whatever your brand makes so much that he or she decides to write up or create a video review of it, without compensation, then that is a type of earned media. You are gaining from this review and did not have to give something in return in order for it be created.
Social media followers share an influencer or brand’s post.
If your brand decides to hire an influencer to participate in one of your campaigns or if they promote a product then isn’t a type of earned media (it’s paid). You are paying them to endorse or advertise your product. However any shares, likes, comments or retweets that the post receives ARE a type of earned media. Getting shares and retweets from your post are ideal, this opens the post to more people who can be seeing your content and what your brand has to offer. These consumers are willingly promoting your brand to their own friends and followers.
Time to go old school. Anytime your brand is mentioned by a reporter or journalist in a news story, magazine article, or on TV or the radio, then it is a form of earned media. This type of earned media (editorial content) is actually the third most trusted.
Organic Search Result Ranking:
If you are ranking high in search results on Google then this another way to earn media. In order for it to count as earned media, then the content needs to earn the ranking organically, this means you didn’t pay for this prominent placement.
Why Your Brand Wants Earned Media:
One main reason why your brand want to and cares about earned media has to do with trust. 83 percent of people are more likely to trust recommendations given to them by family and friends.
However in the age of social media, the term of “friend” has become ever more flexible among people. People tend to trust the opinions of others online, like reviews on blogs or Yelp. Even if you don’t know those people personally, there is still a level of trust on what they have to say or comment.
Another reason you should strive for earned media is because it has a higher conversions, and a higher return on investment. It has been reported that paid media actually has conversion rates below 1 percent. On the other hand earned media often has a conversion rate over 5 percent.
Now remember, your brand isn’t pay for earned media. This means that you’re not paying for any of the new customers or sales you gain from it. This kind of media is ideal because you are able to gain more without having to spend a whole lot of money.
The Tricky Thing About Earned Media
Unfortunately not all media is perfect, and the same thing goes for earned media. One of the big drawbacks to earned media is that this you have the least amount of control over with this type of media. Whenever you publish content onto your brand’s website or social media pages, you have full control over what you publish. You dictate what the content looks like and what it says. The same thing is true for paid media. With paid media you are hiring who you want to promote and be associated with the brand as well as advertisements, sayings, and where it is published.
Earned media is actually a bit like the Wild West. While you have people saying and posting great things about your brand there is always a wild card factor. You might have bloggers who give your product a bad review, a social media user who shares your content with a negative comment, or encounter a press disaster that ends up making your company look bad.
Luckily there is a way to make sure the earned media your company is getting is as positive as possible. In order to make sure the earned media coverage is positive, you will want to focus on managing and controlling the message you posted through your owned and paid media channels. Make sure you are offering products or services that excite people, rather than something that frustrates or annoys.
How to Get Earned Media
Now earned media doesn’t just magically happen. Your brand must do something earn it. This “something” can take many forms and will usually involve leveraging your company’s paid and owned media in some way. Here are a few examples of how you can earn media:
SEO, or search engine optimization, is constantly evolving. This is because search engine algorithms are also always evolving. You want to make sure you are optimizing your brand’s owned media so you end up at the top of organic search results.
Work with Influencers
As we mentioned earlier, influencer marketing is a form of paid media. But, one of the goals of using influencers is to have people share the content that has been created by these influencers This transforms it into earned media. So you do want to partner with influencers who have high engagement. Look for ones that fit with your brand. Just because an influencer has high engagement doesn’t mean they are perfect for your brand. You want to make sure this influencer fits in with your brand and reaches the type of customers you want. You will want to engage with the influencers that care about what your company does. This will help excite people about your brand.
Create shareable, engaging content
You also want to focus on producing content that people will want to share with others on your brand’s owned channels. This might mean writing blog posts that offer useful tips and how-to advice, create funny and engaging videos or informative tutorials. Think about creating a fun quiz or polls that people can engage with and share on social media.
Connect with journalists/ media
Interviews in magazines (print or on the web) or press stories about your company still count as earned media. Unfortunately journalists can be picky about who and what they write stories about. It is vital to develop a good rapport with these journalists. This means you will need to do more than just send out press releases, but also requires writing friendly emails and messages in order to go above and beyond to get a writer’s attention.
Putting in the extra effort to get people on your team can be well worth it. You want to keep earned media on your mind when your brand is focusing on developing paid and owned media. Ideally, leveraging paid or owned media can result in earned media.