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Earned media explained

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If you’re a business owner, then you know marketing is essential for success. But which type of marketing should you focus on? Paid media, such as advertising and campaigns, earned media, such as press coverage and social media content, or a mix of the two?

There’s no denying paid media has dominated in the past, and now many business owners are under the impression that paid media is the only way to go, but this simply isn’t true. In fact, earned media is gaining prominence thanks to the ever-growing impact of social media and offers a super effective way for businesses to get themselves seen.

What is earned media?

Earned media is coverage or promotion of your brand through organic means. It’s an effective form of content marketing, but also one of the most difficult to get!

In public relations (PR), earned media includes any content coming from a third party — something outside of a business’s control. It could be mentions in media, positive reviews, user-generated content, or word of mouth recommendations.

It might surprise you to know that a large proportion of the stories we read and see in the news are the result of PR. From the latest initiative introduced by a local charity, the launch of a new business, product or service and a company’s growth or recent success, to the appointment of a new Managing Director, results of market research and/or surveys, and upcoming events – these stories are usually provided by PR pros and delivered straight to the people who can get them seen – journalists.

It’s becoming increasingly important for brands to focus on gaining earned media. We all have news to share, but it’s how we go about sharing it that counts.

What are the benefits of earned media?

1. It’s free

Cost efficiency is the most obvious benefit of using earned media to promote a business or a brand. Unlike paid media, which can get quite expensive, earned media is free, saving you a significant chunk on your marketing expenses.

2. Reaches a wide audience

Earned media has the potential to reach a really wide audience. When people are talking about you, they are essentially sharing your message with their audience. So, even if someone doesn’t follow your business on Twitter or subscribe to your TikTok, they can still see positive comments about your business or products.

3. Credibility

Credibility is one of the biggest benefits that comes with earned media. People will always value the word of other people and will often seek direct recommendations when hunting for something new. Because it’s not paid for, earned media is often seen as more credible than paid media – that’s why a combination of both always works so well.

4. Boosts website traffic

Earned media is great for increasing website traffic and conversions. As you generate more buzz, you’ll also increase traffic to your company’s website and other marketing channels such as Twitter, Instagram or TikTok. This increased activity can lead to more conversions as people become interested in what’s on offer.

What does earned media look like?

There are several common types of earned media and they all take time to build up. A lot of these are the natural result of community building and an effective press strategy. Let’s touch on the most effective methods…

– Media coverage

Earned media coverage is when you are mentioned or written about in the news without paying for it. For example, a spokesperson from your company offered expert comment in a news article, or your company did something newsworthy and it was covered on a TV or radio segment.

This is where PR experts come in. You can certainly do your own outreach with press releases, but it’s not up to you when or where coverage takes place. A story is only as good as the person who is telling it. At Agent, our PR experts can help take your business to the next level. They know what works and their natural flare for storytelling means they can help you find the most compelling stories to share about your brand, and they have media connections to spare! In short, good PR is the difference between getting your story heard and getting your story seen.

– Word of mouth / social media mentions

You can’t control what people post on social media, but you can definitely influence them. How your brand acts, the causes it supports, how effective your product is and how interesting your content is are all things that you can control and are also the factors that will help you land more mentions from social media users.

You can encourage word of mouth in several ways, providing excellent customer service and leading services with your consumer at the forefront of its creation being just two effective methods.

– Reviews

Accumulating a portfolio of positive reviews from customers, audience and critics is a great way to generate earned media. This can be achieved through reaching out to journalists, media connections and influencers and inviting them to try out your product or service, or through organic posting from others who have heard about your offering and chose to write about it themselves. Influencers have become a powerful tool in the world of marketing and PR, and it’s a strategy that’s here to stay. Influencer marketing will continue to grow even bigger with time. The faster businesses adjust to this trend, the more innovative they will be with connecting with their audiences!

Need help telling your story? Agent can share your stories in the right way, to reach the right audiences. Let’s talk!

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