Why Is Earned Media Coverage Important?
Earned media, sometimes referred to as “free media”, is any media coverage that you haven’t paid for or created yourself.
Usually, we think of earned media when we think of public relations. Using earned media as a form of soft marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness in a cost-effective way. This positive publicity helps you grow your brand organically and with integrity.
Positive earned media is not easy to get. In fact, earned media can also be negative. Luggage manufacturer Away recently found this out.
But when you do secure positive coverage about your brand, it’s a powerful tool for influencing conversations and consumer behavior—and that’s why it’s so important!
As earned media coverage is owned and created by third-parties, and not controlled by your company, it is perceived as more trusted and unbiased.
We’ve talked before about how earned media fits into PR (we have a great post about what PR is and how it can grow your business) and we’ve also shared free press release templates to help you get that coverage you desire.
But for this short post, we’ll dive into more detail about why earned media coverage is so important and the steps you can take to improve coverage in 2020.
As a business, one of the best things you can do is to have independent sources reporting on it.
Just because earned media isn’t owned by you doesn’t mean you can’t influence coverage about your business and brand (see the free press release templates post above).
But to increase the chances of your story being picked up, you need to build real, authentic relationships with journalists, media outlets and content platforms. The best way to do so is to have an ongoing rapport with journalists and bloggers in your niche market, becoming a credible and trusted resource.
But don’t just pitch yourself and your story at first. That’s the wrong way to go about it.
Invite local reporters to coffee and get to know what the subjects they cover and find a way to share your area of expertise. Attend industry events and network with journalists in your community.
This will help you become a trusted source if they ever need it—and open the door for future pitches about your brand.
The Power of Digital and AI
Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of the mix. Following and engaging with journalists on social media will make them more likely to engage with you. Think Twitter and LinkedIn for starters.
There are also various tools to facilitate these social interactions. A media database can help you tap into the pool of journalists and influencers across all touchpoints with AI-powered, real-time recommendations.
Pretty cool, eh?
Story and Audience
Besides building relationships, your primary focus should be on nailing your story and knowing your audience.
Your message needs to be highly relevant and on target, with a focus on storytelling and brand reputation. It should inform your audience in a neutral way without the sales talk mixed in.
When pitching to reporters, your story should answer two questions: why now, and would readers care?
The more times your brand is mentioned in a news story, the better it can be—but only if in a positive context. Anytime a reporter, journalist, or influencer mentions your brand in an article, news story or social media post, it’s valuable earned media that a community can connect with.
The advantage of earned media is that it is much more credible than advertisements, because there is an assumption that the journalist or editors chose to cover the story based on merit. Not because it was paid for.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t place for paid and owned media in the marketing communications mix. They should work in unison, with earned media driving brand awareness in a cost-effective and highly authoritative way.
We’ll leave you with a quick summary about how to create a more powerful message:
- Keep your email subject lines short and to the point. It should convey the core of the story and grab the recipient’s attention.
- Make it easy for people to share your content by placing social share buttons where appropriate.
- Set up filters in your social monitoring tools to keep track of conversations about your brand and join in when you can add something to the conversation.
We hope this short post has been helpful. Here’s to better earned media results in 2020 and beyond!
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