Earned media is an essential tool for PR teams to build consumer trust. This type of media has provided PR professionals with new and innovative ways to interact with and engage their audiences, making it an asset to any public relations skillset.
In today’s market, PR teams must understand how this form of coverage can be used to boost a company’s brand and be willing to invest in a communications strategy that has earned media coverage at its core.
With more people using social media to receive daily content and read the news, the nature of reaching audiences and generating media exposure is changing. So, what is earned media and how can you increase this valuable form of content?
What is Earned Media Coverage?
Earned media coverage is any material written about your company that you haven’t paid for or created yourself. In other words, it is any publicity or press coverage that is gained organically. This can include social shares of your paid media, customer reviews, and social posts, blogs, or news articles that mention your company.
Paid Media vs. Earned Media vs. Owned Media
There are three common forms of media coverage companies can invest in: paid, earned, and owned.
According to Smart Insights, paid media is content that is solely generated by the company, while owned media is content generated by the company in channels that it controls. Each type is an effective way for PR teams to engage their audience.
What sets earned media apart is the fact that it is not directly generated or paid for by the company.
Why is Earned Media Coverage Important?
Earned media coverage is important because it plays a pivotal role in engaging your audience, and it has the potential to reach a much wider audience previously unknown to the brand.
Building an earned media strategy is valuable because of its perceived trustworthiness relative to other forms of media coverage, as people are more likely to purchase or use services based on the advice of sources that are not directly connected to a company. Because it comes from an objective external source, it is more likely to be listened to and trusted by potential customers.
It is also more cost-effective than paid media as it is created by third parties unassociated with the company’s press or communications teams.
An organic earned media strategy is also an effective way for companies to build relationships with journalists, media outlets, social media creators, and influencers.
Not to mention, tracking earned coverage – in combination with other metrics such as social sharing and potential impressions – can be used to evaluate and provide insights into key message campaigns.
Ways to Maximize Earned Media Coverage
In this interconnected and online world, there are many ways for communications and PR teams to gain earned media coverage. While the nature of media has evolved with the rise of online outlets and social media influencers, there are a few trusted methods that can be used to increase your earned media.
Do Something Newsworthy
One of the best ways to attract organic coverage is to do something noteworthy or of interest to the public. This can range from philanthropic donations – which has proven to be a successful PR strategy for many organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic – to advocating for a worthy cause, like diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If your company can do something notable, it will likely attract positive news coverage and social engagement.
Create Content Worth Sharing
Creating ‘shareable’ content will increase the likelihood that you’ll gain social engagement with and positive coverage of your owned media. To create content worth sharing, it is important to understand the topics and formats that will resonate with your audience. The most shareable content is often in the form of video clips, infographics, or commentary on trending industry topics.
Partner with Industry Influencers
Partnering with industry influencers to promote your messaging is a key tactic for gaining positive earned media coverage. Take the time to build relationships with industry professionals and journalists that commonly cover your sector. In addition to gaining insight into the topics that resonate with your audience, you will increase the reach of your messages by taking advantage of influencers’ followings.
Utilize Social Media
Both large and small brands rely on customer reviews and word-of-mouth to build their media exposure. Not only has social media become a primary platform for customer reviews and word-of-mouth coverage, but it also allows you to engage directly with your audience. By building a social media team to promote shareable content and interact with your audience, you can boost your shared coverage and shape conversations about your brand.
Understand Your Target Audience
Understanding your audience requires that your PR team be aware of topics and trends that can be used to engage your audience. PR teams can use sentiment analysis to understand how their audience currently views their company and various industry topics. Once you understand how to reach your audience and how they engage with content, you can create content and campaigns that will generate higher rates of social sharing.
Using Earned Media Coverage as a Part of Your PR Strategy
Earned media coverage is an essential part of a successful public relations strategy. By refining your message, engaging your audience with creative content, and collaborating with industry influencers, you can increase your earned media coverage. Doing so will provide your company with valuable insight into your audience’s perceptions of your company and allow your organization to expand its reach to new realms.
At PublicRelay, we offer clients an accurate in-depth analysis of their media coverage. With media monitoring, we can help you to track all forms of your media coverage and assess the effectiveness of your messaging campaigns. Demonstrate the success of your communications strategy and start tracking your earned media now!