Earned media includes publicity gained through word-of-mouth, buzz, reviews, news coverage, comments, feedback, likes, mentions, shares, and various promotional efforts other than paid media advertising or owned media branding.
Reputation is the biggest asset of any brand. A brand (both personal and corporate) can be either established or demolished through the reputation it holds. This reputation comes from nowhere else other than earned media!
To be concise, earned media is any publicity created by a third party for your brand.
Why Is Earned Media Important?
Most search marketers hold the impression that earned media is difficult to obtain (as in owned media) and impossible to procure (as in paid media).
According to Jeffrey Dachis, co-founder of Razorfish, who recently spoke on digital advertising and marketing at TechManch,
The brands of the future will be built on authentic, advocacy-based marketing, which is then amplified through owned and paid marketing. As opposed to the current situation, earned media will drive paid and owned media.
So the question here is how to make the most of it?
How to Harness the Power of Earned Media
These are the best practices of earned media:
- Create awesome, relevant, and engaging content for your brand’s promotion. It should be share worthy!
- Build and nurture your online relationships. It’s all about engagement, engagement, and engagement.
- Strongly believe in “sharing is caring.” Share resources and content posted by others that is relevant to you, and give them feedback and reviews on their posts. These are the people who will knowingly or unknowingly be in touch with your brand, and one day they will share your relevant content on their feeds.
- Combine earned media with owned media. Spread and share any positive feedback or praise of your products or services received from third parties. For instance, post testimonials and customer reviews on social networks and your website. Show people that you are also in the race and reaching new heights.
- Integrate earned media strategy with influencer marketing strategy. Influencers will possibly share your content and help you expand your reach in a grand manner.
Example: How Brands Can Win Through Earned Media
Whenever your web presence (in the form of content, product, image, or brand) is praised and well-recognized, and you have not paid for the praise or recognition, it is earned media.
Let’s take a look at the famous brand Coca-Cola, which earned massive popularity via earned media.
Coca-Cola – Share a Coke Campaign
Coca-Cola first launched “Share a Coke” in Australia in 2011 and rolled it out to more than 100 countries. The campaign is regarded as one of the best marketing campaigns in the advertising history of Coca-Cola. Millions of snaps were shared via hashtag #ShareACoke, and Coca-Cola as a brand got connected with its consumers at a personal level by adding either first names or last names to the mix.
Many consumers shared their stories and created social media content for the brand to spread on social media along with the hashtag “Share a Coke.” The best part of this campaign was its hashtag was not only catchy and easy to remember, it also acted as a call to action (CTA).
This year, the successful campaign is back in a new avatar and with a new CTA, i.e., “Share an ICE-COLD Coke” — as a prompt that nothing beats the summer heat quite like an ice-cold, delicious Coca-Cola.
Top THREE Reasons You Need to Focus on Earned Media
Earned media is gaining huge momentum and you shouldn’t miss out on it. The above example of Coca-Cola emphasizes why you need to focus on earned media:
- The most trusted information comes from your highly satisfied customers, NOT from your marketing slogans. Customer reviews, shares, posts, and feedback are a part of YOUR user-generated content which plays a crucial part in your overall marketing strategy. Between 25% and 40% of website traffic and lead generation comes from earned media.
- Social media has blown up the absolute amount and reach of earned media. One can never buy customers and their opinions. So their word-of-mouth (WOM) works best of all. To top it off, social media has added fuel to the fire. Whatever customers share on social networks can potentially reach millions of people, all thanks to the power and magic of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, and others! 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, while only half trust paid ads.
- Conversions take place when your website visitors act on your CTA. When your brand has earned positive praise from unpaid sources, conversion rates show better numbers. Here, ROI on your overall marketing campaign is unquestionable since earned media is a cost-effective way to grow your brand online. B2B brands use referrals too: 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by WOM when making their decision to buy.
Closing Thoughts – Should You Consider Earned Media?
Earned media comes from people who are NOT paid by your brand. They trust your quality of products and services and believe in your brand. Even though earned media is likely to take more effort since it is beyond your control, it should be a key element of your content marketing strategy. It is your hard work that gives you third-party credibility. To have a more optimized marketing strategy, it is best to blend earned media with owned media and paid media.
About the Author: Raj Gautam is CEO and Founder of QL Tech, located in Perth, Australia. QL Tech is one of the best companies to offer unique Digital Marketing and Web Development Services by virtue of its dedicated professionals.