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3 Tips for a Better Earned Media Strategy

ByDave Stopher

Dec 19, 2023

Earned media stands as a pivotal force in brand recognition and credibility. If your business is looking to elevate its presence through a refined earned media strategy, then you need a plan. And this article unveils the essential steps to developing a robust and effective strategy that works.

What is Earned Media?

In the world of marketing and PR, we often talk about things in two different buckets:

  • Owned media
  • Earned media

The names, which are pretty self-explanatory, refer to different ways in which businesses attract media exposure and attention.

Owned media is media that is completely controlled by the brand. Examples of owned media include your website blog, social media profiles, and emails that you send out to your database of prospects and customers. Even advertisements are owned media, as you are in control of what the ads say and how they showcase your brand.

Then there’s earned media, which is the exact opposite of owned media. As Hubspot explains, “Earned media, or earned content, is any material written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself.”

Examples of earned media include TV news segments, newspaper articles, tweets about your brand, or viral clips involving your products or services. It’s basically any type of exposure you get that your brand didn’t have to pay for. Having said that, there are ways you can strategically position your brand to earn more of these opportunities.

3 Tips for a Better Strategy

Savvy brands don’t just have media strategies – they have earned media strategies, which allow them to proactively identify and earn more opportunities for positive exposure in the marketplace. 

Not sure where to start with this? Here are several helpful tips:

  • Identify and Expose Compelling Hooks

You have to give people, organizations, brands, influencers, and customers reasons to talk about your brand. Nobody wants to talk about something that’s ordinary or normal. They want something unique, fresh, innovative, and compelling.

It’s up to you to unearth magnetic “hooks” that get people to pay attention. A hook is simply an angle that you use in marketing to grab attention. It could be a new feature in a product, or an innovative idea that hasn’t been heard before. Or, in some cases, it’s just a combination of powerful benefits that come together to create a unique offer.

You’ll make your job of attracting earned media a lot easier if you have two or three reliable hooks that you can dangle in front of earned media partners. After all, you have to remember that media figures are looking for ways to delight their audiences. You make their job a lot easier if you give them good hooks to work with. 

  • Know How to Get In Front of the Right People

A good hook will do a lot for your brand, but you also need consistent and predictable ways to put those hooks in front of the right figures – including people and organizations. 

One way to do this is by hiring a digital PR firm. Successful firms are able to drive 300 to 400 percent increases in earned media conversion rates for their clients. This is like pouring gasoline on a simmering fire – it explodes the growth. 

  • Devote Your Brand to Owned Media

As counterintuitive as it might seem, sometimes the best way to boost your earned media is by focusing on your owned media. When you excel with owned media, it naturally creates more buzz and exposure. And guess where earned media comes from? Yep, that’s right – it comes from journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and social media influencers seeing your brand elsewhere and determining it’s worth sharing with their audiences.

While the tips highlighted previously certainly apply, sometimes the best thing you can do is put your head down and work on truly excelling with owned media. In most cases, earned media follows closely behind. 

Putting it All Together

There is no secret key that unlocks earned media and guarantees success. Instead, you can think of it as a collection of buttons and levers. In order to be more successful with earned media – and enjoy predictable success – you have to understand when to push certain buttons or pull specific levers. Once you’re able to do this, the sky’s the limit!