There are three major categories of media coverage that PR teams use to reach and connect with their target audiences:
Owned Media — Content created and published by your brand.
Paid Media — Any ads or media coverage that you have paid to run.
Earned Media — Any unpaid mentions, coverage or content created and published about your brand by others.
Owned and paid media are vital first steps to getting your brand name on the radar, but an earned media strategy is the key to fast and positive growth for your business.
Earned media is often overlooked by marketers. Some may mistake earned media to be out of their hands and disregard it from marketing plans. Small businesses may also struggle to prioritize earned media simply due to bandwidth. Both situations are understandable but can lead to missed opportunities in connecting with audiences, receiving valuable feedback and can even hinder other efforts to spread brand awareness.
Never underestimate the power of earned media.
To help our #SMTLive Twitter chat community polish up on their earned media skills, we hosted a chat on the topic of "Tracking and Measuring Earned Media (on Social Media)." We brought in a team of experts in the field, Agility PR Solutions, to co-host the chat and offer advice and helpful solutions.
The questions we answered:
- Why invest in your earned media?
- How do you build an earned media strategy?
- How do you amplify earned media on social?
- What tools and resources can you use to support your earned media strategy?
We've pulled a few highlights and takeaways from the Twitter chat to share with you here.
Why Invest in Earned Media?
The best way to gain brand awareness is through word-of-mouth. If your product or service is as excellent as you believe it to be, others should pick up on it quickly and will want to recommend it to others. Get your audience talking and others will quickly catch on.
A1 - In addition to awareness, brands gain increased authority and credibility in their industry. It’s one thing to talk about yourself, but when someone else does it for you, that’s a whole different ballgame! ⚾ #SMTLive— Agility PR Solutions (@AgilityPRS) June 22, 2021
Earned media is trusted. A recent report showed 83% of consumers say they trust digital word-of-mouth more than content produced by advertisers.
Additionally, you can learn a lot from what people are saying about you. Tracking what others are saying about your brand can help you learn more about brand sentiment, help you make informed brand decisions and adjust your marketing strategy, and generally learn more about your audience.
A2: Brands gain visibility from earned media. Tracking and measuring earned media contributes to a greater marketing strategy. #SMTLive— Pavel Stepanov (@pavelStepanov77) June 22, 2021
A1: Numbers can say a lot and provide necessary information to help make informed decisions on what (or what not) to do for your marketing plan, goals and where to focus your efforts. #SMTLive— Maria Dehne (@mdehne34) June 22, 2021
How to Create an Earned Media Plan
Step 1: Set goals.
A3 - Start with your brand’s goals and how PR can help achieve them. This first step will determine your target audience & the outlets/journalists/influencers you’ll want to connect with to successfully reach them. More on this in our free guide: https://t.co/uvIEGATKdg #SMTLive— Agility PR Solutions (@AgilityPRS) June 22, 2021
Step 2: Define value.
In order to track and monitor your efforts, you will need to define the value of earned media for your business.
Step 3: Make a plan.
An important focus for earned media plans should be relationship building. Both the who and how you will connect with organizations or individuals should be considered.
In terms of how to reach people and build relationships, try using multiple of the following methods.
A5: Tag relevant people/handles/channels | respond, ask questions and be social within the social media channels to continue building relationships | utilize relevant hashtags on social media posts | #SMTLive— Maria Dehne (@mdehne34) June 22, 2021
A4: Create high-quality pitches. It should always be value-driven for reporters or outlets you are reaching to. Show them that they will benefit from the content you are sending them. #SMTLive— VirtuDesk (@virtudeskcom) June 22, 2021
A4 - Engage respectfully with journalists on social and make sure you follow the reporters and producers in your industry that you may one day want to pitch. #SMTLive— Agility PR Solutions (@AgilityPRS) June 22, 2021
A4: Aside from pitching, networking is also a good strategy to encourage earned media. Developing relationships important if you want your brand to be mentioned and known. #SMTLive— Pavel Stepanov (@pavelStepanov77) June 22, 2021
Note: If you have a separate marketing and PR team, this is an initiative that benefits when both teams join forces.
A final thing to keep in mind while planning: make sure your social media presence aligns with your brand and supports your earned media strategy.
A2 - Journalists may look to see what your online presence is like, so keep your social up to date and make sure there’s no major disconnect between what you say about yourself and what others say about you. #SMTLive— Agility PR Solutions (@AgilityPRS) June 22, 2021
A Plan in Action
By this point, you've put a lot of time and effort into planning. It's time to act and initiate conversations.
Once people start talking about your business, it would be a shame to lose that momentum. Use your social media platforms to connect with these people and organizations and amplify your earned media.
A2: Increase the reach of your earned media by sharing it on your social channels! #SMTLive— Biteable (@biteable) June 22, 2021
A5: don't be afraid to share it and toot your own horn! ????the key is getting into a good rhythm: for every post championing "you," offset with a few "selfless" posts that help your audience on their journey. #SMTLive— studioID (@thestudio_id) June 22, 2021
It's simple. Share that content!
Keeping Track of Your Earned Media
The only real way to keep track of all these conversations is to invest in a platform that can monitor mentions and conversations for you.
A7 - A cloud-based media monitoring platform that includes all major media types (social, online, broadcast and print) will make tracking your coverage simple and efficient ✅. #SMTLive— Agility PR Solutions (@AgilityPRS) June 22, 2021
Earned media can help your business grow tremendously. Although pitching your brand can be intimidating, it's a skill you will be glad you learned to utilize wherever your career takes you.
For more advice on pitching journalists, Agility PR Solutions put together this guide to help marketing and PR teams in their efforts to generate more earned media. How to Get Journalists to Open, Click, and Love Your Email Pitch.