What is earned media

What is earned media?

If you’ve heard any digital marketing buzzwords recently, it’s likely that one of them is ‘earned media’ – so what is earned media? Enter a question about earned media into Google and you’ll find a load of fluff about the importance of engagement and views. In this article, we’re going to answer a much more important question ‘How can earned media bring me new customers?‘.
You may well have earned media already, but it’s quite possible that you’re not calling it that or taking taking full advantage of it. If you don’t yet use earned media in your digital marketing, we’ll guide you through creating a strategy that will bring you measurable returns.

Earned media – Do you have any?

Let’s answer the simple question, what is earned media? Earned media is advertising that is not bought and paid for. Someone else generates it for you because you earned it. Examples of earned media can include

  • Online reviews on websites like TripAdvisor
  • Discussion about your brand and products on social networks and forums
  • Online referral campaigns and independent editorial

Some businesses are scared of online reviews. They worry that they’ll open their company to criticism that they would rather hide. We’d suggest the opposite approach. Engage with everyone who leaves you a review and encourage every customer to review you on an external website. If you drive customers transparently towards an independent review site, you’re far more likely to see positive reviews there, instead of a bunch of moans. And in any case, knowledge is power! Better to know what’s being said about you and to be seen to address it professionally, than to ignore it and hope for the best. The best very rarely is an outcome!

How to generate earned media

Generating earned media requires you to be brave. You need to ask your customers to review you on a website where you have no control over what is posted. If you’re not feeling totally confident about this then send invitations to a small group of customers at first – those who you know are likely to be positive about your business. You can segment that group effectively by using a feedback and net promoter score system. The clients for whom we’ve created online net promoter scoring (NPS) are seeing a huge uplift in positive online PR.
It’s important to drive your customers to the correct review site. To identify the one that will resonate best with your customers, think about your client and customer personas. Where would your potential customers go to research your product or service? If you’re not certain, then run an A/B test. An effective test will help you to identify where your efforts are most likely to pay off.

Driving sales with earned media

There’s no point in generating earned media if you don’t know if it’s driving sales. This is a multi-step process. First, take a look in your website’s Google Analytics account to identify which websites are driving traffic to you. It’s also vital that you asked your customers how they heard about you. This method isn’t foolproof, in today’s multi touch marketing and attribution environment, but it can give you a good snapshot of which earned media is generating business for you.
Earned media is just one part of an effective digital marketing strategy. If you’d like to discuss yours with one of our digital marketing scientists then please get in touch with us today.