Traditional marketing is rooted in paid and owned media tactics that require a business to put their money up front with no set guaranteed return. Earned media is a different type of marketing avenue that allows a company to grow its brand awareness with little to no effort from its employees. Here’s how:
What is earned media?
Earned media is a reference to the exposure that your company has earned through word of mouth. It can be a combination of awesome content you have published and distributed, the organic effects of your SEO strategy, or the customer service you have given. Earned media can be as simple as a consumer tweeting about their experience with your organization; it can also be a horrible review. Whatever it is, it is not something you, as an organization, pay for directly.
Your brand earns exposure every time your company is talked about, and it’s worth mentioning that it is the most trusted form of advertising out there. The best way to describe earned media is as an online version of “word of mouth.” The recognition that you receive as a result of anything successful is earned media, and it is a valuable tool to help improve brand awareness. Typically, earned media coverage is owned and created by a third-party company or person and is not controlled by the brands that talk about it, so it helps to make it more trusted and less biased.
Earned media equals trust
The consumers of today are influenced by their friends, family, and social media. Long gone are the days when individuals share their opinions of brands in normal day-to-day conversation — replaced with Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie’s List. The internet has given individuals the option to share their opinions online with hundreds of thousands of people at a time. An audience of this size often listens and acknowledges others’ reviews to determine if they’d like to buy something.
Earned media heightens the credibility of your company by giving it the chance to highlight the brand in a good light and in many different ways. When your favorite news reporter interviews a business owner or writes an article about them, it increases the credibility of that company through the association with an individual you already trust. Earned media is often raw and unedited by a business, so it allows for a sense of transparency of the company.
Types of earned media
There are several different types of earned media that benefit a company’s bottom line. Every company with a marketing plan should focus on integrating these five strategies into their brand awareness campaign:
1. Customer Service Experience
Providing great customer service is the best and most effective way to increase your brand awareness. Since this type of media relies on word of mouth, providing a great customer service experience can help gain more lifelong loyal clients. Customer service is invaluable no matter what type of business you are running. The way you treat your consumers directly determines the profit you make as a company.
2. Social Media
Social media is what brings together you and your potential customers in the digital age. Some social media tools allow you to monitor conversations about your own brand, allowing you to jump in when you feel that you can add clarification or value.
By encouraging followers to talk about your company and spending time interacting with your audience, you provide a personalized experience with your brand.
3. Press Mentions
Despite the cliché, all press is not good press. Yes — the more times your brand is mentioned in the world the better it can be — but only if it is a good message. Anytime a reporter, journalist, or influencer mentions your brand in an article, news story, or social media post, it’s a type of valuable earned media that a community can connect with.
4. Content Sharing
Content marketing is invaluable when it comes to brand awareness campaigns. By creating valuable content that is useful and informative to your audience, you catch a consumer’s attention. When you then make that content easily shareable, useful content is the best way to make sure that it circulates appropriately. Content marketing does require some of your own, but once the initial work is done, it’s out in the world to spread your brand’s message.
5. Organic Search Result Ranking
The game of SEO is an ever-changing, complicated one. With the constant changes in algorithms, Google SERPs can change monthly. Ranking high in search results ensures that more people see your brand. To have effective SEO tactics, constantly optimize your brand’s owned media (i.e. blog posts, videos, etc). Creating and updating content is important for a successful SEO campaign because it helps you organically rank higher.
Embracing all angles of media to improve brand awareness is important. However, investing money over and over again to see little ROI can become daunting and unnecessary. Focusing your efforts into earned media is great for your budget but, most importantly, your brand awareness.