We’ve spent our careers educating companies about the power of earned media, especially as it compares to paid advertising. Don’t get us wrong, paid advertising certainly has its place in a marketing mix, but earned media’s power cannot be understated. There is nothing that influences potential buyers quite like third-party validation and endorsement.
So, what constitutes “earned media?” It’s not necessarily a phrase you hear very often if you don’t spend a considerable amount of time in marketing circles. When we say, “earned media,” we’re referring to media exposure that is not paid for, hence “earned.” The secret sauce is finding ways to earn that media exposure without having to buy an ad. That’s where having an experienced marketer in your corner goes a long, long way. Since 2006, Black Twig Marketing + Communications has been refining the best strategies to earn media for our clients. Here are just a few examples of how we approach it.
- News Releases – This is perhaps one of the most traditional ways to earn media exposure. News outlets are always looking for industry news. If your company has something to announce, putting together a well-crafted news release can be very effective. New hires, acquisitions, awards, special events, and partnerships are all good reasons to distribute a news release. It gets your name out there and, in some cases, a nice backlink to your website.
- Bylined Articles – This tactic is mainly used in the Business-to-Business space. Trade publications and news outlets love to hear from experts. It certainly makes their job a bit easier when they are tasked with putting together a monthly magazine for subscribers or industry members. Additionally, editors understand that to get the very best expertise on a topic, it makes a lot of sense to accept contributions from experts in the field. Most outlets will ask that these kinds of contributions be “non-promotional.” This is completely understandable. If their audience is reading an article, they don’t want it to be a biased piece that just touts the successes of one individual or company. However, just by demonstrating expertise on a topic, you’re earning the readers’ trust, and when they inevitably glance at the author/bio they’ll see the company name. This is an incredibly effective tool to increase brand awareness.
- Success Stories/Case Studies – Similar to bylined articles, these are geared toward Business-to-Business trade publications. However, these can be a bit more self-promoting. The nature of a success story is that it delivers an overview, challenge and solution that your company had when tackling a job or project. You’re able to tout the great work you did and show off the skill set of your staff. Many times, these success stories are image heavy. As you’ve heard many times, a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Q&A – Sometimes, editorial pieces just work better as Q&A sessions. The best part about this kind of earned media is that many outlets allow you to write the questions and answers. It reads like an interview, but you’re able to put yourself in the very best position to get your messaging across, because you’re deciding which questions are being asked.
Do you have earned media somewhere in your marketing mix? Should you? Reach out to us and we’ll walk you through what will work best for your company and the kind of messaging you’re trying to spread.