The ROI of Earned Media

Every company wants a recognizable brand that establishes a positive perception among its target audiences. But what exactly is “earned media” and how can it help you achieve favored brand status?  

Earned media or “free” media, as we in the public relations field sometimes call it, is editorial copy that mentions your company and doesn’t require you to pay for costly advertising space. Essentially, it is free advertising!

And it’s free advertising with a plus because editorial copy is more powerful than advertising. Here’s why earned media delivers an incredible ROI:

  • Carries with it an implied third-party endorsement from the publication or media vehicle in which it runs.
  • Offers greater credibility because everyone knows that an editor vetted that copy before they allowed it to appear. If it includes a testimonial or quote from a customer, all the better!
  • Provides a greater share of voice among your competitors (particularly with trade media articles).
  • Positions you as an important player in your industry.
  • Educates audiences on your company, products or services.
  • Demonstrates to investors and potential acquirers that you are important enough to garner media attention.
  • Supports recruiting efforts as talent sees your company as an important industry leader.

Freely placed contributed articles or op-eds, which typically range in length from 400 to 1,200 words, are another type of earned media. When bylined by you or an executive at your company, contributed articles raise your company’s thought leadership recognition. They allow you to educate your audience and present your position exactly as you wish it to appear. Although contributed articles may rarely mention your company brand more than once, the author’s name and bio, included in a business publication, speaks to your company’s level of expertise.

Inclusion in industry analyst reports is also a type of valuable earned media, especially if they identify your company differentiators or compare your product or service benefits against those of competitors and leaders in your field. Suddenly, you’re a “player” when industry analysts include your company in reports and articles.

Perhaps best of all, earned media provides a very cost-effective way to produce lead generation. PR agency fees are comparable or less than that of most advertising agencies and you’re not paying additionally for the placement. PR professionals can take one concept and pitch it to multiple media – magazines, newsletters, broadcast, podcasts, radio, newspapers – and that concept may gain exposure within multiple outlets, with slightly different angles depending on the audience of each outlet – but each time it appears, it reinforces your brand.

With earned media, you get what you want – brand recognition, credibility, authority, and lead generation – all rolled into one affordable spend. Talk with us about earned media if you have questions.

By Beth Walsh (written by a human for humans)