How Does Earned Media Work? Master Guide


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Earned media can be a great way for you to gain publicity offline and online.

What’s earned media?

Earned content (also called earned content or even free media) refers to content written by third parties about your company and published on channels that you don’t control such as social media posts.

This content is not something that you can buy or possess. It must be earned.

In the pre-digital age, earning earned media was difficult. Companies of all sizes can now earn earned media.

Keep reading to learn more about earned media, and see some examples!

Kobe Digital can help build an earned media strategy.

What’s earned media?

Earned media refers to content that is not owned or paid for by you.

Five examples of earned media 

Do you want to learn more about earned media? Here are some examples of earned media.

  1. Third-party users may share your content or your business’s on social media 
  2. A feature of a roundup article
  3. Articles about your products or business on an unaffiliated site
  4. Third-party unaffiliated site links to your website. Or shout
  5. Third-party unaffiliated service review

It is important to understand the differences between paid and owned media before you start thinking about earning media examples. 

Earned Media: Why you shouldn’t pay

It is easy to ask “Well, could you not pay for a review or blog post, tweet, or review?” Some companies do. However, this strategy of trying to attract paid media as earned media rarely works.

Mazda, an automaker, created a blog to promote its brand. The blog was run by an outside party.

Buying earned media can damage your company’s brand and reputation Instead of paying for earned media, you should offer excellent customer service, engage with social media users and reach out to local publishers

Paid media vs. Earned media

Understanding earned media means understanding the difference between owned and paid media.

Owned Media

As you may already know from the name, owned media refers to content that your company owns or has retail access to. 

Paid Media

Paid Media is anything you pay to reach customers. Paid Media is any transaction that involves money before reaching customers.

Earned Media

Earned media is content related to your business that has not been published on properties owned by you and for which you did not pay. 

Actionable media – Earned, owned, and paid

Earned media, owned media, and paid media can all be combined, even though they may have different purposes. 

Create an infographic about a topic that is very popular in your industry.

  • Owned media. The infographic is shared on your blog and your social media platforms.
  • Earned Media: Next, you email editors of news sites and blogs that your readers follow to inform them that the infographic has been published. You can then encourage them to publish it on their websites.
  • Paid media. You launch a campaign on social media to drive people toward your infographic. These are considered paid media because you pay for views, clicks, and traffic.

Use owned, earned, and paid media to achieve the best results with your marketing efforts.

What makes earned Media valuable?

Sometimes earned media can be a result of a company doing something newsworthy. But, it’s more common to be the result of outreach or research than simply publishing it on your site.

Don’t waste your time.

Earned media has the greatest advantage, down to it. Customers know that posts and articles on their sites are meant to promote your products or services, and will sometimes be biased.

Earned Media is where readers can see that editors and site owners have considered your content worthy of publishing or discussing. Authors don’t have to publish inaccurate information about your brand.

Earned media is a way to reach more people than just your site content.

If you have a large corporation with a long history of online presence, it is unlikely that you will attract more than a few thousand visitors per month. They will convert if they are qualified. A single article on a popular industry site can earn up to 20,000 readers in a single day.

Earned Media can increase brand awareness, and, if there’s positive coverage, interest in your products and services

Many reputable websites will include links to your site in their content. Your rankings could be affected by links from websites in your industry.

How to earn media for your brand

Do you want to “earn” earned media after you’ve understood the definition?

These five steps will get you started on your earned media strategy.

1. Socializing should become a regular part of your day

Earned media strategies are possible to be implemented via social networks like Instagram and Facebook.

Social media can be used for reaching your target market and interacting with clients. Engaging industry experts like bloggers and thought leaders can help you improve your earned media and marketing strategies.

Take the time to connect with others on social media.

2. Share valuable content

Without content, your earned media strategy will be incomplete.

It is possible to expect problems if your content doesn’t appeal to people. People should have reasons to share your content.

Think about what motivates and interests your audience.

How do you keep your users engaged? Interactive content is a great way to get them excited.

3. Meet industry insiders

Outreach is an important part of earned media campaigns.

It will make your job easier to network with industry professionals like bloggers, thought leaders, or others. They can get to know you and respect your content.

It is possible for people in your industry to not be available to help you. These people won’t be able to build relationships with you as part of an earned media strategy.

4. Become your audience’s favorite brand

Your audience can influence your earned media strategy and overall success.

Your audience will love and respect you. You will be a favorite brand.

You can improve the feelings of your customers towards your brand by doing these things:

  • Respond quickly to customer questions via email and social media
  • Customers should treat you as people and not machines
  • High-quality products and services
  • A simplified customer experience, such as payments, purchases, and other matters

While your audience may not be immediately captivated by your brand, this initiative can have an impact on the long-term success of your business.

5. Be ready to fail

Earned media can be one of the most challenging aspects of online marketing.

Be prepared for failure. There are times when your business might not be able to respond to industry bloggers. Sometimes, you may launch content that gets very few shares. 

Learn from your failures and create a list of takeaways. How can you improve?

Are you ready to use earned media within your business?

Earned media can be a valuable tool for any company’s marketing strategy. It can be hard to get earned media. Kobe Digital can help.

Our experienced earned media team has many decades of experience helping clients build relationships with editors and site owners.

Contact us today to speak with a strategist about how your company can start to gain coverage on other websites that will help you grow your brand.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.