How an Earned Media Strategy Can Drive Business Performance

How an Earned Media Strategy Can Drive Business Performance

Contemporary media outlets, including digital publications, social media platforms and online forums, have changed the way brands interact and engage with their stakeholders.

A recent Cision webinar discussed the impact an earned media strategy can have on the success of your organization. An increasing number of brands have realized the value behind the growing media landscape and are using it to their advantage through a strategic brand awareness initiative focused on earned media.

Content marketing generates more than three times the amount of leads produced by outbound marketing and costs 62% less than paid content and advertising. This is not to say that outbound initiatives aren’t also an effective tool to incorporate into an integrated marketing plan, but in 2019, nearly 26% of all Internet users have installed ad blockers, further contributing to the challenges online advertisers face.

What is Earned Media and Why Is It Important?

Earned media, or earned content, are non-paid mentions of brands from third-party sources that boost awareness of your organization. Whether this is in the form of a blog, article, or online review, earned content is critical in gaining public trust.

The continued growth of online and social media platforms allows individuals to voice their opinions for the entire world to see, and believe it or not, these opinions matter. Not only do they affect your company’s reputation, but they also strongly influence the decisions of potential customers. According to HubSpot, 70% of people say they’d rather learn about new products through content over traditional advertising.

How to Develop an Effective Earned Media Strategy

Earned content has proven to grow brand awareness, reputation and appreciation over time. Additionally, maintaining meaningful relationships with journalists and other stakeholders will help to secure the integrity and respect of your organization should a crisis occur. Without a loyal stakeholder base established, reputation management can prove to be especially challenging in the wake of a crisis.

Journalists are not the only audience you should be targeting with earned media campaigns though. You should also make it a priority to communicate with existing and potential stakeholders, such as investors, customers and employees.

Measuring the Success of an Earned Media Campaign

While earned media has many qualitative results that can support your business goals, it is important to also consistently analyze the key metrics and measurable results your earned media campaign is delivering to assess its overall effectiveness and success. Here are the metrics to keep in mind when building your earned media process and a few questions to ask yourself when measuring the results:

Type of Mention

  • Is the content negative, positive or neutral?
  • Which outlet was the article first published in?
  • Does your target audience read this publication?
  • If so, will it have an effect on your brand image?

Share-of-Voice Over Time

  • Are you keeping up with competitor coverage?
  • How does your brand’s share-of-voice compare to that of competitors?
  • Have any competitors seen an increase in coverage over the last year?

Article Amplification

  • Who is reading your earned media content?
  • Did any industry influencers share the article?
  • What was the reach of the article?

SEO Impact

  • Is your brand benefitting from organic searches?
  • Are you using keywords in your brand messaging?

Data should remain actionable throughout your earned media campaign, so if you find yourself at a stand-still, update your strategy accordingly. Make it a priority to promote your earned media as well to boost consumer trust. No matter what industry you are in, your organization can benefit from a strategic earned media campaign.

Contact us today to learn how Pierpont can help you build an actionable and measurable earned media strategy that drives your business performance.

Bradlee Borgfeldt is an integrated communications specialist, who provides PR and marketing solutions to clients in energy, healthcare, retail and more. Since joining the Pierpont team in January 2019 as an intern, she has supported the firm and our clients through strategic media relations efforts, actionable website analytics and multi-media content creation.