Earned media should be an integral part of any thought leadership program.
Yes, you should be creating content on your blog and social handles to establish thought leadership and build an audience. Yes, paid media like sponsored social posts and paid search can boost your visibility.
But nothing compares to earned media and its ability to quickly establish your reputation, boost your thought leadership, and validate your business.
Yes, major media is in flux and in search of platforms and audiences, but news stories and stories by outside experts still drive the bulk of conversations, and they’re what’s shared on social day in and day out.
If you’re not pursuing earned media, you could be missing big opportunities. Here’s why you should add this strategy to your marketing and communications plan in 2018.
WHAT IS EARNED MEDIA?
Attention you’ve earned—not paid for. Examples include media coverage, bylined articles, and organic social media mentions.
Some is created by others—interviews with reporters, sharing of content by followers on social media—while some is created by you—drafting byline columns that appear on Forbes and other outlets, for example.
All of them help feed a thought leadership campaign that makes your brand and your leaders more visible, authentic, and trusted authorities.
WHY EARNED MEDIA IS IMPORTANT
Like influencer marketing, earned media adds to your credibility and leverages an established audience to spread your message and perspective.
It can net you recognition, website visits, the occasional backlink, and greater relevance that can attract customers, investors, and partners. It helps with:
- Reach. Even trade outlets can have tens and hundreds of thousands of viewers per month. When they share stories on their social channels, through email newsletters, and through apps, the stories spread even further. Writing bylined articles for one of these outlets can extend the reach of your message to a ready audience. By targeting the publications that your customers read, you can step right in front of them and catch their attention.
- Third-party validation. People expect you to talk about how your business is changing the world. When a skeptical reporter tells the same story, however, it bolsters your credibility. When an influencer takes the time to share your content or call attention to your product, it raises your profile.
- Growing thought leadership. If you want to own a space, whether it’s cyber security, AI, sports tech, or another topic, earned media is one of the quickest ways to establish yourself as a go-to resource on your subject matter. Both by interviewing with reporters and writing your own content to appear in influential publications, you can create a feedback loop that results in more opportunities and recognition of your expertise.
BUILD OUT AN EARNED MEDIA STRATEGY IN 2018
Earned media can be difficult to get. One of the keys to a successful PR program is knowing the right targets: which journalists and which outlets will be interested in your story, but also which ones are best for reaching your target audience.
The gatekeepers include influencers, reporters, and editors who have inboxes brimming with requests and ideas. Breaking through the clutter is about knowing what will interest that person and how best to position the story.
But that high bar to entry is a marker of quality. Earned media can land your most influential and the most impactful results.
It validates, it elevates, it shapes perception, and by adding it to your overall marketing and communications program, you can grow your influence and become known in your industry.
Want to get started? Get in touch and let’s talk about what earned media could do for your business.