According to Nielsen, earned media is the most trusted form of advertising1, and it comes in many different shapes and sizes. It can include press releases, publicity from online reviews and word-of-mouth, news coverage, and social media, to name a few sources. Essentially, if you don’t pay to advertise it, it’s considered earned media.

Sadly though, not enough marketers make a cohesive effort to make earned media part of their content marketing strategy. If you fall into this category, now is the perfect time to start incorporating it into your repertoire.

According to the Nielsen study mentioned previously, 83 percent of people completely trust recommendations they get from family and friends. This data point is quite staggering and is why I wrote a blog post about the importance of dedicating resources to an online review strategy.

Another reason you should care about earned media is that it has a higher conversion rate than other forms of advertising. According to AdAge2, “When compared to traditional paid media, which yields conversion rates of 1% or less, companies that replace their paid media with trusted, highly effective earned media see conversion rates of 5% or higher.” I suspect this conversion rate will grow with younger generations who have grown up in this technological age.

Paid media is, in fact, the least trusted form of advertising. And, while I’m not saying you should abandon these tactics, I am encouraging you to rethink how you prioritize your marketing stack of paid media (print ads, online ads, sponsored blog posts and social media posts, etc.), owned media (your brand’s website, emails, social media profiles, collateral, etc.), and earned media. To be sure, an effective content marketing strategy incorporates all three of these media types. Is it time you reevaluate how much resource you are allocating to each bucket though?

For some of you, the thought of free marketing is music to your ears, and I can’t say I blame you. There’s a lot of sweat equity, however, that goes into getting “free” advertising. In order for people to write glowing reviews about your company or product, you need to give them an outstanding experience. For the press to write about your company, it needs to have a newsworthy story. To get people to promote your content on social, it needs to connect with them. How do you go about doing these things?

Depending on what your earned-media goals are, there are several different approaches. Below are just a few ideas.

  • Create really great, insightful content that is valuable to the reader and make it easy for them to share by including share and social buttons.
  • Make your clients very happy. In light of this sharing society we live in, it’s never been more important to make sure your clients have a stellar experience. Provide them easy ways to share their positive experiences.
  • Build relationships with journalists. It’s not enough just to drop press releases—although this is important, too—build relationships with journalists in your space and provide them updates on newsworthy stories.

Ultimately, earned media gives your organization the validity of a third-party, independent voice that can carry a lot of weight with your clients and potential clients. Don’t let this valuable resource escape your grasp.

Learn how TriMoxie Marketing can help you create outstanding content, newsworthy stories, and share-worthy customer experiences. Contact me today at connect@trimoxie.com.

1 https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2015/global-trust-in-advertising-2015/

2 https://adage.com/article/digitalnext/reasons-focus-earned-media/227586