The Power Of Earned Media

Regarding the growth of a company, there’s a saying in business familiar to many: “If you can’t build it, buy it.” Though advisory in nature, the saying comes with a nuanced implication: buying a business is a lot easier than building one. 

The same can be said for marketing tactics. When a business’ needs for awareness are acute, they’ll often engage in paid marketing to immediately drive eyeballs to their brand. But everyone knows you paid for it. And it’s a make-or-break scenario. The latter often the prevailing outcome for lesser-known companies. The better long-term strategy? Building organic brand awareness which can only come through earned media activity like public relations, social media management and content creation. 

The power of earned media far outweighs that of paid advertising efforts.

Builds Credibility

Buy an ad and everyone knows you paid for it. Earn coverage in a well-known news outlet and it provides validation for your brand. To put it in a different context, prior to the digital era, if a company bought an ad in a magazine, its shelf life ended when the magazine’s next issue hit the mail. Earn coverage in that magazine and a business might frame it and put it on its office walls. The third-party validation from the journalist not only drives the same awareness as the paid ad but also substantiates to those not aware of your company why they should become customers. 

Limitless Reach

The way paid media is valued hasn’t changed in decades. Newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations priced their advertising inventory based on their readerships and viewerships. Similarly digital ads are priced based on the number of people (or accounts) you’d like to reach. Yet earned media’s reach is limitless — particularly given that it’s now all digitized. An organic news story or post always has viral potential. Social media supercharges that potential. In fact, the more a post gets viewed on social media, it’s identified by its algorithms and put on more account feeds. 

Only earned media offers that viral potential. 

Earned Helps Paid — And It’s Not Reciprocated

It’s important when considering your marketing mix to explore the positive impacts of a paid campaign, as noted above. But without an earned strategy, your paid efforts will run into a dead end. For companies unknown to their target audiences, the immediate response after being targeted by a paid ad is to do research. Whether you’re a consumer or B2B brand, your clients, customers and users unilaterally want to know that your company can be trusted. 

How do customers do their research? They Google your company. So it’s important for those search queries to return results outside of those on your company’s website. Searches that populate news articles carry the kind of validation your business prospects seek.