What is Earned Media, and Why is it Valuable for a Business?

Earned Media Measurement for PR

Businesses have multiple options for promoting their brand and reaching their target audience. Earned media is one of these options. It involves organic or unpaid exposure and coverage for a brand.

What is earned media?

Earned media encompasses the mentions, reviews, features, and recommendations that a brand receives from third-party sources such as journalists, influencers, bloggers, and customers. Unlike paid media, which involves advertising and promotional efforts that require financial investment, earned media is the result of positive brand recognition and reputation earned through various channels. It’s essentially the result of others talking about and endorsing a brand organically. The value of earned media for a business lies in its credibility and trustworthiness. When a brand is mentioned or recommended by a reputable source or an influential individual, it carries more weight and credibility compared to self-promotion through paid advertising. This is because earned media is seen as more authentic and unbiased, as it’s based on the experiences and opinions of others rather than the brand’s own messaging.

Increased brand awareness

Earned media boosts brand visibility and expands audience reach. When a brand gets featured or mentioned in a publication or shared by a popular social media account, it reaches a fresh pool of potential customers who may not have known about it before. This increases brand recognition and awareness, driving more traffic and potential customers to the business.

Establishing credibility and trust

As mentioned earlier, earned media carries a higher level of credibility and trust among consumers. When a brand receives positive reviews or recommendations from trusted sources, it helps build trust and credibility for the brand. People are more likely to trust the opinions and experiences of others rather than solely relying on the brand’s own marketing messages.

Cost-effective marketing

One of the significant advantages of earned media is that it’s typically free or involves minimal costs compared to paid media efforts. While it may require investments in public relations and influencer outreach, the return on investment can be substantial. By focusing on building relationships with journalists, influencers, and customers, businesses can generate positive word-of-mouth and media coverage without significant financial investments.

Greater audience engagement

Earned media often sparks conversations and interactions among the audience. When people see positive reviews or mentions of a brand, they are more likely to engage with the content, share it with others, and even start discussions around it. This can lead to increased social media engagement, comments, likes, and shares.

Earned media vs. paid media

Earned media is generally acquired through organic means and doesn’t require direct financial investments. On the other hand, paid media involves paying for advertising space or sponsored content on various platforms such as social media, search engines, or publications. In earned media, the brand doesn’t have full control over the messaging and content since it’s generated by third-party sources. In paid media, the brand has complete control over the messaging and creative content of the advertisements. Earned media is perceived as more credible and trustworthy since it comes from independent sources. Paid media, although it can still be effective, may be seen as biased or self-promotional by some audiences. Paid media allows businesses to have more control over the reach and targeting of their advertisements. They can specify the audience demographics, interests, and behaviors they want to target. Earned media, on the other hand, relies on the reach and audience of the sources or influencers mentioning the brand.

Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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