Attendees at our media training and communications seminar this week were at a loss when we asked the question, what is earned media? Nothing but blank stares. You may be wondering the same thing and whether it's important.
EARNED VS. PAID MEDIA
The answer to the second question is, Yes. It's very important. The answer to the first question is that earned media is essentially any publicity you get without paying for it. In other words, you have to "earn" it.
Earned media would include having a story written about you or your organization in your local newspaper or having your CEO quoted in a trade publication. It might be an appearance on a local radio talk show.
Why is earned media important? Because it far outweighs paid media (advertising) when it comes to credibility. A story in the media is seen as authentic objective. It carries a certain amount of cachet, especially when a story appears in a respected publication.
RISKS WITH EARNED MEDIA
That's not to say it's not without some risks. You can't control what a reporter writes about you. You can't control the tone of the article or the questions you might be asked during an interview.
But, assuming the risks are worth taking, earned media can and should be part of any marketing campaign because it can have such a huge impact with nothing out of pocket except the time you had to spend pitching your story to a reporter or editor.
Mack Communications | Twitter: @mack_comm