The New Definition of Earned Media
July 14, 2015
Let’s say you’ve been given the task of getting the word out about your organization, your new product, service or event. Whew! That’s not an easy job. Where do you start? Well, I’d say there are three types of “media” to consider. In today’s world, we’re seeing a convergence, but here’s how I would describe them in their simplest form.
Paid, Owned and Earned
- Paid media is primarily advertising of all types including promoted stories, videos, tweets and Tumblr posts. You pay for this type of exposure.
- Owned media is the content that you share on your website, your blog, your social media accounts or any other materials you create such as videos, posters or pamphlets. Owned media also includes all the brand journalism you produce. This has become increasingly popular as a means of connecting directly with the public and bypassing journalists all together.
- Earned media is the fruit of your media relations efforts. This type of coverage is like a third party endorsement.
- For maximum impact, you’ll often try to use all three.
You’ve just struck gold.
Earned media coverage has a strong impact that can often sway public opinion. The long standing argument has been that it makes you more legitimate. I would say that even in today’s convergent digital world, it still gives you a level of credibility that no amount of paid advertising or owned media can achieve. And, these days with the shifting media landscape, the term earned media means a lot more than it did even a few years ago. It has to some degree been re-defined.
Traditional media vs social media
Earned media used to mean an article or a photo and caption in a newspaper, an interview on the radio or a story on a TV newscast. But now, earned coverage also means a mention by an influential blogger. And, with social media, it can mean a “like” or an opinion shared on Facebook or a tweet or re-tweet sent out on Twitter particularly by an influencer with a large following. Maybe it’s a shared photo on Instagram, Pinterest or any of the other social sharing networks. Nowadays, if you want to amplify your message and extend your reach, you need to use different channels. And, social media has become a larger part of the mix. It has been in many ways a game-changer.
Hone your media relations skills.
If you’re looking for earned media coverage, you need to update your media relations skills. The media playing field has changed and you need to learn the new rules if you want to properly target journalists, bloggers and social influencers. You need to understand and adapt to the new reality where, more than ever, the emphasis will be on building relationships.