3 Drawbacks of Earned Media and How to Plan for Them

As you create your content marketing plan and look ahead to the different types of media available to you, you’ll also probably consider how you can best leverage them. We’re talking about owned media, paid media, and the coveted earned media.


Earned media is, of course, media or coverage that you earn. Your reputation, actions, or content attracts your audience to engage with and talk about your business. Earned media occurs when a third party talks about your business online. They can do that by sharing your content, linking to your site, talking about you in a social media post, or even by leaving an online review.

Now there are many advantages to earned media. When someone else talks about your business in a favorable way, people listen. As consumers, we’re much more likely to trust the word and opinion of a peer or an associate over messages that come directly from the company. If a friend recommends ABC Diet Soda, you’re more likely to try the soda than if you saw an ABC Soda ad or if you read one of their social media posts.

And the traffic and conversion benefits of earned media have been well studied and documented. But not everything is rosy and positive in the world of earned media. Sometimes you get unfavorable earned media. So, things like negative reviews and complaints about your company on social media can be frustrating. One of the biggest drawbacks to earned media is that it’s out of your control. It can also be difficult to receive. So, let’s explore these three main drawbacks to earned media and talk about how to plan for them.

  1. Negative Earned Media – You absolutely must expect that this will happen, so you need to have a plan in place to remedy it as quickly as possible. Implement real-time tracking methods so that you are notified the moment someone mentions your brand online. Have a plan in place to react to both favorable and unfavorable earned media. This will help you turn negative comments around whenever possible, and it will engage and build your brand around those positive comments as well.
  2. No Control Over Earned Media – You can only control your owned and paid media. What someone else says is beyond your control. However, you can control the message that you put out into the world, you can control your customer service and your response to earned media, and you can control how you do business. Streamline your message and make sure it’s consistent throughout every aspect of your business.
  3. Earned Media is Difficult to Obtain – It can be difficult to get people to talk about your business. Give them something to talk about. Be exceptional. Ask for feedback and reviews. Engage them online and consistently produce valuable content.

Earned media is a surefire business builder. When you have a plan in place you can leverage the benefits and reduce the impact of potential drawbacks. Make sure you have a plan in place to create a consistent message, that you work hard to produce exceptional content and user experiences, and that you are prepared to respond quickly to favorable and unfavorable comments.

Call us today to speak to one of our PR specialists: 1-800-713-7278

Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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