Defining Earned Media – What Is Earned Media?

Earned media has been a part of many marketing plans since marketing plans came into existence. Earned media can be defined as word of mouth advertising, or free advertising. Earned media is more than just advertising without a cost. It is the excitement and engagement that develops around your brand, your company, and your expertise.

Understanding Earned Media

Experts will tell you that earned media is the positive publicity you and your company gain through efforts OTHER than paid advertising. It is the information that is often created by a third party and owned by that third party.

Earned media can include the tweets, posts, and stories shared on social media or the internet. It may be something as simple as a positive comment or a shout out to your brand. It may be something more complex like a review or detailed story crafted by influencers and brand fans on websites or social media pages.

Earned media can also come in the form of traditional news stories. Media outlets share your story or bring you on the air to share your story to their wide market of listeners.

What is NOT Earned Media

The ever-expanding information opportunities can cloud the issue of what is earned media and what is not earned media. The rise of websites, fan pages, and other internet tools has grown up a third form of media known as owned media. Owned media includes the information created on your business or personal website, the social pages you have created for your brand and other owned locations.

Content created for your sites is owned media. Content created for other websites where the writer is compensated (through a paycheck or through free products or services) is considered paid media.

More on Earned Media and Social

The internet has given rise to the idea of “going viral”. The information created generates a buzz that spreads around the internet so that the story, the company, the product, or the service is shared with enthusiasm. The story makes a connection with the readers and the readers feel the need to share that connection with others.

The fundamental element of earned media is that connection. Growing up earned media begins when you make a connection that engages or inspires others enough that those others feel the need to share that connection. It is the enthusiasm of the ones sharing that gives life to the earned media.

Earned media has an element of passion in its foundation, as well. The story has an amount of passion that drives others to share. Individuals have a passion for the brand or the product that drives them to share. There is personal engagement that makes the one sharing feel like it is his or her story that is beings shared. It is more than a product or a promotion. It has grown into a personal relationship.

Understanding earned media can help you utilize it in the marketing plan for your business. Earned media is free media driven by the passion and purpose of the users and readers.

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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