Earned Media: PR That Offers Credibility and Validation

Earned media refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid advertising or advertorial. This can include mentions, shares, coverage of a brand, product, or service by third-party sources whether these are journalists, bloggers, influencers, or customers.

Earned media is considered more credible and trustworthy because it is not simply paid for by the company or brand being promoted. Examples of earned media include news articles, social media mentions, reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations. It often results from the quality and impact of the brand's products, services, or actions, as well as from effective public relations and marketing strategies.

Earned media is important for several reasons:

Credibility: Earned media often comes from independent sources such as journalists, influencers, or satisfied customers, which enhances its credibility. Consumers tend to trust recommendations and mentions from these sources more than paid advertisements, as they perceive them as more genuine and unbiased.

Amplification: Earned media can also significantly extend the reach of a brand's message. When content is shared by influential individuals or picked up by popular media outlets, it can reach a much larger audience than the brand could reach through its owned channels alone. This amplification effect can lead to increased brand awareness and exposure.

ROI: While earned media requires investment in strategies such as public relations and influencer marketing, the actual exposure gained through these efforts typically comes at little to no direct cost. Compared to paid advertising for example, or advertorials, - which require ongoing expenditure - earned media can offer a more cost-effective way to generate brand visibility and engagement.

Engagement and Trust-building: Earned media often sparks conversations and interactions among consumers, fostering engagement with the brand. Positive mentions and reviews from trusted sources can help build trust and credibility with potential customers, leading to higher levels of brand loyalty and advocacy over time.

Proof of Concept: When a brand receives positive coverage or endorsements from reputable sources, it serves as validation of the brand's value proposition and quality. This social proof can reassure consumers and help them make informed purchasing decisions, particularly in crowded or competitive markets.

Overall, earned media plays a crucial role in shaping perceptions, influencing consumer behaviour, and driving brand growth in today's highly interconnected and information-rich digital landscape.

For startups, earned media can offer several significant benefits:

Good Use of Budget: Startups often have limited budgets for marketing and advertising. Earned media provides an opportunity to gain visibility and exposure without the hefty price tag associated with paid advertising. By securing coverage in media outlets, blogs, or social media channels, startups can reach a broader audience at little to no direct cost.

Credibility: Establishing credibility and trust is crucial for startups, especially in competitive markets where consumer trust can be hard to earn. Earned media, particularly positive reviews, mentions, or endorsements from reputable sources, can lend credibility to a startup's brand and offerings. Consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from third-party sources, which can help startups build trust with potential customers.

Validation: Earned media can generate conversations and interactions among audiences, creating opportunities for startups to engage with potential customers directly. When people see positive mentions or reviews of a startup's products or services, it can validate the startup's value proposition and encourage further exploration or engagement. This is true for both potential customers and partners and investors.

Market Differentiation: Startups often face the challenge of standing out in crowded markets. Earned media coverage can help differentiate a startup from its competitors by highlighting its unique value proposition, innovative solutions, or compelling story. Positive coverage in the media can position a startup as a thought leader or disruptor in its industry, attracting attention and interest from potential customers, investors, and partners.

Momentum: Securing earned media coverage creates momentum for a startup by generating buzz and interest around its brand and offerings. Positive coverage can lead to increased website traffic, social media followers, and inbound inquiries, driving growth and awareness for the startup. Additionally, media coverage can attract the attention of potential investors, partners, or collaborators, helping startups accelerate their growth trajectory.

Overall, earned media can be a valuable asset for startups looking to establish their presence, build credibility, and drive growth in competitive markets. By leveraging the power of third-party endorsements and media coverage, startups can maximize their visibility, engage with audiences, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. And the beauty of it is that it need not cost the earth.

If you want to explore how to achieve earned media for your startup or SME, simply email me here to line up a call.