To say that earned media is crucial to businesses of all sizes is an understatement. In many ways, earned media is the key pillar of content marketing.
Earned media is the reach and exposure that you earn outside of paid impressions and with audiences who don’t already follow your brand.
Contrary to popular belief, maximizing earned media does not require strokes of luck, tons of time, a giant social media staff, or a series of well-orchestrated events.
We believe that the most impactful earned media begins with strong relationships.
The power of earned media
An example of earned is when a journalist mentions an exciting new product or service in a newspaper article just because they believe their readers will be interested. For instance, the New Zealand Herald stumbled upon a video from rugby streaming site, FloRugby, several years ago and published this story with video embedded.
For FloRugby to pay for this type of exposure, it would cost thousands of dollars.
According to HubSpot, “57% of people in the U.S. trust what they hear from friends and family [AKA people they already trust] the most when they discover a new product.” The effects of earned media from a trusted source, therefore, can be enormous.
Earned media is most likely to occur when you’re producing useful, quality content. So the first step to earned media is knowing your audience’s interests, and the second step is producing content that aligns with those interests. A relationship goes both ways—you must give before you can receive.
3rd + Lamar’s audience includes marketers, startup leaders, filmmakers, creators, and innovators from Austin and beyond. Aligning with their interests means keeping them in the loop on marketing and production current events (through our weekly marketing roundup), breaking down marketing strategies (via our insights section), and explaining how we created various video productions and ad campaigns (in our work section).
Building relationships with influencers
Aside from the relationship with one’s audience, brands must develop relationships with trusted tastemakers.
Building relationships with influencers, in particular, is critical. When we began assisting Profound Commerce with influencer marketing, we prioritized getting to know the influencers we worked with and treating them well.
We learned their names, browsed their old posts, perused their followers, and read the comments they received.
We took the time to do this for several reasons:
- As a company, we believe in treating people with respect.
- How we treat influencers reflects back on our clients, and we want to make a good impression on their behalf.
- When you get to know an influencer’s style and audience, you can create better, more appealing content for both your client and the influencer’s audience.
It’s a win-win-win.
“Influencers appreciate it when their style and voice are taken seriously by the brand.”
-Alice Audrezet and Gwarlann de Kerviler in the Harvard Business Review
In this Harvard Business Review article, one influencer said, “When a brand contacts me, I first look at how the email starts. If it says ‘Hello’ or ‘Dear Blogger,’ I don’t even read it, and I delete the message. My name is Marion and if you follow my blog then you must know that, otherwise you are just looking to send the email to a large amount of people.”
So how do you build a relationship with an influencer? By treating them like a human being rather than like a brand.
While influencers are their own brands, they are also people, and many forget this. Don’t be transactional.
Personal connections can become long-term relationship builders. Influencers will appreciate it and will be more likely to want to work with you again.
During that project, we cultivated a relationship with him, so when we posted a case study about the work he created, he shared it with his 910k Instagram followers as a reel and a story.
The reel alone was played 231,274 times, reached 233,119 accounts, and received 6,943 likes (and counting). All for free.
Our website visits nearly doubled for the next two weeks, and we gained many new followers. Our client also received thousands of additional impressions.
Earned Media Takeaways
Below is a summary of our advice:
- Lesson 1: Know your target audience’s interests and goals.
- Lesson 2: Produce useful, high-quality content that aligns with those interests.
- Lesson 3: Treat people like people, not products to extract value from.
- Lesson 4: Reach back out to people you’ve worked with.
Need help generating earned media for your brand? Reach out to us at [email protected]. Also, sign up for emails below to get notified about future blog posts.