We have more media options today than ever before. And even though the media landscape may be constantly evolving, what hasn’t is the huge impact earned media efforts can have on your campaign. Getting your story shared via third party is still vital to campaign success. According to AdAge, media relations strategies that complement marketing activities generate 10x to 50x more conversions of standard advertising campaigns. So, if you’re not pitching, you’re losing.
Grow your credibility
Recommendations go a long way in helping move customers down the funnel. If faced with two brand options with the same attributes, which one are you more likely to purchase? The product you read a positive article about with or the one you’ve never heard of before? We know from research that third party validation is the most effective tool in encouraging audiences or customers to take action, making earned media an important tool for this. Having your message shared by credible, third parties will build trust in your brand with audiences and keep you top of mind.
Make that stone bleed
Great strategies integrate owned, earned, and paid efforts. And if you’re going to take the time to create the content, make sure it’s working for you. To break through the heavily saturated financial services industry, Atlantic credit unions created a social experiment to demonstrate their values of honesty, trust, and fairness. The experiment generated national media attention and was the top trending story in Canada the day it was released—leveraging the existing campaign content—making it a great example of how leveraging owned assets with paid and earned efforts can help amplify your message.
Become the one people expect
Good PR is all about sharing stories that resonate with an audience. And earned media can help you get in front of those audiences. It helps you position yourself or your brand as a thought leader within your industry, and it can go a long way toward building your brand and gaining exposure to new audiences.
A great example of this is Dove’s research on “The Truth About Beauty.” Dove leveraged data/stats about women’s interpretation of their personal beauty to create a campaign that gained international attention. The wildly successful campaign received countless media impressions and positioned the brand as advocate for real beauty. The campaign was even a segment the Oprah Winfrey show. And you can’t put a price on the Oprah effect.
Make the most of your budget
Remember that Lincoln MKX campaign featuring Matthew McConaughey? It’s a great example of how earned media efforts help you get the most bang for your buck. In addition to the video campaign generating lots of word of mouth interest, the campaign generated countless media impressions in the form of viral parodies and was even featured on Saturday Night Live and the Ellen Show.
These parodies generated nearly 20 million views. By comparison, the original four videos posted by Lincoln generated only around five million views. That’s a lot of free publicity! And that’s of the great things about earned media is that it’s earned, that is, not paid. These parodies and coverage fully benefited the Lincoln brand at no expense to them.
Grow your customer base
Earned media has proven to have exponential impact on growing your customer base. Apple has built an entire empire based on a marketing strategy that uses earned media to build credibility and consumer awareness. Clearly it’s an effective strategy as the tech giant continues to dominate earned media coverage around product launches with their products often selling out after launch.
The digital era has certainly shaken the media landscape, but not in a bad way. It’s estimated 90% of web traffic comes from unpaid earned media. Thanks to search engines, media coverage now lives on the internet forever and acts as a time capsule for third party sources of stories about your organization. When future prospects are searching your brand, the compilation of these news stories pop up, which provides a great platform for future search opportunities and sharable content.
Bottom line, earned media should not be overlooked and should play an integral part of your overall strategy because it can be a highly effective tool with huge impact that helps you further amplify and make the most of your campaign strategy and content.