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4 Easy Ways to Start Growing Earned Media
Published on 5/18/2016 by Brittni Castilaw
Marketers get really excited when they “earn” media. We all know the most trusted form of media is from a 3rd party, however, many marketers hold on to a hope that they will see a mention in their weekly Google Alerts and pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Earned media takes a strategy. But more importantly, it takes execution.
Without a concerted effort to plan, implement and ultimately execute an earned media strategy, brands are betting on luck – we all know that luck doesn’t happen without hard work.
It’s time for marketers to take control of their earned media destiny. By doing so, they will quickly see measurable, revenue-generating results.
Our team of content licensing managers work with thousands of brands on a weekly basis, helping them plan a strategy to leverage their earned, 3rd party mentions.
But let us give some insight on how to actually get earned media.
4 Easy Ways to Start Growing Earned Media
1. Apply for Awards
When brands win industry awards, this has a great impact on their audience. A 3rd party media outlet typically conducts the research needed to put together an unbiased list of winners within a certain industry.
Did you know that several industry awards happen annually, and you typically have to provide supporting documentation to even be considered?
This is a huge opportunity for marketers. Be proactive in researching these award programs that align with your business and have a plan in place. Oftentimes, you can’t win unless you apply.
Create a spreadsheet of all industry awards, the associated media outlet, the date materials are due, entry fees, and any other notes relevant to the award program. Carefully maintain this list and plan ahead to submit materials in order to be “in the running” for your product or service.
The media companies that handle these award programs aren’t going to magically find your company, do perform the due diligence in order to give your brand the best shot at winning an award - set yourself apart from your competition.
2. Invest in Tradeshows
Tradeshows are extremely important when it comes to earned media. The key is to work your tradeshows properly, keeping your earned media strategy in place.
Exhibit Booth – The best type of earned media doesn’t happen during tradeshows without booth space. Think of your booth as a hub for prospects, “brand fans” and journalists to stop by and learn more about what you do. These short interviews or even product demos can result in earned media from your booth visitors.
Brand Sponsorships - Consider purchasing additional sponsor packages to increase your brand awareness during the show. You’ve spent the time and resources to get to the show, so why not go big and invest in a branding sponsorship package to increase awareness during the event?
Plan Content – Create solid content during these events. Others will want to share your content and talk about your brand, therefore increasing your probability of earning media. Some of the best tradeshow content types include:
- Case Studies
- Product Demos
- Press Releases
Social Media – Nearly every event has a hashtag. Use that hashtag and aim to be the leader in promoting the event on social media. This includes promoting your owned media, as well as live tweeting during keynotes and other sessions. You’ll gain retweets and shares – which is earned media.
Product Launches - Want people to talk about your brand? Consider launching your latest product during the event. Journalists and brand enthusiasts will not only write about it, they might take videos, photos or interviews during your launch event.
3. Deliver Great Content
Earned media starts with a well thought-out owned media strategy. Create content that answers questions and targets your specific audience. You will see others distribute your content and that will lead to earned media. By delivering custom-created content within your industry, you’re establishing your brand as a thought leader within your space.
Publications will reference CEO quotes, product highlights or even guest contributors from your company – all of this starts with a solid content marketing strategy.
4. Budget for Earned Media
This is one of the most important factors of your earned media strategy. Without budgeting for the licensing fees associated with this type of content, brands will be unable to effectively leverage the opportunities after they have actually earned the media.
Many times, marketers will get excited when their brand wins a 3rd party award, yet they typically send out an internal email and let it stop there.
By aligning your brand with a trusted media outlet like Mashable, for example, you are building trust across your brand while increasing revenue.
Not sure how to use your earned media? Here are some ideas:
- Reprints or Eprints of the article to distribute at marketing events
- Pull quotes to use in marketing campaigns
- Award logo licenses to use across your marketing channels
- Promotional items like lapel pins or company apparel
- Social media promotions and campaigns
- SEM campaigns to aid with higher click-through rates
- Plaques to tout your brand’s earned media
- Pop-up banners to display in-store or at industry tradeshows
- Point-of-purchase displays
- Advertising campaigns
- Investor kits
When it comes to earned media – you must have a strategy to be successful. Without a plan that can be executed, your entire earned media strategy will be contingent on luck. Take these steps to begin earning media, then be ready to run with it!