What does Donald Trump have to do with Earned Media?

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As recently as two-weeks ago, I bet if I’d asked how many people knew what the term ‘earned media’ Reportersmeant, few would have known. But thanks to Donald Trump, the word is spreading!  I heard it mentioned in two separate news stories this week alone.

There are three categories commonly used to describe the various types of media:

Paid Media, which refers to TV advertising, ads you encounter while surfing the web, direct mail, and the like.

Owned Media, which refers to your company’s own assets, such as your website, your Facebook page, blog etc.

and Earned Media, which is what Donald Trump is teaching us all about. Earned Media is news coverage, word-of-mouth, reviews. It’s called ‘earned’ because you don’t buy it (typically) or own it. Marketers love Earned Media because it’s free.

Politicians especially love Earned Media because they can gain tons of coverage without spending money they’ve raised. And Trump has lead the field by far, of any candidate ever, in free media coverage. In fact, he has hardly spent anything at all on paid media. And clearly, at least so far, he really hasn’t needed to. According to The New York Times, he has had almost $2 billion dollars’ worth of Earned Media! The downside of course is that Earned Media isn’t always positive, something Trump hasn’t seemed to care much about. In fact, it’s his shocking and ridiculous statements that bring him the most coverage…likely there’s a strategy there.

At the least, there’s a lesson here for marketers: if you make yourself newsworthy (in a positive way!), you’ll benefit. Perhaps a let-down of a payoff but think about it. If you can do something to pick up news coverage, the benefits can be immense. Give back to your community, forge an alliance with a non-for-profit that you care about, donate a part of your sales to a good cause. And make sure you find a way to get some media coverage as a result. Don’t be shy!

Sometimes it’s good to toot your own horn…and hope that others join in.

Why Earned Media is Important

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By Sue Brady

There are three types of media: Owned, Earned and Paid. All three of these media types may play an important part in your marketing strategy. ‘Owned’ media refers to channels that you control such as your company Facebook page or blog. ‘Earned’ media is in essence word of mouth. When someone shares your content, that’s earned. ‘Bought’ is media you purchase, such as an ad or event sponsorship.

Today’s focus is on Earned media. You can read about owned media here.

Earned Media is the best kind of media because it carries with it an implied endorsement. It’s social proof when someone shares your content. But that also makes it the hardest media to garner. It’s easy (well, doable anyway) to write your own content or to pay for an ad to appear, but Earned media requires more work. A reader needs to feel compelled to distribute your content to their network.

Some Earned media examples include:

  • A shared Facebook post from your brand
  • A retweet of a company post
  • A review of your product
  • A quote from someone at your company included in an article.

This example showed up on my Facebook feed today because a friend of mine checked in using her Yelp mobile app when she arrived at this restaurant. Wow, looks tasty and I’m hungry…

Yelp Restaurant ShareWhy is this important? Recommendations matter. In a survey by market research company Lab42, 69% of those surveyed said they ‘liked’ a brand because a friend did.

How can you make your content shareable?

  • Make sure your content is relevant to your audience
  • Post your content where your audience is likely to find it
  • If you are making a special offer, keep it brief and easy to read and understand
  • Encourage users to write reviews and share them with credit to the writer; ask for retweets or shares
  • Write tweets using the # and asking for the retweet. Both enhance the possibility of sharing.
  • Retweet others, share other content on Facebook, share articles on LinkedIn. You never know when that favor might be returned.
  • Use pictures in your Facebook post; according to KISSmetrics, posts with photos get 53% more likes.

I’ll have ‘earned’ your mention if you liked this article enough to share it with your network. So please share!