Good Things Are Earned, Not Given

By Graysen Reid

Earned media is what public relations professionals have been doing for years, but it’s not the only component anymore. There are now more pieces to the PR puzzle than ever before.

To fully understand what earned media is, we first have to look at the PESO (paid, earned, shared, and owned) model. This model took form as public relations and marketing began to cross over, especially with the introduction of social media and digital marketing. As the line between the two blurred, the PESO model was created to better describe media opportunities.

These categories allow marketing and PR professionals to look at each channel and evaluate their efforts. Ideally, all four channels become more valuable when integrated in a plan that takes advantage of the strengths of each category.

Back to earned media. The phrase itself has become popular in public relations and marketing over the past few years, mainly because earned media is free, not paid for. It is “earned” because it is through your PR efforts that you obtain publicity created by someone else and that is not paid for by your business or organization.

From mentions in articles to a share on social media, earned media can be anything that gives your business publicity. Earned media has always been the objective of PR professionals; it’s simply a new term for what has been the final goal all along. The difference now is that this type of media should be integrated with the other channels to be fully effective.

The tangible benefits with earned media are branding boosts and increased reliability and authority. If other people are talking about your product or business, you gain more credibility than if it’s only you putting out and promoting your own content.

There are pros and cons to each channel in the PESO model, and earned media is no exception. “Free” publicity might make you more visible, but shares and mentions are not guaranteed. Additionally, PR programs and owned media take time and money to build up, they don’t accumulate overnight. With patience, you will see long-term benefits through SEO and press mentions.

It does take work to earn media and create relationships with journalists, bloggers, and industry influencers. But it is worth connecting with them, especially if they have an engaged following on social media or through their own organization or industry.

You also have to make sure that your owned media is attracting journalists and influencers. Press releases, blogs, videos, and case studies are important elements in earned media because those are the things that will be looked at by people who will share your content.

Earned media can be an effective tool for marketers and PR pros, but your toolbox should utilize the strengths of all channels to create the best and most comprehensive strategy.

Graysen Reid is a Dux account coordinator and social media specialist.