Why is Earned Media Important?

Update 6.18.13

After reading about Google’s Penguin updates, I wanted to update my article about earned media because it will play an important role in your SEO strategy. Why? If you are keeping up on the new updates from Google’s Penguin 2.0, you have learned that off-page signals such as earned media will play a bigger role in your search engine optimization (SEO) practices. More importantly, I think that this latest updates show not only that relevant, worthy content is vital to your SEO strategy, but also plays a key role in your public relations strategy.

Content Marketing Institute wrote a great article about the changes, but you want to pay close attention to point four. An excerpt from the article is what makes me smile: Takeaway #4: Earned media and digital PR can help you recover from Panda. Driving a variety of quality digital signals is a future-proof SEO strategy. Content marketing and digital PR folks who primarily rely on their compelling content to drive search engine traffic should be smiling now because the future looks bright for them. It looks bright because with each algorithm update, Google gets even better at rewarding good content from authoritative people and brands.

So what does this mean to you?

  • Social mentions of your earn media is important. Make sure you are sharing those placements on your social channels.
  • If you have placed your earn media bets on trades, you have bet well. Keep that up! National coverage is better, but building your authority in your market is equally important. No surprises there
  • CMI mentions the importance of my favorite underused site, Slideshare. If you have presentations that have worthy, interesting points about your market or best practices, start up loading today. this will help with authority and off-page signals.

Previously published article from May 13, 2013.

Last week, I attended an amazing webinar from the folks at Vocus on earned media and how you should be using it more in your PR toolkit. I also created a Storify thread with all the great nuggets shared from the presentation.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, earned media is what others say about you whether it is in print or online media (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.). I believe earned media is the new media for the modern PR practitioner: PR folks are now working on placement not only with reporter from national or regional publications, but also bloggers, Twitter influencers, and other new media targets.

Why is it important? Earned media, in theory, is unbiased and unsolicited. When folks go to Google and search for your company, they can find all kinds of reactions and social shares that are unfiltered and not corporate speak. By far, earned media is the most trusted place as a source of information about a company (see below chart).

Earned Media: Most Trusted

Convergence of PR and Social Media

Why is earned media getting so much attention these days? I think the biggest reason fueling the concept is the convergence of public relations and social media. PR folks traditionally have been working on messaging and with the growth of social media, it makes sense we are blending our efforts to cover both social and traditional media. What I believe is different about earned media it is no longer just about what companies put in print, but rather what other influencers such as clients or advocates are saying. It is more of a blended world where everyone has a say. Not many corporate executives understand  they do not control the message megaphone when it comes to its company’s brand online and with social media. Organizations need to understand while they cannot control, they can influence.

Use Earned Media as an Opportunity to Share More

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

What struck me about this presentation was that this concept is new for most folks. If you are not repurposing your media coverage for other opportunities, you are missing out big time. The biggest opportunity is to take the coverage that is already written by someone else and use it for promotional or other marketing efforts. Hello! It is already trusted and valued since it is coming from someone else. Extend the life of your media coverage by using earned media as your hub for content.   Boom! There goes your reach by four times.

Sold? Learn More about Earned 

Earned media maybe new for you, but this concept of earned media is coming up more and more in the last few years. If you’re interested in learning more, Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group, wrote about the concept of earned media last year in the report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned & Earned Media from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare.


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