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Bettie Bomb / PR Professionals  / A Simple Guide to Generating Earned Media

A Simple Guide to Generating Earned Media

You’ve probably heard the term “earned media” before, but what does it mean exactly? We’ll delve into what earned media is, along with the different types of media, which are considered earned, what’s the difference between earned and paid, plus how you choose the best form of media for your business or brand. 

PR is the practice of managing the release and spread of information, but simply put, it’s communicating your message to an audience using different methods. Earned media is one of the methods and for most brands, the best. Using earned media and methods is all about how you tell your story, where you tell it and to whom. Storytelling can be done in a variety of different ways and on multiple platforms, but using a strategy to determine which methods work for your target audience is key. Learn more about earned media and how it can help your brand.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations (PR)…storytelling, building awareness and shaping a brand’s image through different forms of communication. Fun, right? As Veteran Chicago Publicists, we connect with the ultimate gatekeepers, our media friends, to target audiences across the globe and craft newsworthy story angles. We love what we do because it’s about promoting other entrepreneurs like ourselves and we take pride in helping businesses organically grow. We also love it because the power of PR is real! Part of its superpower is the fact that its earned communication, meaning “not paid” like advertising or sponsored content. It’s the most unbiased, honest depiction a brand can receive, making it the most credible type of coverage! Everybody wants it, but no one has control over it because it is through the eyes of the media. As Chicago Publicists, we provide as much information as possible, connect the media with our clients and craft the message. But after we’ve delivered and the media personally experiences the service or tries the product, it’s their words. And that’s when the excitement & roller coaster ride begins!

What is Earned Media? 

Earned media refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising, which refers to publicity gained through advertising, or owned media, which refers to branding. It’s basically any material written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself. Let’s break it down now.

Earned media is the hardest form of media to obtain…period. But it’s the best and most beneficial to your brand. PR agencies use their relationships with the media to tell your story and secure coverage for free, known as “earned media.” Why is it the best? Because it’s unbias and you don’t control the content. PR agencies take your story and leverage media channels such as TV, radio and print to promote and create a “word-of-mouth referral.” This is absolute paramount in the media circle! It cultivates a positive public image and gives instant brand recognition and credibility. 

What is the Difference Between Earned & Paid Media?

The biggest difference between earned and paid media is earned is not paid for and paid, obviously is! Earned media is what PR agencies work on for the most part – brands pay PR agencies and they pitch their stories to the media. So essentially, brands are “paying,” but their paying publicists, not media outlets. Earned Media PR agencies craft the message and storytell, but the media still takes what they want from it and it’s a honest, unbiased depiction. Advertising is paid media, which means brands control the content and message, working directly with media outlets. Advertising are obviously advertisements and consumers know this, which is why they are less credible.

PR isn’t guaranteed. A lot of people confuse PR and Advertising, so when we get questions about if we can guarantee a story in the New York Times, we need to break it down and explain. But the short answer is no. PR has no guarantees. Publicists use their relationships with the media to offer up pitch angles and story ideas in hopes that they will want to write about them or tell their story. Sometimes it’s a full feature, other times a quote or mention, but a lot of the time, nothing. This is why publicists have to constantly come up with new ideas to pitch the media. 

How Can Earned Media Help My Business?

Earned media helps businesses because it establishes credibility and trust with consumers. People know when they are reading an advertisement, which is touting a business being the best, top or #1. That’s what the business is trying to convey and isn’t necessarily the opinion of consumers. When consumers read a review or story in a credible media outlet about a business, it makes them pay attention and they remember. 

The power of PR is real. It is powerful because it’s earned communication, not paid. It is the most unbiased, honest depiction a brand will receive, making it the most credible type of coverage. That being said, businesses don’t have control over it, so being strategic and flexible is key. You won’t always achieve it, but when you do, it’s gold and long-lasting.

How Do I Generate Earned Media?

Be a community leader. A thought leader. Position yourself as an expert. Help your fellow neighbors. These are the types of people and businesses the media want to talk to, profile, use as sources and overall have in their “back pocket” to converse with on a moment’s notice. Businesses they can trust for content.

PR agencies are constantly trying to generate earned media by giving reporters, producers and editors the tools they need to create relevant stories that pertain to their readers, viewers and listeners. It’s their job to maintain a client’s exposure by creating new, different and interesting ways to tell their story. How do you want the public to see your brand or business? What are you doing to support your community? Are you an expert in your field? These are all questions a publicist will ask when creating a narrative that positions you as a leader to the media. 

Introduction to Bettie Bomb

Founded in 2005, Bettie Bomb is a Public Relations Agency based in Chicago offering a suite of services from trusted industry partners under one creative umbrella. PR, Marketing, Social Media and beyond…we work as an extension of your team, creating personalized campaigns, building awareness and telling your story when it matters most.

We are a Female-Owned Boutique Chicago Public Relations Agency specializing in all things lifestyle: food, fashion, hospitality, retail, health & wellness, medical, consumer and philanthropy. Partners Rebecca Kussmann & Laura Collins work closely with businesses & organizations to target key audiences and generate exposure all under the Bettie Bomb umbrella. Work one-on-one or have us build a team. We can be BIG and we can be small…that’s the beauty of it. Small, but mighty with the ability to grow. That’s us in a nutshell. 

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