What is Earned Media?

This includes “word of mouth” and many public relations efforts, typically focusing on inquisitive niche experts reviewing products or “buzz” around a product. Examples of earned media can be seen with noteworthy actions, causing unforeseen shifts to the market, reaching out to the community, or simply doing something “cool.”

As earned media is almost always from a third party, it has the side-effect of producing an authentic and transparent message (examples include testimonials and consumer reviews.)

Because of its third party origin, earned media is often distributed with little or no payment through existing communication channels (personal networks, social niches, associations, etc) and provides collateral benefits in the form of brand loyalty and customer outreach.

Many professionals make the mistake that earned media is free, but in reality it can be the most costly form of communication when strategy, support, and timing is taken into consideration.

As earned media is fundamentally built around third party endorsement, the possibility to lose control of your message or have it unexpectedly change direction is a substantial issue.

[stextbox id=”info”] Earned media (or free media) refers to favorable publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, as opposed to paid media, which refers to publicity gained through advertising.[1][2] Earned media often refers specifically to publicity gained through editorial influence, whereas social media refers to publicity gained through grassroots action, particularly on the Internet. The media may include any mass media outlets, such as newspaper, television, radio, and the Internet, and may include a variety of formats, such as news articles or shows, letters to the editor, editorials, and polls on television and the Internet.[/stextbox]


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