“Earned media” is one of those PR buzzwords I don’t really like or use that often, but it’s important to talk about since it’s part of a trend we’re seeing.
First, a definition: to get publicity you have to convince a cynical and understaffed editor that your story is actually news and worthy of publication. Your pitch must survive multiple hoops of the editor’s news judgement process, and at the end there is no control and no guarantee of coverage.
You don’t just create a message, decide where it should appear, how often it should run and then write a check. That’s called advertising, and it’s why publicity is considered “earned.”
Not everyone in communications understands or was taught media relations, and those of us in PR know the earned route is a non-stop and many times frustrating process. We go to “meet the media” events, we subscribe, we pay attention to what they cover, we understand what is news, write in AP style and as real PR pros we don’t spam them with off-target or useless info. We interact on social media, take them to coffee and link to their stories on social media (and they notice).
It’s not easy, especially in today’s media environment, but when you land a story it’s a powerful piece of the PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) communications mix (yes, more insider jargon). That’s why more CMOs and marketing directors are asking PR experts to deliver the third-party validation that so many communicators are talking about. Not only does the news content carry the authority of being vetted by an editorial gatekeeper, it reaches the outlet’s audience directly and with more credibility than a paid ad.
PESO’s Paid, Shared and Owned components can come next and play to their strengths, such as repetition and message control, but going with Earned first creates a strong foundation, delivering credible, shareable and searchable content.
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash