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Todd Defren’s Five Tips for Leveraging Earned Media

Todd Defren - Vocus WebinarWhich is most valuable: paid media (advertising), earned media (publicity) or owned media (content you create)?

“The most valuable is what other people are saying about you,” says Todd, CEO and co-founder of SHIFT Communications, in his recent Vocus webinar. “Earned media is the most effective influencer of consumer trust.”

By earned media, Todd doesn’t just mean a hit in The New York Times or even your local paper.

“Earned media is anything that anyone across media says about you, regardless of their credentials,” Todd says.

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Here are five of Todd’s tips for how to generate more earned media to boost your marketing campaigns.

1. Use what people say about you

“You shouldn’t put out an ad hoping people talk about it,” Todd says. “You should look at what people are talking about and put an ad around that.”

For example, a car company could let a blogger use a model that relates to their target audience and blog about their experience. Her audience will become engaged, wait for what she will say next and will share it across their networks.

The company could then turn it into syndicated content, promoted tweet, sponsored story or Google+ content.

By promoting the blogger’s earned media, the company gets exposure and the blogger will get hundreds or thousands of new visitors to her blog.

2. Continue conversations

Imagine a television manufacturer doing research to discover if men or women would control the television if the Super Bowl and Academy Awards were at the same time.

An infographic of the results would be compelling content that would likely generate earned media.

The manufacturer could create the infographic, run a Facebook campaign (owned media), and run promoted tweets featuring kudos from influencers and customers (paid media).

3. Use paid to promote to earned

It seems intuitive that your paid search ad should send searchers to your company’s website, but Todd has a different strategy: use search ads can to lead people to your media coverage.

“If people are reading a lot of good stuff about your brand, they’re going to find your website,” Todd reasons.

Consumer Trust by Media

Though traditional media is still most trusted, social media is quickly becoming an accepted source.

4. Share your earned media in a measured way

Feel free to tout earned media on social media, but try to engage using the content, versus simply broadcasting it.

Tweeting a link to earned media more than once is fine, but make the tweets human and test different types of tweets to see which get the most engagement.

Also, consider running an email campaign showcasing your earned media kudos to your subscriber list.

Make sure whatever content you create around your earned media is easy for your followers or subscribers to share.

5. Research your community

Every business story is going to be different. You need to research to find what influences the buyers of your community and what influences them.

Find influencers by using social tools like Little Bird.  Todd also recommends doing as much SEO research as possible because there’s often a disparity between the way a company talks about themselves and how the rest of the world does.

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About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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