‘Earned media’ is a phrase you hear often in the PR and communications industry.
In essence, earned media is coverage generated in third-party media outlets.
Traditionally, it was all about TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, but in more recent years, what we know as ‘the media’ has evolved considerably. Today, it includes podcasts and blogs (run by individuals and brands), email newsletters, YouTube shows etc.
So, whether we score an interview on radio program or a guest spot on someone else’s podcast, if we’re mentioned in a magazine article or we write an opinion piece for a newspaper or guest post for a blog – these are all examples of earned media.
But let’s think more expansively … public speaking gigs are also earned media. Being invited onto someone else’s stage (the media) – THINK: industry conference, or community meet-up – doesn’t happen by chance.
In all of these instances, you’ve earned the right for someone else to provide you with a platform that puts you in front of their audience.
Now, sometimes you (or a representative) might pitch your story or interview opportunity. That’s most definitely been earned. But so too when a media outlet comes to you proactively, or mentions you in a story because of something you’ve done, or said, or because of your stance on a particular topic or issue.
Which brings me to the nice surprise I got this week when I was covered by Joe Pulizzi‘s fantastic email newsletter – The Tilt (see above).
Joe is known as the ‘Godfather of Content Marketing’, and is a deadset legend in the space. He has credibility, and so does his newsletter.
This mention occurred organically (I love it when this sort of thing happens!).
I recently published the 250th episode of my podcast REPUTATION REVOLUTION; it featured contributions from 17 past guests of the show and was a lot of fun to put together.
Sarah Mitchell was one of those guests, and she kindly shared on LinkedIn my blog post featuring the 250th episode (thanks Sarah!). Next thing, The Tilt has picked up on the episode and covered it in this week’s edition.
This is (reactive) earned media in action!
I see this all the time with individuals who are active on social media and consistent with publishing original content that resonates with an audience.
They are the ones who often score speaking gigs at meetups, industry events and online summits … who get invited to be a guest on someone’s podcast or YouTube show; who are mentioned by bloggers, or asked to provide an opinion piece for an industry publication. And sometimes, they’re the ones who, over a period of time, work their way up the ‘media chain’ and, depending on their topic, reputation and area of expertise of course, score mainstream media coverage (and thus, exposure to a bigger audience).
Some people call this ‘free publicity’. Having operated in this space for some three decades, I can say with great certainty that it’s not free at all, it most definitely is earned.