The Age of Earned

Posted by Hannah Rumbles

This is the age of earned. In recent times, there has increasingly been more focus on digital marketing for owned and paid media with the ability to accurately measure the result of our campaigns. But with public relations moving at a greater pace than anyone else in marketing and communications – turbo charged by digital, our skills are more relevant than ever. But we need to move fast to take advantage!

Ads are everywhere we look and while these are successful means to raising your awareness, it does mean people are becoming tired of being ‘sold’ to and it’s even harder to get heard among the crowd. So how do we get noticed by the right people?

The time is now to focus our attention to earned media. But what do we mean by that?

This is certainly not ‘new’ - it has always been a core element of public relations - but where in the past we have struggled to measure its impact, this is no longer the case. We now have the tools to measure earned media right from awareness through to conversion.

But what is key to its success?

Relevant content – your customers want knowledge and as they consume it through a mix of various channels, be it video, articles or blog posts, their trust lies with third parties such as a trusted journalist or blogger. As your buyer group progress through the buyer journey, they look for information in their own time, refining and researching before they form their own opinion. In the modern world, this is done in the digital space.

Knowing what it takes to truly relate to your audience has never been so important. Understanding people and how to relate to them to tell the right story to the right customer at the right time is an art and one that PR professionals have mastered over the years. Influencing behaviours, perception or selling a new product and/or service is core to what we’ve always done through delivering campaigns that make a difference.

How we shape brand messages and drive the news agenda has remained the same. It is how we share and fuel brand stories that have evolved. We must relate to our customers – through earning media impact and spreading the word through compelling stories.

But like with any campaign, it’s important to set goals and ask what do you hope to achieve from earned media? Is it drive traffic? Convert leads? Feed your sales funnel?

Understanding your customer’s challenges is key in addressing and achieving these goals. Nobody wants to know what your product or service does, they want to know how it can solve their challenge to accelerate their business and/or personal needs. Earned media is trusted, can produce higher engagement and shares, and offers credibility and product validation. 

The future is now. What previously worked in reaching your target audience in the past is likely not making the same impact it once did. You need to change your strategy and earned media will play a significant part in your marketing and communications.

Previously we struggled to reach the various personas with the appropriate and specific messaging. No longer do we need to figure out how to reach c-suite and procurement with one message – we now have the tools to deliver what we need through insightful data and metrics. Agility is key in any campaign and it’s more important than ever to regularly review activity, analyse and report the outcomes, showing the results and impact of the chosen tactics.

Through earned media, we can tell compelling stories that our audience relate to and we can track their reaction to those stories.

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