The term “earned media” is pretty fashionable these days. While it’s certainly taken on expanding meaning of late, I’ve been using it for years.
I’ve long felt that the blending of advertising, referrals and public relations (what I’ve always called earned media) is the recipe for effective lead generation.
In today’s vernacular that might be stated as the convergence of paid media (advertising), owned media (content assets) and earned media (public relations combined with all manner of customer generated content and sharing.)
So, let’s further define what earned media is.
Earned media is the kind you, well, earn, you don’t create it or buy it, it comes about when you do something worth sharing. That sharing might come in the form of a feature in your local paper or it just might as likely come when your friends and fans tell their friends and fans about your upcoming webinar.
Either way, it must be an essential leg of your lead generation efforts, and here’s why.
In the information age the most effective form of advertising is advertising that creates awareness for valuable, educational, trust building content. That content may be in the form of an ebook, blog post or Google+ Hangout, but the intent of the paid media is to drive attention and engagement with an organization’s owned media.
By adding earned media to this equation you potentially create leverage that can multiply and carry your paid and owned efforts to places you might never reach. So you see, it’s not just about numbers; it’s about access and trust.
This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Christina Daves, author of PR for Anyone and an inventor whose talent for generating earned media put her business on the map. In fact, she was so successful she started a business to teach others how to generate PR on a budget.
Earned media, the process that enables and encourages media outlets and end users alike to create and promote messages that benefit your brand is the secret to marketing success.
The pool of potential amplifiers now extends far beyond traditional media outlets. Every member of your community is a potential source of earned media. Anyone that retweets, reviews, embeds, shares, comments, likes and curates your paid and owned media elements generates earned media.
If, in fact, we then proactively build campaigns and processes to turn these amplifiers into subscribers, attendees, participants and ultimately customers, we create the ultimate lead generation machine.
The place where earned, owned and paid media converge, the place where community members can no longer tell the difference, is where the environment for ultimate customer loyalty exists.
You earn market attention when you produce and promote something people want to talk about, but then earned media takes something and creates the kind of momentum that no amount of paid media can.
Creating great content is about creating earned media. Optimizing your blog, website and brand assets is about creating earned media. Your email newsletter is about creating earned media. Your social networking activity is about creating earned media.
Earned media is the ultimate amplification tool when used in conjunction with paid and owned media.