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What is Earned Media? A Definition
Mentions of a brand, product, or person by an independent third party, generally in a favorable way.
Example of Earned Media
Let’s simply show you one of ours – below is a screenshot of when our CEO Clint Tepe was quoted as an SEO expert specialist in an article on a third-party analytics dashboard software website.
So what's the value of earned media?
You can boast about yourself, or your mom can say how smart you are. We all know neither of these have any real-world impact.
Being worthy of external recognition and praise is a great way to build your brand.
More mentions equals more people wanting to learn more about what you do, and how you can potentially help them.
Earning this type of attention from a publication that has a high degree of relevancy (meaning their audience is similar to yours) can be incredibly valuable for your company’s growth.
Ideally, the publication will not only mention your brand, but also link to your website. In SEO, this is commonly referred to as a “backlink”.
Links to your site help build authority and make it easier to rank for more competitive search terms.
However, make sure the linking site is not riddled with spam, and never pay for links. Links can hurt if they are from low-quality websites!
How to Earn Mentions
Simply put, you have to deserve it. It’s called “earned” for good reason.
1. Do Something Worthy of Being Talked About
This could be hosting an event, volunteering for a charity, or doing something unique and wholesome.
If your company or a team member has done achieved something new or done something particularly interesting, it has a chance of being talked about.
Earlier this year I saw a brief presentation by a local university student group team that worked on a new type atmospheric testing equipment.
Upon completion, it was physically launched by NASA, and you can bet this got some attention!
Certain business milestones may also get some press (keep reading).
2. Build Relationships
Invite a reporter for your local newspaper or business / industry publication (preferably one that covers relevant topics) to coffee, and ask about what they are looking for. Don’t ask for anything, just learn about them.
Perhaps you can make some connections for them, and in time can get your business talked about when there is something significant to report.
Grand openings, new hires, X years in business are all topics commonly mentioned in local media outlets.
Participate in online forums and groups (Quora, Medium). Build rapport and influence by being helpful.
3. Help a Reporter Out
If you haven’t heard of it, Help a Reporter Out (aka HARO) can be a great way to get some media attention on your expertise.
Basically, it helps you as a source of information connect with reporters and journalists looking for content, quotes, etc for their stories.
A Note from CEO Clint Tepe:
I regularly find opportunities (called Queries) relevant for the Nexus brand or myself as an SEO specialist. Two of my submissions (called Pitches) were accepted within the first week of subscribing.
Update: Having used HARO for a while, I’m getting a 10-15% acceptance rate for my pitches. Admittedly, my efforts are not always consistent. The initial goal was to earn a handful of mentions from very relevant and authoritative websites to establish a solid base. Once that was accomplished, I tend to work in batches to promote new content, services, or comment on specific trends in the industry.
Interested in trying this at a larger scale? The Authority Hacker podcast has an episode on how to create a process for delegating to your staff or a freelancer: https://www.authorityhacker.com/free-high-dr-links/
The pieces typically take a few weeks to get published, but are a great way to build backlinks and position yourself as a thought leader.
Sometimes they are on the fringe of my expertise, or my perspective may be atypical, so I realize those are long shots. On the other hand, an atypical response I gave apparently stood out and was included in an article on getting more subscribers.
To make the best use of your time, it’s probably best to stick to answering queries closely aligned with what you know (and wish to be known for).
A couple times after an article was published, there was a slight uptick in searches for my name, though it’s a bit early to tell how significant this is.
What’s important is that search engines are beginning to more strongly correlate myself and my brand with the topics I am an expert on, and make a living from.
This is great for building your brand – business or personal!
4. Find Influencers
Not talking about sponsored Instagram posts here, though the platform could be helpful for finding contacts.
You can likely find authority figures in your industry (that are not competitors) that would be willing to either share your content, or get your input on a topic.
Content writers that tend to create articles which contain quotes from experts are a great opportunity for you, the expert, to share what you know.
These opportunities can be found through searching online.
One of the best connections for us has been a content publisher who posts queries on HARO, accepted our pitch, and then invited us to continue the relationship by contributing to other pieces.
Get one? Show off!
It’s okay to make a bit of a splash (tastefully, of course) by sharing that you have been quoted as an expert.
This can be a good reason for your audience and network to hold you in higher esteem.
You can create a simple graphic with a screenshot of the quote (or typed out) along with credit to whomever published it. See the first image in this article for an example. Share this on social media, and tag the publishing entity and link to the article.
Sometimes authors will ask you to do this and then send them the link so they can share and “amplify”. Or you can simply share their social media account’s post of the article, with a comment about contributing, or expand on the topic from your own angle.
Check your media link health
As part of of our (free) website and SEO audit, we’ll take a look at the media links to your site.