What’s earned media? 7 methods to get it

Earned media is advertising that is organically obtained through promotional activities such as press coverage, social media mentions, and search engine rankings.

But why is earned media important? And how can you get more of it?

In this post we will examine:

Earned media vs. Paid media vs. Own media

If at any point money changes hands, it is not earned media. It is Payment media. examples for this are TV and radio advertising, billboards, sponsorship and online advertising (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.)

If you have complete control of the asset or channel, it isn't earned media either. It is own media. Examples are everything that is published on your website, newsletters, etc.

However, not everything is so clearly defined. When it comes to things like SEOit gets a bit muddy.

To rank on Google, you need to create content owned by media. However, you can only influence where Google places this content and for which keywords it is classified. You don't have full control over it.

For this reason in our opinion SEO media is earned.

It's all about control. You can control both paid media and your own media, but you cannot control earned media. And since you don't have complete control over where you want to rank in Google (you can only influence it), it's earned media.

Why is earned media important?

Earned media is what every business strives for and there are two main reasons for this:

1. Earned media are often cheaper in the long run

When Parachute launched its new wool mattress in 2019, the company opted for earned media over paid media. The product was populated with editors and influencers, resulting in tons of articles and Instagram stories from people who tested the mattress.

A press review about the new Parachute mattress

In total, they spent around $ 20,000 PR and product gift. According to Ariel Kaye, founder of Parachute, they would have had to spend at least $ 2 million on Facebook ads to get the same number of impressions as that well-deserved media campaign.

And unlike paid media that requires you to spend more on more impressions over time, earned media is the gift you give over and over again.

Press articles often refer to the product or company, which improves its improvement SEO. And these articles can also rank in search and send referral traffic over time.

2. Earned media is great for branding

The "lack of control" with deserved media is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

Since brands have no control over the message, consumers see it as more trustworthy. Third-party reviewers can give their impartial opinion on a product, and people can share their honest thoughts about a company or product on social media.

As financial writer Morgan Housel puts it:

The information age encourages a lot of good behavior. What is stronger, however, is the ability to expose bad, inefficient behavior. What used to be watched over by a handful of reporters and reviewing publications is now done by billions of everyday people in search of something that doesn't look right.

In other words, when real people are singing your praises and it's clear that you haven't paid or encouraged them to do so, it will help your brand stand out in the marketplace. This applies in particular to direct customers (DTC) Brands.

Think about it. Parachute isn't the only mattress company selling online today. Lila, Casper, Leesa – the list goes on and on. Most consumers are unlikely to be able to tell the difference between these companies even after seeing their ads.

Earned media is the way to be noticeable in front of potential customers.

What are some examples of earned media?

Here are some examples of what earned media looks like in the wild.

  1. TV segment
  2. Newspaper / magazine function
  3. Niche / specialist publications
  4. Twitter mentioned
  5. Reddit discussions
  6. Check websites
  7. Influencer
  8. search engines

TV segment

This is the most traditional form of earned media. Appears in a TV program and reach millions of viewers in their living room.

Ahrefs has yet to appear in one TV show, but authors like Eckhart Tolle have sold millions of books thanks to Oprah's recommendation.

Newspaper / magazine function

Last year, Bloomberg featured our data on the most popular Google searches in a Businessweek article. We didn't pay for that. Our ongoing promotions resulted in the author finding our content and he decided to include it in an article.

1 Bloomberg Businessweek

This article also appeared in the physical version of the magazine.

Niche / specialist publications

Since we are in the relatively small one SEO In the industry, we are regularly mentioned in niche-oriented publications such as the Search Engine Journal.

SEJ Ahrefs

Twitter mentioned

Kari recently tweeted how much she loves the Ahrefs blog. We didn't ask them to. We've earned their praise for years of posting and promoting industry-leading content on our blog.

Make it a habit to revisit the @ahrefs blog regularly. I learned the basics from them back in 2015 and still consider them a point of contact whenever I approach a new problem (e.g. manual content review – which I haven't done in years).

These guys are still super excited – Kari Beaulieu (@SERP_queen) September 15, 2020

Reddit discussions

Another user also shared how much they loved our blog. But instead of sharing it on their social accounts, they decided to share it with a much larger audience on Reddit:

Bigseo Ahrefs

Check websites

We also get many users who regularly report on their experiences with our product on review sites such as G2::

Ahrefs G2

If you're a local business, websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Maps are also important.


Rand Fishkin is an influencer in the marketing industry with over 440,000 followers on Twitter. He decided to share one of our articles with his audience. We didn't ask him to.

We earned the share because we published an article with tons of unique insights, all drawn from our real-world experience.

Excellent contribution to podcast advertising – the ups and downs of the * real * process by @itsrbek: https://t.co/6DHzboqU6X – Rand Fishkin (@randfish) November 21, 2018

search engines

According to Ahrefs & # 39; Site Explorer, our blog is receiving an estimated ~ 558,000 monthly visits. Note: These are all organic visits. They don't come from ads.

Google ranks our content at the top of its search engine and thus sends traffic on our way.

Side note.

If we compare the estimate in Ahrefs with real data from the Google Search Console, we find that Ahrefs easily underestimates our organic traffic. Our actual Google traffic is closer to 750,000 monthly visits. The reason for this is simple: although we at Ahrefs have an extensive database of keywords, no tool knows every search query. Because of this, websites and web pages almost always get more traffic than Ahrefs estimated.

Just because you can't control earned media doesn't mean you can't influence it.

Here are some ways you can get more deserved media for your business.

  1. Use HARO
  2. Pitch for podcasts
  3. Rank for "source keywords"
  4. Do something new
  5. Visit fairs
  6. Submit your product for reviews
  7. SEO

1. Use HARO

Help a reporter (HARO) Is a free service that connects journalists with sources. After you have registered, you will receive daily emails from the service with inquiries from journalists.

Here is an example of where an email came from HARO would look like:

inserted image 0 7 "width =" 400

After receiving the email, all you have to do is check that you meet the requirements and reply. If they use your answer in their post, they'll usually credit you with a mention and a backlink.

How do you stand out and make sure your answer is selected as these journalists are likely to get a lot of responses from other people? Here are some tips:

  • Offer up-to-date expert information. Huffington Post journalist Casey Bond says, "Whenever you call in an expert, it's because they are supposed to offer you something that you cannot or can not easily find out by yourself." Don't try to give a condensed answer from an article you Googled. Offer real insights that can only come from expertise or experience.
  • Share your credentials. Unfortunately, HARO was abused by unscrupulous people SEO Professionals looking for quick links. Journalists sometimes called them and became cautious. HARO remains a great place for them to get expert quotes, but you have to prove that you are a real expert on the subject. That means you'll have to share your credentials, social media handles, and more.

You can learn more about how to use it HARO effective here (tip 6) or in this video:

2. Pitch for podcasts

If you are a subject matter expert, HARO isn't the only way for you to gain earned media. The ubiquity of podcasts means you can also appear as a guest and share your expertise.

This is a strategy we used at Ahrefs.

In 2019, our Chief Marketing Officer, Tim Soulo, set a goal to appear in more than 20 podcasts. He did it in just four months.

inserted picture 0 7 1

Tim's appearance on the Smart Passive Income Podcast

How do you find podcast opportunities?

One easy way is to identify someone of a similar caliber who has already participated in multiple podcasts.

Let's use Tim as an example.

First, let's add his website (ahrefs.com) to Ahrefs' Site Explorer Backlinks Report and type its name in the Include field.

2 Site Explorer included box

Second, we'd look at the list to see the podcasts he was on.

Tim Soulo Podcast

Third, we find the podcast hosts' email addresses and see if they are ready to interview us.

Recommended literature: 12 lessons learned from 20+ podcast interviews in 4 months

3. Rank for "source" keywords

In their presentation for Chiang Mai 2019 SEO Conference, SEO Advisor Stacey MacNaught said the following:

Journalists don't have access to data or premium tools – that's an advantage.

Stacey MacNaught "src =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/stacey-macnaught.jpg

What does she mean? Journalists often have to back up their arguments with data. And when they do, they usually mention the source of that data and link it.

Take, for example, our mention in Bloomberg. It was the result of some unique data that helped the author make his point clear.

Mention Bloomberg

But here's the thing: you can't just create old data, post it everywhere, and expect advertising. If you want to earn coverage using this tactic, you will need two things:

  1. Interesting dates. When we say interesting, we mean interesting to relevant journalists.
  2. Delivery mechanism. Interesting data is a start, but if you don't have the opportunity to introduce it to relevant journalists, you will struggle to get coverage.

There are tons of ways to do the above two things. For example, you can create or curate data on a trending topic and then use a tool like Content Explorer to find relevant journalists and place your resource.

3 Content Explorer

All of these people have published articles about the Playstation 5 in the past 30 days.

This is the "traditional" route and it works, but another tactic that worked for us is to create content around so-called "source" keywords.

Source Keywords are the terms journalists are likely to look for when looking for facts and data to reference in their upcoming posts.

Examples include:

  • (Topic) statistics
  • (Topic) statistics
  • (Topic) facts
  • (Topic) numbers

To find these keywords, enter some relevant keywords in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and go to Phrase match Use the Include filter to search for keywords that contain words such as statistics, statistics, facts, and numbers.

4 Explorer keywords

Search the list for a good keyword to target.

For example, if we had a coffee page, we could potentially target either "coffee nutrition facts" or "coffee statistics".

5 Keywords Explorer Facts Statistics

From there, create a post by making a list of current statistics (own media). Then reach out to websites that point to competing but outdated statistics pages on the same topic for links to your (Media Earned) page.

We did this in 2020 for the term "SEO Statistics. "As a result, our page has received links from over 350 websites and ranks 2nd for the main keyword.

6 SEO statistics

Find out in this post or in this video how we did this step by step:

4. Do something new

Do you want to be in the news? Then be the message.

If it's done right PR Stunts can help generate tons of deserved media mentions in publications and on social media. I'm sure you've heard of at least a few of these campaigns, from Red Bull's stratospheric dive to Dove's Real Beauty campaign.

It doesn't have to be crazy expensive either.

For example, KFC cleverly used her Twitter account to get earned media. They secretly followed eleven people, waiting for someone attentive enough to notice that it was playing with their "secret recipe" – five spices (the five spice girls) and six herbs (six people named Herb).

. @KFC follows 11 people.

These 11 people? 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb.

11 herbs & Spices. I need time to process that.

– (@ edgette22) October 19, 2017

The tweet went viral and helped KFC Capture tons of deserved media in marketing-focused magazines and major news publishers.

KFC only follows 11 herbs and spices on Twitter Eater

Now there is no surefire way to create one PR Campaign that guarantees the press.

However, you could start on the right foot with this question from Tim Ferriss: "What if I couldn't get my product up and running?" What if I had to sell the product? "

I would also recommend Trust Me, I'm Lying to read Ryan Holiday's book PR and media.

5. Attend trade fairs

In 2016 I worked for a wearable tech startup (which no longer exists) that launched a massage jacket. In order to prepare for the start, we decided to take part in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) In Las Vegas to showcase our product.

This trip resulted in a lot of mentions in top publications like Tech in Asia, Digital Trends and Business Insider.

TWare Massage Sweatshirt gives Backrubs Business Insider

Tech in Asia's article was even syndicated to another massive (at the time) publication: Mashable.

This was an amazing return for a relatively unknown startup based in tiny Singapore.

There is no doubt that trade shows help earn well-deserved media mentions. After all, journalists and bloggers visit these trade fairs specifically to find exciting topics.

But of course, don't assume you're getting deserved media just because you're there. They still need to be up to date.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential products to be discussed at a gigantic conference below CES. Journalists must choose from these options and cover the few that they think their audience will like best (or at least find a novel).

In our case, our product positioning – the world's first massage jacket – caught your attention. Not only had it never been done before, but we also had an actual prototype to test.

That made it notable, which led to our media mentions.

Recommended literature: How to dominate a trade show and why sole proprietors should also try

6. Submit your product for reviews

Another way to earn media was by reaching out to journalists and offering them a jacket to test.

In this way, we were able to obtain further press releases on publications such as Engadget and Refinery29.

Engadget Airawear

This strategy works even if you are a well established name. For example, Tim Ferriss shipped over 1,000 advanced copies of the 4-hour body, which led to a ton of Amazon reviews and made the book a best-seller.

Most recently, we gave journalists a preview of Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, which resulted in mentions in the Search Engine Journal and Tech Radar:

Here is an impressive free SEO tool that you need to try right now. TechRadar

Press mention for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools on TechRadar

If you're an established brand, getting these reviews should be relatively easy. But what if you're new, like the jacket company I worked for? How do you know which publications to turn to?

The easiest thing to do is to find out who has reviewed or featured similar products to yours and then offer your product for testing.

Brainstorm about 2-3 competing brands. For example, if you've created new email marketing software, your competitors are companies like MailChimp and AWeber.

Go to Ahrefs' Content Explorer and enter a query like mailchimp AND aweber

Mailchimp awe

You will see tons of pages mentioning both competitors.

7 Content Explorer Results

You can then export the list of unlinked domains, get in touch and try to promote your brand with your competitors.

7th SEO

The creation of content (own media) is a prerequisite for ranking on Google. However, as mentioned above, there is no control over where and how high your content is. (Unless you're paying a la Google Ads, which is paid media.)

This is the reason why our book SEO is a form of "earned media".

While you can't dictate your organic ranking, you can influence where it ranks. This is known as search engine optimization (SEO) And by and large it includes:

  • Know what your customers are looking for. Do keyword research to find out what topics you'd like to appear on Google for.
  • Create optimized content. Putting your heart and soul into any content is not a guarantee of rank. You have to bake SEO in your content right from the start by following a tried and tested one SEO Frame.
  • Build links. Links are an important Google ranking factor. If you follow the strategies above, you will likely get links back to your website by now.

Side note.

There is still more to be done SEO than just doing keyword research, content creation, and link creation. You also need a technically flawless website (technical) SEO), well-optimized pages (on-page SEO, and much more). We are focusing on the three aspects mentioned above here because they are your bread and butter. You won't get anywhere if you don't create content about what is being searched for and link to that content.

Would you like to know more about it? SEO and how does it work? Read this post or watch this video:

Final thoughts

If there was one thread connecting all of the earned media and their strategies, it would be Word of mouth. And the easiest way to promote word of mouth is to get your customers excited.

The concept is relatively simple:

  • Create a product or service that your customers will love and enjoy.
  • Provide helpful and friendly customer service that will solve their problems.
  • Create fun and educational content to help your customers with their questions or problems.

Of course, when you check these boxes, your customers will share your content on social media, leave positive reviews, and tell their audience about you.

Did I miss any useful tips to help me get earned media? Ping me on Twitter.

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