Earned media still counts even while social platforms vie for predominance.
What does earned media refer to? Simply put, it’s the exposure and publicity that a brand receives through third-party sources such as independent media outlets, bloggers, influencers, and social media users. Unlike paid media where a company pays for advertising space, earned media is the result of the brand’s reputation, influence, and ability to generate interest through creative and compelling content.
Earned provides third-party validation, which can be seen as more credible because it’s coming from an objective source, such as a journalist or industry expert, and is not paid or sponsored by the brand itself. It’s also perceived as more informative because it provides insights or analysis and – at least theoretically – it has no hidden agenda.
According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 61% of B2B decision-makers trust traditional media sources, such as newspapers, magazines, and TV news, compared to only 28% who trust owned media, such as company blogs or social media pages.
Additionally, the report found that 53% of B2B decision-makers believe that journalists are more credible than company representatives when it comes to providing information about a company or industry. Another study by Nielsen found that earned media, such as recommendations from industry experts or online reviews, is the most trusted source of information for B2B buyers. The study found that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to trust earned media than any other type of content, including paid media.
And as earned media works to raise a brand’s profile, it can, in turn, provide additional opportunity. This increased visibility can lead to more coverage, website traffic, social media followers, and ultimately, more sales. It’s a virtuous circle. Finally, what is the lifeblood of social media if not the ripple effects of provocative articles in “legitimate” media outlets. When a brand is mentioned by a media outlet or influencer, it can be shared on social media and used in paid advertising campaigns, which can help increase the effectiveness of those campaigns. But how do you get there? What works to interest journalists?
With fewer reporters on staff, more news hours to fill, and the number of PR people literally exploding (the number of PR people is projected to grow faster from 2020 to 2030 than the average for all occupations!), competition for coverage is intense. Establishing authority with data is one clear way to attract attention. Journalists are always looking for new and interesting data to write about, and if the data is exclusive to the brand, it can be more attractive to them.
Generating your own data can be seen as more credible than data from third-party sources because it provides unique insights and perspectives. This can help the brand stand out in a crowded market and attract attention from media and consumers. And, proprietary data can be used to create compelling marketing content, such as infographics, blog posts, and social media posts as well as to gain insights into its customers, products, or market trends in order to make informed decisions about its business strategy and improve its offerings.
In addition to leveraging your own data, here are six tried and true tips to catch a reporter’s attention. The first is the most important:
Craft a compelling pitch
Your pitch should be clear, concise, and engaging. It should highlight the most important aspects of your story and why it’s relevant to the reporter’s audience. Use strong and attention-grabbing language to make your pitch stand out.
Personalize your pitch
Research reporters and their beats before you pitch them. Customize your pitch to their interests and writing style. Refer to their past articles to show that you have done your homework and that your pitch is not just a mass email.
Build a relationship
Cultivate a relationship with the reporter before you pitch them. Follow them on social media and engage with their posts. Attend events where they will be speaking and introduce yourself. This will help you establish a rapport and make it more likely that they will consider your pitch.
Reporters love exclusives, so if you have a story that is newsworthy and has not been covered by other outlets, offer it as an exclusive to the reporter. This can be a powerful incentive for them to cover your story.
Provide useful resources
Include any relevant resources or materials that can help the reporter write their story. This might include high-quality images, videos, or expert sources that can provide additional insights.
Follow up professionally
After you’ve pitched a reporter, follow up in a polite and professional manner. Respect their time and don’t be too pushy, but also don’t be afraid to politely ask if they have had a chance to review your pitch.