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Media Monitoring Brand Management

What is Earned Media? Part 1.

September 15, 2014 01:00 PM
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Max Bergen

Max Bergen

Max is a result oriented SaaS sales and business development professional, with a blend of marketing, customer development, and leadership skills.

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earned mediaIn one of my favorite exchanges in the movie Arthur, the title character, played brilliantly by Dudley Moore, shares some exciting news with his butler.

Arthur:   Hobson? 
Hobson:   Yes. 
Arthur:   Do you know what I'm going to do? 
Hobson:   No, I don't. 
Arthur:   I'm going to take a bath. 
Hobson:   I'll alert the media. 

Were it still 1981, and had he been serious, alerting the media would have meant that Hobson might have issued a press release or held a press conference. The exciting event would have been covered by TV news reporters, beat writers or maybe even the morning talk shows. Of course, a lot about how people consume news and information has changed since Arthur was running around New York in his Rolls, so it’s worth asking a few questions about old PR terms with new meanings.

What is Earned Media?

Earned media is any publicity that is owned and created by a third party that was not paid for by a brand. It is everything from a product review on Walt Mossberg’s blog, to a customer’s tweet about your excellent service. Of course, traditional media is still included and earned media can reside in newspapers and magazines. Television counts too. Keep in mind that not all earned media is positive. Organizations like Malaysia Airlines and the football team in Washington DC have been getting a lot of earned media that likely won’t help the bottom line.

What are Owned and Paid Media?

Media that you create or control is called “Owned Media.” This includes your website, blog, videos, eBooks and third party reviews and white papers that you commission. Advertising is referred to as “Paid Media.”

Advertorials and other clever content designs attempt to blur the lines between these types of media for content consumers, but they are pretty savvy. It is also true that content can cross over from being owned media into behaving more like earned media. A video that you produce and own that goes viral is a good example. The initial content is owned, but when it is shared by others, it gains some of the attributes of earned media.

How Effective Is Earned Media?

It is impossible to underestimate how much today’s consumers are influenced by information they get from family, friends, colleagues and even strangers online. Reputation management is a critical aspect of managing earned media.

In addition to customer reviews, modern buyers look for expert opinions of products before they make a purchase.  In fact, according to Nielsen, 85% of them do so regularly or occasionally. People are far more trusting of information from third parties than they are of content produced by brands, making earned media the most valuable asset that you can’t buy.

In part 2, we’ll talk about how you can get more of it.

P.S.. If this blog inspired you to stream Arthur over Netflix, you're welcome. 

Max Bergen

Max Bergen

Max is a result oriented SaaS sales and business development professional, with a blend of marketing, customer development, and leadership skills.

All POSTS

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