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Earned Media definition

Earned Media (© /

Earned Media (© /

Earned media is something that every professional in the advertising and marketing field strives for, but it is a fickle beast and not everyone is able to capture it.

In this article, we will be looking at the term “earned media,” and helping you to understand it better, as well as covering some information on how you can get earned media as a marketing or advertising professional.


What is Earned Media?

Earned media goes by a few different names. Free media is the most common of these. But what does the term actually mean? It refers to publicity that you get for your company that didn’t cost you actual money. In other words, free publicity. For example, if a television program wants to interview your C.E.O.; that is earned media, even if you had to spend money to get the plan in motion. This type of press coverage is the complete opposite of paid media, where you would actually pay money for the coverage like with a television or radio commercial.

Three Types of Media

There are actually three different categories that media can fall into, and earned media is one of those categories. Let’s look at all three of them briefly and some examples of the things that belong within that category.

Paid Media

Paid media is any media coverage that you have to pay for. Common examples are PPC advertising, television ads, paying to be listed in a directory or other website and paying for additional social media exposure.

Owned Media

Owned media is any media that is within your or your company’s control. Some of the most common examples include your social media platforms, the company blog and the website in general.

Earned Media

Earned media is what we are discussing in this article. Earned media is any media coverage that you didn’t have to pay for. You can get earned media if you look for opportunities, and think creatively from the perspective of a magazine or newspaper. You have to give the publication something of real value for them to agree to give you that exposure.

Why is Earned Media Important?

So, why is earned media so important to the marketing and advertising world? There are several reasons that you should be looking for earned media opportunities whenever you can. First of all, you don’t have to spend any money on earned media. That is the whole point. So, you will be saving your company money whenever you get free press coverage, and your management team will definitely appreciate that.

In addition, earned media is usually a lot more effective than advertising. For example, compare small ad in the back of a magazine to a full three-page article about someone in your company. People are actually going to be reading the article and they will remember it. Only a small percentage of readers will even notice an advertisement.

How to Get Earned Media

There are several strategies for getting earned media. The first of these is opportunity. You have to be open to the opportunities that are out there. In fact, you have to be actively looking for an opportunity for earned media in everything that you do. There are definitely openings for earned media coverage if you know how to recognize them. Perhaps a magazine needs a feature for an upcoming issue and they are behind schedule. Maybe you found a publication theme that will fit perfectly with something your company is already doing. Look for these opportunities anywhere you can.

Another way to get earned media is by establishing relationships with key media players. The best way to do this is a quid-pro-quo situation. You help them out and they help you out. But establishing this kind of relationship takes a great deal of time, and is usually reserved for companies that are constantly in the public eye.

Another thing that you should be doing is working with influencers. Influencers are anyone on the internet who has the ability to influence a small or large group of people. One example is someone with a lot of followers on social media, but this is by no means the only type of influencer that there is. Figure out what influencers out there are in sync with your brand, and then partner with them to help each other out. These influencers can give you a huge amount of marketing because people put so much trust in recommendations from people that they admire.

Also, if you want people on the web to know about your company, the best way to do it is with content marketing. Content marketing is one of the best ways to develop good relationships with other people on the web – including journalists and influencers. If you produce amazing content, strive for viral sharing in each post and engage your audience, you will be building your company’s reputation as a place that should get recognized by the media.

If you want to get noticed by the press and influencers, then you’re going to have to do something noticeable. That’s why events and other things that build excitement are vital to your company’s success in earned media. Philanthropy, coming up with a brand new ways of doing something and building something exciting for the future are just a few ways that you can get noticed by people. Always be looking for something that will get you noticed by other people.


Out of the different types of media out there, earned media is probably the most useful, because it really establishes you as a dominant force in your industry. You can get a lot of mileage out of a well-placed article that is published at the right time – as long as you know how to put a marketing plan behind it. There are so many opportunities out there for earned media that a company could stay in the public eye for as long as they wanted, reaping the benefits of free press.

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