Earned Media: A Cost-Effective Way to Grow Your Business

Mastering media relations might seem intimidating if you're new to the game, but earned media is well within your reach and a valuable asset.
Earned media stands out as a cost-effective method to bolster brand recognition and, when executed effectively, can even boost sales. In our current landscape, where the influence of word-of-mouth surpasses that of paid advertising, earned media takes on heightened importance. It becomes a cornerstone for establishing authority in your content initiatives and enhancing your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Naturally, this process doesn't happen overnight. Building a strategic earned media program demands consistent effort in cultivating relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and influencers. These key players, once familiar with your identity and the value you offer their readers or followers, can become conduits for sharing your content.
Embarking on this journey requires an evolved approach. Traditionally, communication professionals spent their careers nurturing connections with reporters, editors, and producers to secure coverage for the companies they represented. However, with the closure of many traditional media outlets and shifts in the industry, the landscape has transformed.
This evolution, though, has brought about a silver lining. It is now simpler to gauge the impact of your earned media endeavors. Here are straightforward strategies to begin nurturing these crucial relationships:
  1. Engage with Content Creators: Compile a list of relevant books, podcasts, and other forms of media. Offering reviews for these platforms can serve as a valuable conversation starter, giving you a reason to connect.
  2. Categorize Connections: Employ tags on platforms like LinkedIn to classify your contacts, such as influencers, bloggers, journalists, etc. This approach facilitates tracking their posts and enables you to engage through comments and shares.
  3. Amplify Blogger Content: Utilize tools like Feedly to keep tabs on bloggers' content. This allows you to remain informed about new posts and share them across your networks.
For enhanced tracking, consider creating distinct URLs for interactions with media, bloggers, and influencers. This aids in monitoring traffic sources, visitor behavior, and content engagement, leading to informed refinements in your messaging strategy.
As these influencers share, include, or even interview you about your content, you start reaping the benefits of earned media. Remember, these individuals are prime candidates when you need quotes for your content.
Expanding through earned media involves a three-step process:
  1. Identify Primary Keywords: Outline the top 10 topics you aim to rank for. Use tools like the Moz SEO toolbar to identify high-authority sites already ranking for these subjects.
  2. Target Relevant Media: Pinpoint websites from your initial list that accept contributed content and exhibit a history of content related to your chosen topics.
  3. Strategically Time Pitches: Publish your initial content piece and wait 30 days before publishing the second piece on the same topic. After establishing a content base, pitch your topics to blogs and media outlets on your target list.
Bear in mind that Google needs time to index your site as an authority on a topic before you pitch to third-party websites.
In conclusion, once Google recognizes your owned media's base of content on a topic, earned media steps in to elevate your content's visibility. This is achieved through authoritative links from high-quality domains. Keep in mind that earned media might not be your immediate focus when planning SEO, but its inclusion significantly enhances the reach and impact of your valuable content.
Please note: The tools mentioned in this piece are suggestions by the authors and not endorsed by the CMI editorial team. Additional tools are welcome in the comments from both companies and individual users. (alert-success)

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