What Is Earned Media and How Does It Apply to My Business?


here are three types of exposure available to marketers, namely “owned,” “paid” and “earned.” They are all important to the success of your business, but none is more important than earned media. Earned media is the best exposure you can hope for, and while you do not pay for it, and you cannot control it, you do earn it through your actions. Earned media is a far more trusted form of promotion than any other type of promotion because it is seen as truth.

Types of Earned Media

  • Social media – Someone posts about reading your eBook and how awesome and helpful it is to them, and shares a link to your eBook.
  • check
    Reviews – Someone writes a product review on a third party website and links to your product.
  • check
    Rating sites – Someone gives your website a rating on a third party website.
  • check
    Word-of-mouth – Someone tells their friends about your products and provides the information needed for their friends to buy your product.
  • check
    Press releases - You send out the press release, but third party websites for which you have no control run with the story.
  • check
    Third party mentions – Unpaid third party bloggers write about your products, websites, or services without any payment whatsoever, including affiliate income.
  • check
    Viral video – Even though you may own the video, once it goes viral it becomes earned media.
  • check
    Viral infographics – Even though you created the infographic and are the first to distribute it, once it goes viral you no longer own what people do with it or say with it and it becomes earned media.
  • check
    Viral blog post – You write it and share it, and then at the point it becomes viral and third parties are distributing, it becomes earned media.

As you can see, earned media can easily become confused with owned and paid media. But, if you can get it clear in your mind that earned media is information about your business that is created and distributed by third parties, then it’ll be easier to understand. The only exception is the case of information that goes viral.

Knowing this, you can somewhat direct the earned media that happens. You can direct it by providing excellent content that has a chance of going viral. Plus, always offer top-notch products and services that your customers will voluntarily want to talk about you to their friends in multiple formats. Remember - whether the discussion about you is negative or positive, it’s still earned media.

You therefore need to seek to control the story by sending out newsworthy press releases to the right contacts that will take ownership of your story and disseminate it to their audience. Provide excellent customer service, terrific products, second-to-none services and you can have some measure of control over the earned media that is out there about you.

About the Author Richard Thurman

Rich Thurman’s passion is helping small businesses realize their full potential. With twenty years of real world experience in both small and large business, Rich has worked for and with both global industry leaders and small-town family-run storefronts.

follow me on: