How can small business get earned media?
Earned media is the media engagement you get when you deliver your expertise or knowledge across print, radio, television or online. Your reputation, knowledge, and skillset have “earned” the right to be in the article or interview. You have not paid to be mentioned, quoted, interviewed, or featured; your expertise status has gotten you there.
The hard truth is earned media is not easy. It takes more work than the other kinds of media that is out there but at the same time with the right moves, it is achievable.
Like everything, if you put a level of work into it, some thought, a strategy and a plan, a dash of commitment and a bit of luck you will make it. The other asset you will need is the right communications advisor that knows and has relationships with media.
What can we do to get earned media?
It starts with a mindset. Earned media is never about you but the audience of that media. The minute you are looking to make it about you or trying to sell a product or service you are no longer valid for earned media and the paid pathway is where you will be heading.
That might be a little difficult for business owners to comprehend because why would I do earned media if there is no Return On Investment (ROI)? The ROI is an amplification of your authority, reputation and brand which is far more valuable than the instant hit of incoming calls or website sales.
A considerable amount of thought is required to create earned media opportunities. Making the content Topical, Relevant, Unusual, Trouble, and Human (TRUTH) are the key elements of a great story for media. Tapping into all five will make your story one that media will find attractive and compelling to be told.
The writing and pitching of these stories need to be guided by those that have media relationships. The best way to determine this is by looking at previous work by the public relations company or agency as their past will dictate their future ability to gain you earned media. There are a lot of pretenders and blocked communications advisors out there so do align yourself with a successful and proven performer in this space.
Going the extra mile as an expert or contributor is critical for earned media as this is a transaction between two parties that highly benefits you. It is not a game of give-and-take. It is a game that you give, give, and then give some more. You will find that it does even up and less one-sided where you are doing all the work.
You want to be available and flexible with times. You want to bring the extra elements like case studies, photo opportunities, talent, and additional people that will bring the story together. In business, a “ready-made package” (RMP) is a story that the producer does not have to chase all the elements to make it happen. Make it easier for media to collaborate with you, not harder. This enhances your chances of getting more earned media and a good advisor is going to help you do all this.
Luck does play a role in earned media as there are no guarantees if you have done all of the above that you are going to get the spotlight. The only guaranteed media is paid and owned media which plays an important role in the media cycle for businesses. Anyone that guarantees you earned media is lying to you but with smart planning, content production, a willingness to make it happen and the right advisor you are far more likely to make in-roads into the treasure chest that is earned media.
By Nic Hayes, Managing Director, Media Stable.
(article featured in Inside Small Business, June 1, 2022)