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What Is Earned Media, and How Can It Impact Your Business Goals?

What Is Earned Media, and How Can It Impact Your Business Goals?

In a digital world where content bombards our screens (whether we want it to or not), any piece of content that is backed by a credible authority in the space is going to stand out from the noise. It’s like hearing news from a dozen strangers: It might not sink in until you hear it from your friend, from a trusted source. This is why earned media is so powerful at bringing a company's target audience closer.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media, an element of public relations, is media exposure that a company earns organically, and it is often secured by accomplishing something newsworthy that attracts attention. This coverage could be a guest post that you write for a publication, or it could be a press mention, when your company name is dropped into a conversation that's already happening in publications online.

Earned media value is twofold. It brings great value to your company because it exposes you to new audiences and extends the publication's credibility to your business. At the same time, it brings value for the third party mentioning you because it's bringing fresh content to its readers.

The art of public relations has become ever more important for today’s audiences because it deals primarily with relationships. It bypasses the anonymity of online sources and helps brands speak to audiences on a personal, trusted level. With this trust established, content marketing becomes more engaging, and readers are more likely to come away with a positive interpretation of your brand.

How to Measure Earned Media Results

For content marketers, earned media is a big investment point this year, but it's still a challenge. Nearly 40% report wanting to focus on it in 2022, but almost as many are struggling to strategize in order to reach their target audiences with earned media.

Looking for a way to gauge how successful your content is?

Download Your Content Performance Checklist

Below are four metrics that you could impact by investing in earned media. Measuring these metrics will help you incrementally gauge progress toward your goals.

  • Organic search traffic: This is the number of visitors who land on your website from search results. A boost in organic traffic, especially around sources and keywords that are important to you, will suggest that earned media is working to draw in members of your target audience.

  • Referral traffic: This number refers to the visitors who arrive at your website from sources that link back to your website. These people are "referred" to your site from another one. Track this metric to see which guest posts and press mentions are engaging people enough to draw them to your website.

  • Backlinks: If people are mentioning your content and linking to it as they create their own content, that’s a great sign that your earned media is generating value for you. These links are gestures of trust and appreciation from others. Use a tool like Ahrefs to track these backlinks and see where they’re coming from.

  • Opportunities and invitations: When your earned media is working, you’re likely to get more invitations to collaborate with others in your industry. Press opportunities could come in the form of speaking on a podcast, offering a quote for an article, or even speaking at an event. Keep track of these opportunities and where they come from; this will help you track which types of opportunities are the most impactful for your goals.

How Can Earned Media Impact the Bottom Line?

So how can you actually see results from these earned media opportunities? Here are some tangible results that have come from Influence & Co.’s earned media coverage:

500+ new contacts from publishing articles on HubSpot’s blog. 100+ new contacts from publishing articles on MarketingProfs. 30+ new contacts by publishing on Business Insider. 7,000+ new contacts from referral traffic overall. All this referral traffic led to 20 new people actually becoming clients with us. 5.72% session-to-contact rate for referral traffic, making it our highest-converting strategy for lead sourcing.From earned media strategies, we generated new contacts by the thousands, and this directly helped us find new leads and build a pool of high-quality, primed prospects we could then nurture into marketing-qualified leads, then sales-qualified leads, and eventually paying clients. The beauty of earned media is that these are all people we might not have reached without tapping into these publications' audiences.

Earned media is an important piece of any successful content marketing puzzle. To learn more about how you can tap into public relations to earn media coverage and work toward your goals, download your free guide below!


Picture of Lauren Tellman

About Lauren Tellman

I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the content marketing manager at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. In my downtime, you can find me hanging out with my husband and son, reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.


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