Marketing your product or service online can be accomplished in one of three ways: through paid media, such as ads purchased on a social media platform; owned media, which includes your website, email, social media pages, etc.; and, earned media, which are shares, mentions and reviews. Referred to as P.O.E.M. (Paid, Owned and Earned Media), each of these elements of marketing is important to your business in order to sustain an online marketing campaign and reach your potential customers. Earned media is of particular importance as it costs you far less than both paid and owned media and has the potential to drive better results for your digital marketing efforts.
What is earned media? More importantly, how can you create a strategy that includes an earned media component in order to create more business for yourself? Here is a discussion about earned media, its place in the P.O.E.M. triad and how you can create more opportunities for earned media.
What Is Earned Media?
Think of earned media in terms of word-of-mouth advertising. You create a blog or Facebook post with great content that is well received by your regular followers. They circulate the message among their friends and family who send it along to others that they know to read. The process of spreading your message from a primary source (your subscribers) to connected, outside sources (your subscribers’ friends and family) is the essence of earned media.
Earned media cannot be purchased. It comes from your customers’ positive experiences with your business. These positive interactions translate into those customers wanting to share those interactions with others that they know. You can generate earned media as an integrated part of your overall media strategy by encouraging your customers and those who interact with you through paid and owned media outlets to share their positive feedback with others that they know. The success of crowdfunding is a model for how earned media can increase your customer base and improve your advertising ROI.
Why Is Earned Media Important?
Earned media is important to your business because it is the promotion of your brand that comes from your most important asset—your customers. Loyal customers who believe in the products and/or services that you provide are an excellent referral source in order to bring more customers to your door. Your customers are the best advocates for your brand and are by far a more reliable source for generating more customers than traditional paid advertising. Customers are almost four times as likely to trust recommendations made to them based on word-of-mouth promotion from loyal and satisfied customers than those from paid and owned media sources (92% versus 24%). Moreover, customers relying on word-of-mouth recommendations are up to 50 times more likely to buy from you than those who simply rely on other forms of your digital marketing strategy. With numbers like that, your business can’t afford to ignore earned media in their advertising strategy.
How Can You Improve Your Earned Media Results?
In order to improve your earned media results, you need to recognize the important role that earned media plays as a part of your overall digital media strategy. Earned media is an outgrowth of your paid and owned media and cannot exist outside of it. In other words, you need to have in place a website, an email marketing campaign, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and generate interest through blogs and content marketing. With these elements of P.O.E.M. in place, you need to consistently engage your followers and encourage them to not only interact with you but also invite others to participate in your marketing efforts. A call to action in your content and being proactive in your efforts should result in better earned media results.