Welcome to being an entrepreneur! It’s an exciting adventure that’s really not all that different from going back to school or picking up a new hobby—you’ll be asked to adopt one skill after another. Once your business is ready for its 15 minutes of fame, you’ll likely start brainstorming ways to make it into gift guides and other magazine or newspaper features. These kinds of brainstorming sessions will likely require you to explore investing in earned media to funnel your brand growth.
However, like other learning curves, you may need a little convincing and nudging to budget for this type of marketing. Here, we explore what earned media is, why it’s an essential asset for new businesses, and, of course, how Press Hook can help you get started ASAP.
First, what is earned media?
When you’re reading the news of the day or flipping through your favorite glossy, you may wonder how products make the cut into stories. The process is primarily due to earned media, a tactic at which publicists like Alexandra Pollina, the founder of Quotable Media Co., are experts. By definition, Pollina explains, earned media is coverage you are included in due to a media relationship you forge or have. This means a publicist or a brand has taken the time to build relationships with journalists and editors to gain their trust—and to ensure their emails are being opened.
The most important word here is ‘earned,’ since there are other types of media, like paid, where a brand or company purchases an advertorial. Contrary, earned media doesn’t cost the publicist or the brand any money. Thus, earned media is coverage you receive because they wanted you in the article due to your story, expertise, or other fitting info, Pollina says. “Earned media has a lot more clout than paid media or any form of advertising or direct marketing because of that very reason—people know the media outlet or writer are including you for your expertise and because they felt you have something to contribute to the conversation that others need to hear,” she explains.
Why earned media is an important asset for new brands
Here’s the deal: while you don’t pay a writer for earned media, you will need to invest in a publicist or a service like Press Hook to begin your brand growth. Why? You need to know the right writers to reach out to based on their beat and publications. You also need to know the best ways to reach them: a press release? A newswire? A personalized email?—and how to stay on their radar without being annoying. Earned media is a practical investment with long legs that reach far beyond being featured. Here, why it’s a vital asset for new brands:
It has a long return on investment
As Pollina puts it, earned media is worth its weight in gold because the return on your investment continues for years and even decades to come. “Earned media [allows] you to immediately connect directly with a huge audience way beyond what you could reach through your other marketing efforts,” Pollina explains. “And it also connects you with them in a way that bypasses so much of the relationship-building that is necessary if they come across you in any other way.”
What does this mean? Say you pitch a major beauty website and you make it into their annual awards. This type of accolade isn’t just something your competitors covet, but something your customers respect, since they trust the writer and the outlet to only recognize worthwhile products. Thus, you may be more likely to earn the sale.
It boosts your online reputation and SEO authority
When you are working to improve brand growth, you likely consider many inbound marketing avenues, from newsletter strategies to search engine optimization, or SEO. What’s super beneficial about earned media is it works cohesively within your SEO efforts by continuing to show up in online search results for years to come, as Pollina notes.
Beyond SEO, earned media can also catapult you toward many of your brand growth goals, including drawing in better customers and more prominent clients, building stronger relationships, and more. “You really won’t see returns comparable to this from any of your other marketing, and that’s why it’s worth investing in,” Pollina continues. “It’s important to make sure PR and earned media is part of your overall marketing plan and being implemented cohesively with your other marketing.”
It helps you gain credibility
Street cred is crucial in nearly all walks of life, but particularly when you’re hyper-focused on brand growth. Earned media does wonders for your credibility since it acquires the proper exposure, according to Sabrina DiBella, the president and co-founder of Push the Envelope PR.
“Earned media provides new brands with credibility and validation from renowned publications and key journalists, which builds trust and rapport with a brand's key target audience,” DiBella continues. “Actively managing and pursuing PR opportunities is key for building a brand, not just to build trust, but to leverage third-party credibility. Good PR can rapidly increase the credibility of a company in its crucial early stages.”
Yep, you read that correctly: reaping all of these benefits doesn’t have to be expensive. As DiBella says, earned media might not be entirely free, as most new brands hire PR professionals to conduct media outreach on their behalf, but it is much less expensive when compared with advertising, which can take several attempts to reach target consumers. “Not only can a one-time advertisement cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it also doesn’t live on forever,” DiBella says. “Any earned digital media placement is not only free, but it has an indefinite shelf life and can continue to create more value as it lives on.”
How Press Hook can help
When you use the platform, you’re not just getting increased opportunities and earned media coverage. You’ll be enjoying less work for yourself and a whole lot less wasted time. Working with Press Hook reduces your research hours by taking on the legwork and eliminating any guesswork to find the right journalists. Now, you’ll have more time to do the other tasks that you enjoy and specialize in. And guess what? That means bigger, better brand growth.