3 Ways to Work Earned Media Into Your Marketing Strategy

Let endorsements win over readers on your behalf

Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

Have you recently been placed in the media or received an award or endorsement?

Media can be helpful for visibility and distribution, but its value doesn’t stop there.

Once you acquire a media accolade and capture it, you own it forever; incorporate this ownership into your marketing strategy or personal branding and you’ll wow new consumers over and over again on autopilot.

Why Your Earned Media Should Be Visible

When we say “earned media”, we’re referring to any of the following:

  • Placements in online or print media outlets, podcasts, magazines, radio or television.
  • Testimonials or reviews of you and your work.
  • Awards and accolades.
  • Proven sales acumen, such as a large number of paying customers.

This category of media differs from “owned media” (content you own and have complete control over, such as blogs, site copy, or social media) and “paid media”, in which you pay to be more visible.

Earned media generates credibility and trust, which are two things you need for people to want to read your articles, listen to your podcasts, or watch your videos. Consider the following statistics:

  • 92% of consumers trust earned media, whereas only 50% trust paid ads.
  • Earned media generates 4x the brand lift of paid media.
  • 74% of senior marketers believe the future of successful marketing will be a combination of great content and earned media.

Ever see “Top Writer” in a Medium author’s bio? That’s earned media, because Medium is endorsing the writer as being one of the most-read in a particular category, and the writer instantly appears more credible to you as a result.

It’s your job to inform and remind your audience of these earned media assets. Here are three strategies to consider.

1. Reference Placements in Different Ways

If you’ve written an article, been interviewed for a podcast, or spoken on stages, chances are you delivered multiple mic-drop moments or tidbits and added a lot of value.

Each one of these tidbits can become its own post or newsletter subject. Best-selling author and CEO Ramit Sethi calls this approach the Prism Strategy. Personal development guru Brian Tracy calls it mindstorming.

Whatever you want to call it is fine, but be sure to explore ways to promote and reference back to any great reviews or earned media placements you’ve achieved in your business.

Here are a few of my favorite reference tactics:

  • Link back to your core message. How does this placement, glowing review, or hat-tip from an influencer align with your purpose? Spell it out for us.
  • Think optically. Many readers, even those who love you and follow you, won’t actually read what you post. If you can show your placement optically, such as with a screenshot, your credibility will burrow into the brains of a larger percentage of your followers.
  • Use a historical hashtag as an excuse to repeat yourself. I’m not above using #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday, or any other once-upon-a-time hashtag to talk about the past.

2. Incorporate Onto Your Website and Social Handles

Anyone who wants to learn more about you will either visit your website or click on one of your social media profiles to learn more information. This is a great opportunity to mention any credibility markers you may have.

Some places to consider incorporating your accolades include:

  • Your website’s about page (and, really, any page where you’re asking a prospect to do something, such as sign up for your list or whip out their credit card).
  • Your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile.
  • Your Medium profile if you write here regularly.

If you have considerable media coverage, you may want to create a separate media or press page altogether on your website. The existence of this page not only showcases authority but also houses your media assets all in one place for future media professionals to visit when considering you for an article or an interview.

For example, I once pitched a local TV station multiple topic ideas, all of which fell flat.

But since I had a media page that showed my past interviews, the media professional was able to determine that I was the right fit for the show, and it was just bad timing on the topics I pitched.

A few weeks later, we landed on an idea that worked and I had my first live interview with the station, which reached about 35,000 people.

Another piece of real estate that often gets overlooked is the meta description of your website’s home page.

If someone searches my name, the first result is the home page of my site, and in the meta description I show off a couple of credibility markers, such as being interviewed on TV and being described as an expert by a well-known magazine.

What will people find when they search your name or the name of your website or brand?

3. Build Earned Media Into Autoresponders

Did you know the first email you send to your audience when they sign up for your newsletter or redeem a free gift yields a 50%-90% open rate? After that, open rates plummet across every industry.

For some of your readers, this will be one of the only emails they ever open from you, even if they have good intentions around keeping in touch. We want to ratchet your brand equity up as high as possible as quickly as possible.

Consider directing new subscribers’ attention to your past mentions, contributions, or features in this first email after you’ve fulfilled any lead magnet delivery.

(This strategy also works well for owned media: you could direct readers to your five most popular blog posts or five most popular episodes of your podcast.)

Another great spot to slip in visual authority? Email signatures. There are loads of fancy email signature plugins (I use WiseStamp); showcase past awards or links to your recent mentions.

Each time you correspond with someone, they’ll glance at your signoff, and another high-quality impression will have been made.

“15 minutes of fame” is a thing of the past. To accelerate trust with those who are new to you and your brand, leverage past placements and earned media you have already have in your wheelhouse.

Written by

Contributor @ Entrepreneur, Fast Company. 55+ live TV appearances on NBC, FOX, CBS. Research-minded commentary on tech, behavior, & business. www.nickwolny.com

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