What is Earned Media and Why Does it Matter?

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What is Earned Media and Why Does it Matter?

The FieldTest Team · May 22nd 2019


If you’re an online marketer, you’ve definitely heard three buzzwords floating around your advertising stratosphere: earned media, owned media, and paid media.

While each of these plays a role in your digital advertising strategy, earned media may be the most important element of this marketing trifecta, as it’s considered by many to be the most trusted form of advertising out there.

Let’s take a closer look at earned media and why it matters for you and your product.

What is earned media?

Broadly speaking, earned media is achieved when another party distributes content about your business on your behalf. Think of it as word-of-mouth advertising, usually in the form of social shares, online publishing, and even the occasional blog shout-out. It can also include reviews, reposts, and glowing recommendations.

You may not have considered it but it’s a powerful tool that builds trust, generates brand awareness, drive customers through the sales funnel with speed and efficiency.

Why you want earned media?

With earned media, you build one of the most important aspects of any digital advertising campaign: trust.

The power of this trust, however, is built not on your own messaging, but the confidence and credibility shared through other media outlets and satisfied customers.

If you have your doubts, just think of how often you purchase something because of a recommendation from a friend. Now compare that to how often you’ve made a purchase based on a hard sales message. The recommendations win out by a long shot.

Basically, people are far more likely to trust messages about your brand when they hear or read about it in other media. A recent Nielsen study found that 83% of people totally trust recommendations from friends, family, and online social circles. That’s a lot of consumer trust that you’re missing out on if you’re not taking advantage of it.

Power of Promoting Your Earned Media

One of the best benefits of earned media is that, like all organic media, you don’t pay for it. But there’s one small catch: Since it’s not created on your terms it may not be getting the promotion and audience it deserves. The rave reviews you received are great, but they’re not going to perform well for your brand if nobody sees them.

In order for your earned media to be effective, you need to promote it. More specifically, you need a platform like FieldTest that can help get more eyes on your earned media messaging, spreading those reviews and recommendations to the people that want it most. With FieldTest, you can promote your earned media with ease, allowing you to effortlessly feed more audiences to the top of your funnel and turn those rave reviews into happy new customers.

Boost Authenticity and Brand Storytelling

Along with trust and confidence, earned media is a great way to promote authentic messaging and tell a richer brand story. The opinions of your customers can’t be bought, which is why earned media is such a powerful tool in creating connection to your audience.

But in order to create that connection, you need to actually connect. Your earned media won’t connect itself, so you’ll need a promotional boost from a platform like FieldTest that can help amplify your brand stories to audiences who crave your content and product.

The writers and reviewers have done all the heavy lifting. That thoughtful, authentic, and word-of-mouth content is just floating in the air waiting for you to give it some promotional backing. And when you do it right, you’ll get your story in front on the right people and you’ll hit a home run for your brand

More Opportunities for Regulated Industries

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of earned media is the growth opportunities it presents for brands in regulated industries. While many industries place restrictions on advertising terminology and imagery, earned media allows any brand to spread their message and not worry about limitations. Why? Because you’re advertising the authentic brand story - not the product itself.

One great example of this is our work with Sagely Naturals and their line of CBD-infused wellness products. While CBD is more popular than ever, it’s an industry filled with tricky rules and regulations that often hold brands back. So we worked with Sagely to create high-performing earned media that maintained full compliance while reaching a broader target audience that would love their product. The results were staggering, as we saw an increase in sales and a 150% return on ad spend (ROAS).

Closing Thoughts

Earned media is an extremely potent tool that should be an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. And while it should be central to your efforts, it doesn’t mean paid and owned media should be ignored. When you leverage all three together, you’ll generate credibility, boost your ROI, and get your product the attention (and sales) it deserves.

Looking to elevate your earned media? Contact us and see how FieldTest can take your digital advertising to the next level.

Garrett Griebel