Why You’re Not Ready For Earned Media Yet

Earned media is a powerful way to turbocharge any inbound marketing program. It creates large spikes in positive, revenue producing metrics, while depreciating deleterious measurements like bounce rates. It’s also a tactic that can endow content marketing, light up the social graph and increase search engine visibility.

The benefits are well documented, so why isn’t digital PR or earned media more top-of-mind for brands and agencies seeking to aggressively move the marketing needle? Simply stated – because it’s too hard.

Why You’re Not Ready For Earned Media Yet image silosSilosMarketing Groupthink Props Up Silos

Unfortunately, content creation, social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and public relations are generally considered separate disciplines and reside in organizational or departmental silos. As a result, getting prime placement of content on relevant and highly traveled online media outlets is, at best, a tertiary consideration.

To truly earn highly valued content placement requires the aforementioned silos to crumble, goals to be established and appropriate tactics deployed. Effective digital PR requires these disciplines to work in concert. Each has specific roles and responsibilities similar to their everyday tasks. Below outlines some of them.

Content Marketing

All earned, owned and paid content should be produced by the content marketing team. This includes blog posts, eBooks, advertorials, etc. However, this role can be further leveraged in the digital PR process.

  • Research – Aside from the typical research done to create content, this team should identify and take note of what content and topics are most popular on highly traveled and relevant online media outlets.
  • Promotion – For many online authors their personal brand can earn regard amongst industry thought leaders. This represents an important networking opportunity because it’s the thought leaders and their organizations that will be approached for content placement.
  • Conversion – All content created for placement should contain a relevant link back to a germane landing page containing applicable white papers, guides or eBooks – it should appear natural and prudent.

Social Media Marketing

This team is uniquely positioned in a marketing organization because their job is to network, broadcast and listen. Their fingers are on the pulse of what’s popular and relevant today.

  • Research – Similar to the content marketing team, the social media team can provide valuable insight into what topics, content formats and web properties are being shared and talked about the most.
  • Promotion – Since networking is part of this team’s role, targeting influential online authors and media outlets should come natural. These relationships should be nurtured for earned media placements over time.


This team is comprised mostly of “Math Men,” as opposed to “Mad Men.” Their skills come in handy when determining what to write about and for defining the potential value of an earned media opportunity.

  • Research – Keyword research is a hallmark for practitioners of SEO. This research helps inform content marketers as to what words and topics are most often searched for – thus, in demand.
  • Promotion – SEO professionals generally have access to a multitude of online tools that empower them to analyze and report on various aspects of a web property. This data can easily translate into a list of websites to target for earned media placements.

Aligning content, social media and organic search marketing to better facilitate the earned media process is not easy – it’s not impossible either. For serious marketers, it’s time to move earned media from the doldrums of tertiary consideration to an active, continuous process with established goals, an outlined strategy and defined tactics. For eye-opening digital PR results download our latest earned media case study.

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