Earned Media: How to Create Content that Gets Published
Eighty-four percent of consumers expect brands to produce content. However, a recent survey revealed that only half of consumers trust paid content, while 92 percent of respondents trusted earned media.
By gaining publication or earning media mentions with major news outlets, businesses can more effectively build consumer trust and brand awareness, but it takes a knowledgeable approach and consistent follow through to be successful.
What is earned media?
Earned media is any press that a business receives through the company’s public relations efforts. This can include press releases, media alerts, pitches and other outreach efforts that showcase company news, such as events, products, services, and community involvement. The key word here is “news.” What you pitch has to be of interest to news outlets’ audiences in order to have value.
How to get earned media
Earning media requires planning and a consistent approach to public relations in order to realize positive outcomes. For example, as part of FNBO’s marketing communications strategy, we regularly create opportunities for positive media coverage by pitching business and community efforts to media outlets.
However, before an organization can pitch an idea, the brand needs a face and a voice. To do this at FNBO, we’ve identified thought leaders, spokespeople and subject matter experts that can discuss a variety of financial topics.
What is thought leadership?
A thought leader is recognized as an authority in a specialized field whose expertise is highly regarded. At FNBO, we seek senior leaders who espouse the bank’s mission and business objectives to serve as this credible source of industry information.
What is a spokesperson?
A spokesperson, on the other hand, is responsible for creating and maintaining a positive and consistent public image for the organization by successfully communicating the company’s message to the public and media. They present a professional “face” for the company and know how to succinctly respond to media interviews with a consistent message.
What is a subject matter expert?
Last, a subject matter expert (SME) stays up to date on current industry trends and statistics to provide knowledge and expertise on his specific area of responsibility. An FNBO SME is considered the bank’s expert for a particular product or service and positioned to provide insightful advice and guidance for a broad range of PR initiatives.
Thought leaders, spokespeople and subject matter experts all undergo media training. Position papers and talking points are developed for each initiative, ensuring consistency of voice for the organization.
How to get in front of media outlets and publishers
Simply having informed and experienced experts in place is no guarantee that media outlets will find you when looking for expert input. Instead, businesses must develop a strategy to build relationships with reporters and editors.
8 tips to help you connect with news and media outlets:
- Identify news media that cover your area of expertise. Having a list of contacts makes it possible to quickly and efficiently reach the right individual when you have news or information to share.
- Review editorial calendars for targeted publications and offer commentary on relevant subjects from a company expert or spokesperson. Another alternative is to pitch an article or topic.
- Follow media outlets and specific reporters on their social media channels. Assign someone to engage with posts and then consider tagging them when you publish relevant content that your company has produced.
- Join industry organizations and associations. Watch for industry events and submit pitches for speaking opportunities and presentations. Taking this approach is a good way to get your internal SMEs and thought leaders in front of reporters who attend the event.
- Take advantage of national holidays and landmark days to provide timely or seasonal commentary related to your company and industry. At FNBO, we pitch spokespeople to promote awareness for a number of money or personal finance-related causes or events.
- Distribute press releases and media alerts that showcase and promote relevant company news and information or set up media briefings between your company’s experts and reporters to provide updates.
- Many top-tier, national publications accept contributor articles, so consider submitting one authored by a thought leader from your organization covering timely or relevant topics.
- Be proactive with your media outreach efforts. As an example, FNBO has conducted nationwide surveys, which serve as a platform to educate and inform the public on personal financial matters. Simultaneously, these efforts help to position the bank as a trusted thought leader and obtain both national and local media recognition.
The steps above can help businesses build relationships within media circles and gain recognition. Generally speaking, reporters and editors are on a fast-moving schedule, so they regularly seek input from those companies that remain top of mind.
The rapid, 24-7 nature of most media publishing also means you’ll need to be quick on your feet when opportunities arise. Be certain to respond promptly to media inquiries and to meet reporter deadlines.
Last, don’t let your hard work go unnoticed. Be sure to share media mentions, interviews and articles on company social media channels as well as the organization’s website.
In the end, the most successful PR campaigns are those that expand company awareness, establish your brand as an industry expert, and meet campaign goals.
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