Earned Media Examples

6 min read

Earned media is the most trusted form of content among consumers. But what is earned media exactly?

Below we explore why it's important and provide ten earned media examples to inspire your eCommerce marketing.

What is Earned Media?

Marketers can split media into three key categories: paid owned and earned.

Paid media includes any content that is paid for such as PPC ads or sponsored articles. Owned media is content that your brand distributes through its own channels like a blog. Earned media on the other hand is content that your brand has no control over. It includes any content relating to your business that you haven't paid for or created yourself.

Earned media can include unsolicited social media mentions online reviews and even retweets of your content. This is a highly influential form of marketing. However it is also the most difficult media type to obtain.

Why is Earned Media Important?

Earned media is used by the biggest eCommerce stores as well as the smallest D2C brands. Here's why:

It's influential

According to the BMV Digital Brand Index US consumers say earned media is most often how they discover products online. In the same survey earned media also came out on top as the biggest driver of action.

30% of consumers said that a positive news article editorial or blog would be most likely to influence their buying decisions while 28% said positive social media posts from friends and family would do the same. In comparison just 12% said online ads shaped their buying decisions.

This highlights just how influential earned media is. And this is further backed by academic research. According to a study published in the Journal of Promotion Management a majority of consumers believe that earned media is the most credible source of information.

It's free

Earned media is also highly cost-effective. That's because most of it is free. While your brand may invest in the likes of PR and the creation of shareable content most earned media happens organically.

In 2020 the Influencer Marketing Hub analysed 2000 online campaigns and found that for every dollar invested in earned media strategies marketers generated $5.78 for their companies. This increased from $5.20 the previous year. (Unfortunately its most recent report doesn't feature this figure.)

This is a clear indication of the value earned media offers.

It's long-lasting

Most forms of earned media will promote your brand for a long time. The likes of articles podcasts reviews and other content remain online indefinitely and are often discoverable through search engines.

This means consumers will continue to be influenced by this content long after it's published. And unlike paid media it won't require ongoing investment to continually drive awareness and conversions for your brand.

That's probably why 38% of B2B marketers plan to make earned media a key area of investment in 2022.


6 Ways Brands Can Maximize eCommerce Conversions in 2023

10 Earned Media Examples

Now that you're familiar with its benefits let's take a closer look at some earned media examples and how you can increase this kind of content for your brand.

1. Media coverage

When your brand is mentioned in newspapers magazines and digital media - as well as on the TV or radio - this generates huge amounts of awareness and trust for your brand.

This is where PR comes in. Brands can reach out to journalists with press releases exclusive research and other relevant content to boost their earned media.

2. Review sites

Review sites like Yelp and Google My Business generate earned media organically. As do Amazon eBay and many other online marketplaces. Positive reviews on these sites are among the most valuable earned media.

To generate more reviews be sure to provide exceptional customer service. You can also request feedback on social media by email or with in-package flyers. On Amazon you can use the Request a Review button too.

It's also wise to use a Digital Shelf tool to automatically monitor and analyse all your cross-channel feedback.

3. Social media mentions

Most earned social media comes from satisfied customers and fans of your brand.

Although you can't control what people post you can give them something worth sharing - such as photogenic eCommerce packaging or surprise gifts. Be sure to promote your brand's social media handles and any associated hashtags too.

By simply retweeting or sharing these shoutouts with your own followers you can also encourage aspiring influencers to create content for your brand. This is a highly successful strategy for many clothing brands including Fashion Nova and Motel Rocks.

4. Other UGC content

As well as reviews and social posts any other user-generated content that your brand hasn't paid for can be highly valuable. Think forum discussions Reddit AMA threads blog comments and any other organic mentions of your brand.

5. Search engine snippets

Although SEO doesn't technically count as earned media Google's featured snippets are an excellent example.

These snippets come in the form of paragraphs tables lists and videos and just like other earned media they can expand your reach drive traffic and improve your brand's credibility. Voice assistants often read out these snippets too.

Unfortunately there's no way to ensure your content will feature in these snippets. However creating high-quality optimised content will increase your chances as well as your overall SEO performance.

6. Recommendations

Word of mouth marketing is another example of earned media. These recommendations can be stimulated through the likes of viral marketing and social media.

Many eCommerce brands also use referral programmes to generate trackable online word of mouth recommendations.

7. Influencer shoutouts

Influencer shoutouts are like social media mentions on steroids. They happen when an influencer mentions your brand or product on social media as well as in videos in interviews or across any other channel.

Although brands often pay for these mentions they can also happen organically. Companies can encourage influencer-generated earned media by sending them free products providing exclusive behind-the-scenes access or inviting them to events.

This is one of the best earned media examples.

8. Podcast appearances

When a member of your team appears on a podcast in a video on the radio or on any other platform your brand will gain huge earned exposure.

To help with this you can pitch your expertise to relevant podcasters and offer them access to exclusive insights or sneak peeks. Putting forward your most charismatic and knowledgeable team members will also keep them coming back for more.

Lots of cosmetics brands have successfully increased their earned media by making the expertise of their best makeup artists available to content creators.

9. Content sharing

When someone retweets a post or shares any of your content you're garnering earned media.

Brands can encourage content sharing by adding prominent share buttons to their product pages and blog posts. Be sure to include lots of different social sites as well as the option to send via email or WhatsApp.

Beyond this you can encourage sharing by creating videos that have the potential to go viral.

10. Trade publications

Depending on what category your products fall into you may manage to earn a spot in a relevant trade publication.

While these publications usually have a smaller reach than mainstream media they tend to reach highly valuable readers. These can include consumers deeply interested in your niche as well as retail professionals who may bring your brand bigger business deals.

Final thoughts

All these earned media examples highlight how brands can improve their organic marketing.

Brands can also maximise the impact of this content by retweeting social media shoutouts building testimonials and using a Where to Buy tool to showcase positive ratings.

So be sure to put in place a promotional strategy for your earned media too.


6 Ways Brands Can Maximize eCommerce Conversions in 2023

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