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Use These 6 Tactics to Attract & Increase Earned Media Coverage for Your Business

Hubspot describes earned media as “any material written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself.” Let’s change “written” to published to include visual media too.

Earned media is like passive income. It’s a benefit that you don’t have to work for, or at least not very hard for. It sure beats the time-consuming and expensive process of content marketing, which involves creating lots of original content largely in the hopes that it’ll attract the attention of search engines and social media users one day.

Attracting earned media isn’t a game of chance, however. It’s much more likely to happen when you do certain things first — when you position your company to be visible and appealing to earned media creators.

And how can you do that? It’s not rocket science. These six tactics will help you attract, increase, and sustain earned media coverage for your brand without overwhelming your marketing budget. Here’s how they work.

1. Cultivate Reliable Media Contacts

To attract earned media, you have to get comfortable with the people who produce it. Spend an hour or two every week reaching out to journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and others who produce content in your brand’s niche.

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Use a form email that showcases your company’s history and recent achievements, linking back to your website or blocking if appropriate.

Maybe showcase a piece of original content or two if it makes sense. Don’t be discouraged by silence; most of the time, you’ll get no response. When you do hear back, let them know you’ll be back in touch with the news.

2. Take Advantage of Signal Boost Opportunities

Wait long enough and your brand will earn some media. What happens next is important, especially if they mention comes in a prominent outlet that’s watched by other media professionals.

As an example, this news article about Yieldstreet, an investing platform, is an original piece of work. But it’s downstream of an earlier article on a related topic that appeared in an even more popular outlet.

The editorial team responsible for it likely saw the earlier article and saw an opportunity for coverage.

This “signal boost” phenomenon happens all the time in media. When you see that you’ve struck big on a prominent mention, kick into gear and promote that mention to other outlets.

3. Make Personal, Relevant Pitches to Your Contacts

Back to those media professionals on your contacts list. Once you’ve made first contact, ditch the template messages and tailor follow-ups to each individual person or outlet.

They’re eager for content but not so eager that they’ll compromise their editorial standards just to do you a favor.

4. Perfect Your Press Release Game

Writing a great press release is possible with practice. But even a great press release is bound to be ignored most of the time. Is it worth your time?

Yes, but it’s not something that should come to dominate your earned media efforts.

it’s compelling and well-organized, recipients might give it a second look when they’re hungry for content, and of course, some websites simply republish press releases that actually break news.

The real work comes in knowing to whom you should send your press releases and when you should bother writing them in the first place. Most company events don’t deserve their own releases, after all.

5. Break News on the Channels You Own

You shouldn’t simply post your press releases on your website and Facebook page. That’s what PR distribution services are for.

That said, you should take the opportunity to break news on your own terms, in a venue you can control. If your media contacts are watching your owned properties, as they will be if you’ve cultivated them well, they’ll take that news and run with it.

6. Seek Out Content-Hungry Podcasters

A special note about podcasters. For a variety of reasons, podcasters tend to be especially hungry for content and especially willing to feature unknown guests who they believe have something interesting to say.

That makes podcasting a great match for emerging brands eager to develop their earned media mentions without a professional PR operation. Allocate your resources accordingly.

Most Press Is Good Press

It’s definitely not true that all press is good press. You’ve seen enough hit jobs (fair or not) to know that the right combination of words on a page can spell doom for a company’s reputation.

More press is good than bad though. We can go so far as to say that most press is good press. And the sort of earned media coverage we’re talking about attracting here is by definition good press.

So, a word to the wise: Don’t obsess over how you’re covered in the media. Be grateful that you’ve attracted earned media at all. And then work to make it happen again and again and again. That way lies success.


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