Earned Media in Marketing Explained with Examples

Earned media, also known as earned content, is crucial in today’s marketing world. It refers to content about a brand that isn’t paid for or made by the brand itself. This can include things like mentions, shares, reviews, and tips from others, such as customers, influencers, and media outlets.

Unlike paid media, which is about direct ads, earned media happens naturally. It comes from word-of-mouth, online reviews, social media, and news coverage. It’s powerful in changing what people buy. This is because we often trust what our friends, family, and trusted sources say.

In this piece, we’ll look into why earned media matters in marketing. We’ll talk about different plans and show examples of great campaigns. We’ll also see how earned media differs from paid media, highlighting its unique perks for businesses. If you’re in marketing or own a business, knowing how to use earned media can really boost your brand’s image and trust.

Key Takeaways:

  • Earned media refers to content generated by third parties that is not paid for by the brand.
  • Earned media includes mentions, shares, reviews, and recommendations from customers, influencers, and media outlets.
  • Consumers tend to trust recommendations from friends and family, making earned media highly influential.
  • Earned media is gained organically through word-of-mouth, online reviews, and social media mentions.
  • Understanding how to leverage earned media effectively can enhance brand visibility and credibility.

Evolution of Earned Media

Earned media has changed a lot, especially in the digital world. It used to focus on print and TV. Now, it includes social media, online reviews, and blogs. This change happened because of influential content creators – the consumers themselves.

Nowadays, consumers share their opinions and experiences on different platforms. This has made earned media very powerful. It can change how people see a brand. Because of this, not just public relations, but also marketing and customer service work on getting earned media.

Digital marketing and social media have had a big impact. Brands work to engage consumers on these platforms. They aim to start real conversations. By doing this and offering great customer service, customers become brand advocates. They spread the word about the brand naturally.

Brands have changed how they market themselves. They don’t just rely on ads anymore. They focus on their online image, encourage people to create content, and connect with influencers. This way, they get organic attention.

The internet has made it easy for everyone to create and share content. This means consumers can easily review brands. Brands have to focus on making their customers happy, offering quality, and great service. That’s how they stay relevant in today’s world.

This image shows how earned media has moved from traditional media to the digital world. Here, consumers play a big part in creating content.

The table below shows the key changes in earned media:

Traditional Earned Media Evolved Earned Media
Print publications Social media posts
TV news segments Online reviews
Journalist coverage Blog articles

Earned media has opened new ways for brands to connect with people. It helps in building trust and engaging customers. As the world and technology change, marketers need to keep up. They must use earned media well to succeed.

Benefits of Earned Media

Earned media brings many perks for companies. It stands as a powerful marketing tool. That’s because people trust advice from friends, family, and well-known third-party sources.

This type of media doesn’t cost much. Companies don’t have to spend on ads to get noticed. Plus, earned media’s effect lasts a long time. Once something is online, it stays there, continuing to influence folks.

Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of earned media:

1. High Influence:

Earned media seems real and reliable to consumers. People tend to listen to those they trust. Adding credibility, stories in news and blogs influence them even more.

2. Cost-Effective:

This marketing strategy saves money. It grows from customer mentions and reviews. Without spending much, businesses can still shine and be recognized.

3. Long-Lasting Impact:

The effects of earned media stick around. Online content keeps working over time. This means more people noticing your brand, increased visits to your site, and ongoing customer interest.

More marketers see the worth in earned media today. They understand its power, savings, and enduring effect. By focusing on it, businesses grow, reach more people, and see real results.

Case Study: Impact of Earned Media

Company Objective Results
XYZ Clothing Showcasing new collection Featured in top fashion blogs, resulting in a 50% increase in website traffic and a 30% boost in sales
ABC Tech Launch of innovative product Gained media coverage in leading tech publications, leading to a 20% increase in pre-orders and a 15% rise in brand awareness
123 Restaurant Introduce new menu items Received positive reviews on food blogs and social media platforms, resulting in a 40% increase in reservations and a 25% surge in customer satisfaction ratings

These examples show the power of earned media across different business types. With the right organic coverage, these companies saw better sales, more website visitors, and happier customers.

Examples of Earned Media

Today’s digital world offers many examples of earned media. These can boost brand visibility and trust. Let’s look at some types of earned media:

  • Media coverage: Earned media includes mentions in newspapers, magazines, and TV stations, where brands gain exposure through editorial content.
  • Reviews: Platforms like Yelp and Google My Business let customers share their experiences, providing valuable earned media for businesses.
  • Social media mentions and shares: When users talk about a brand on social platforms, it creates organic buzz. This acts as earned media.
  • User-generated content: Customer discussions on forums and blog comments contribute to earned media.
  • Featured snippets: A brand’s content appearing in search engine snippets gives valuable exposure as earned media.
  • Word of mouth recommendations: Recommendations from friends, family, or influencers serve as earned media. They influence consumer behavior.
  • Influencer shoutouts: Working with influencers lets brands reach their followers’ network. This generates earned media through endorsements.
  • Podcast appearances: Being a guest on relevant podcasts increases brand visibility. It provides credibility through earned media.
  • Mentions in trade publications: A brand’s mention in industry-specific publications boosts reputation and credibility as earned media.

These examples show how earned media comes in many forms across different channels. They amplify a brand’s visibility and build trust with consumers.

Earned Media vs. Owned Media vs. Paid Media

It’s key to know the differences between earned, owned, and paid media in today’s marketing. Each plays a vital role in boosting brand awareness, driving engagement, and increasing traffic. We’ll look into how they differ:

Earned Media

Earned media is all about organic exposure from others talking about a brand. It’s the type of content that isn’t paid for by the brand itself. This includes media stories, social media talks, customer reviews, online forums, and search engine results. It’s crucial for building trust and credibility with consumers.

Owned Media

Owned media is about the digital things a brand controls. This includes websites, blogs, social media accounts, and newsletters. These platforms let brands share their stories and connect with their audience. With owned media, brands can fully control their content and how they talk to customers, helping to build stronger relationships.

Paid Media

Paid media is when brands spend money to reach more people. This includes ads, search engine marketing, social media campaigns, working with influencers, and sponsored content. Paid media helps brands get seen quickly and target their messages to specific groups of people.

Here’s a table showing the main differences between earned media, owned media, and paid media:

Earned Media Owned Media Paid Media
Organic exposure through third-party mentions Brands’ own digital assets and channels Paid advertising and promotional efforts
Establishes brand credibility and trust Allows complete control over content and messaging Provides immediate visibility and targeted reach
Examples: Media coverage, social media mentions, customer reviews Examples: Websites, social media channels, email newsletters Examples: Display ads, social media ads, influencer partnerships

For a successful marketing strategy, it’s important to use all three media types together. Earned media brings genuine support, owned media allows for direct storytelling, and paid media offers quick visibility. This blend helps maximize brand exposure and engagement, leading to better results.

By understanding each media type’s benefits, businesses can craft campaigns that truly speak to their audience. This approach leads to more meaningful connections and greater success in the long run.

Effective Use of Earned Media

To make the most of earned media, businesses can try these strategies:

  • Developing a strong SEO strategy to improve organic rankings and visibility: Working on optimizing website content with targeted keywords helps businesses get noticed in search results. This boosts their earned media reach and impact.
  • Creating high-quality and shareable content: Making valuable and engaging content encourages audiences to share. This increases the reach and impact of their earned media.
  • Engaging with customers to encourage reviews and social media mentions: Talking with customers and getting them to leave positive reviews and social media shares helps generate positive earned media. This boosts brand credibility.
  • Collaborating with influencers for shoutouts and endorsements: Teaming up with influencers who share the brand’s values can expand earned media reach. Influencers can promote the brand, driving exposure and engagement.
  • Participating in podcasts and other platforms to share expertise: Joining discussions and platforms like podcasts helps brands be seen as leaders. This can increase the chance of getting media coverage and recognition.
  • Actively promoting and sharing earned media content: Businesses should share their media coverage on their channels, like websites and social media. This ensures more people see and engage with it.

With these strategies, businesses can better use earned media. This can lead to more brand recognition, website visits, and sales.

Measuring Earned Media Success

Measuring earned media success is important for businesses. It helps track how effective their strategies are. By looking at certain metrics, companies learn about their organic exposure.

They can then tweak their tactics for better results.

Metrics to gauge earned media success include:

  1. Website Traffic from Referral Sources: It’s helpful to see how much traffic comes from places like social media, blogs, and other websites. This shows the reach and engagement of the earned media.
  2. Social Media Engagement and Shares: Looking at likes, comments, shares, and mentions helps understand audience interest. It indicates how people interact with the content.
  3. Search Engine Rankings and Impressions: Checking where content ranks in search engine results and the impressions it gets shows its visibility. This helps businesses reach more potential customers.
  4. Mentions and Sentiment Analysis: Watching for brand mentions in discussions and social media gives insight into brand sentiment. This gives clues on how people perceive the brand.
  5. Customer Reviews and Ratings: Keeping an eye on reviews and ratings helps understand customer satisfaction. It reflects the impact of the earned media on people’s experiences.
  6. Number of Earned Media Placements in Media Outlets: Counting how often the brand is mentioned in news or online shows the brand’s credibility. It also shows exposure through earned media.

Analyzing these metrics deeply helps businesses. It provides insights on the success of earned media. This data helps make better decisions, spot areas for growth, and enhance future campaigns.

The Power of Earned Media Success Stories

Earned media success stories highlight the strong effect of organic exposure on brands. These stories show how earned media can positively affect brand awareness, engagement, and conversions. Businesses have used earned media to gain positive coverage, create viral content, and build customer trust.

The partnership between Nike and Colin Kaepernick is a great example of earned media. By using Kaepernick, known for his stand on social issues, Nike sparked a huge public discussion. This move led to a lot of media coverage. People shared their views on social media and in the news. This helped Nike’s sales and brand image, showing the importance of earned media.

Coca-Cola’s “#ShareACoke” campaign is another standout success. They made their bottles more personal by adding common names. This encouraged people to share their Coke moments online, which went viral. The campaign brought a lot of attention and interaction. It shows how earned media can help build a community feeling and loyalty to a brand.

That’s not all. Other remarkable examples of successful earned media campaigns include:
Red Bull’s Stratos Jump: Red Bull sponsored a record-breaking skydive by Felix Baumgartner, gaining a lot of media attention. This showed the brand as adventurous and daring.
Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark: When the Super Bowl lights went out in 2013, Oreo reacted fast with a witty tweet. Their quick thinking turned into a win for earned media.
Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign: Dove challenged beauty norms with inclusive messages. This earned a lot of media coverage and made a deep emotional connection with women.

Learning from these success stories can offer great insights for marketers. They show how to use earned media effectively. By studying these strategies, businesses can create innovative PR tactics, influencer partnerships, and social media campaigns. These can grab consumer attention and build trust.

The Future of Earned Media

As the digital world grows, earned media faces new and exciting changes. The way people act online and use social media shapes its future. Also, tools like artificial intelligence and data analytics will help marketers. They can understand and improve their earned media tactics better.

Today, the way we interact with brands is always changing. More people want to connect with brands on social platforms. Marketers must adjust their earned media plans to keep up. They need strategies that match these new trends.

New technology, especially artificial intelligence and data analytics, is changing earned media. These tools give marketers deeper insights into their work. They can tweak their methods, find new chances, and do better overall.

To do well in future earned media, marketers must stay up-to-date. They should try out new tech, understand what consumers want, and use data for better campaigns. By keeping up with trends and changes, they can make the most of earned media. This approach will lead to better digital marketing results.

Looking ahead, earned media has a lot of promise for brands and marketers. By keeping an eye on trends, using new tech, and tailoring their strategies, marketers can use earned media effectively. It will help them engage audiences and create meaningful interactions. Success in the digital world means knowing where earned media is heading. And, it’s crucial to take steps to be at the forefront of these changes.


Earned media is a powerful tool for marketing. It lets businesses gain exposure, build trust, and engage with customers. By knowing the different types of earned media and its benefits, marketers can fully use this strategy.

To measure earned media’s success, analyzing its performance is key. Looking at successful campaigns can offer insights. Marketers can learn how to use organic exposure to benefit their brands. As tech and consumer habits change, keeping up with earned media trends is vital for digital marketing success.

Earned media is crucial for building a business’s reputation and awareness. It uses organic recommendations and customer content to boost visibility and trust. By using earned media in their strategies, businesses can enhance credibility and loyalty among customers.


What is earned media?

Earned media is about the talk around a business or brand that is not paid for by the brand. It includes mentions, shares, reviews, and third-party recommendations.

How has earned media evolved in recent years?

In recent years, earned media has grown to include social media posts, customer reviews, and website articles. Now, consumers share their views and experiences with brands online, becoming key content creators.

What are the benefits of earned media?

Earned media is powerful because it’s trusted and cost-effective. People believe recommendations from their circles and credible sources more. It is organic, requires no paid advertising, and its effects last a long time as the content stays online.

Can you provide examples of earned media?

Sure, earned media examples are news in newspapers, magazines, TV, reviews on Yelp and Google My Business. Social media mentions, forum talks, blog comments, and word-of-mouth recommendations also count. Other examples include influencer endorsements, podcast mentions, and trade publication mentions.

How does earned media differ from owned media and paid media?

Earned media is about organic buzz without ads, while owned media is what a brand controls online. Paid media is when a brand pays to promote its content. Each plays a role in a full digital marketing strategy. Earned media boosts brand trust, owned media engages, and paid media promotes.

What are some effective strategies for utilizing earned media?

To use earned media well, focus on SEO, make shareable content, and engage customers for reviews and social chatter. Work with influencers, join podcasts, and share earned media content to draw more attention.

How can you measure the success of earned media?

You can measure earned media’s impact by looking at website traffic from references, social media activity, search rankings, mentions, reviews, and media place counts.

Can you provide examples of successful earned media campaigns?

Successful campaigns have used creative PR, influencers, memorable social media efforts, and viral videos. These show how earned media can spread positive vibes, go viral, and build trust with customers.

What does the future hold for earned media?

Earned media’s future will be shaped by new trends in consumer behavior and social media. Advanced AI and analytics will improve how we measure and boost earned media efforts.

What is the importance of earned media in marketing?

Earned media is crucial for organic brand exposure, trust, and engagement. It’s vital for increasing recognition, traffic, and conversions, making it a key part of any marketing strategy.
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