Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

Earned Media: What it Is, Why You Need it, and How to Get it

14 Nov 2023

Earned media represents content that is garnered through word-of-mouth or strategic public relations endeavors. It is written or spoken content that an entity earns through noteworthy actions, subject matter expertise and thought leadership. 

Earned media is content published by third-party sources without financial compensation. Examples include journalistic articles, guest appearances on television, radio, podcasts or webcasts, or published editorial pieces.


Five reasons why earned media should be part of your marketing strategy:

  1.   Enhances Credibility:  When a journalist features your brand or quotes your insights in an article or broadcast, it lends credibility to your business in the eyes of existing and potential customers.  Journalists write or speak about what is interesting and valuable to their stakeholders; they have no remit to write about specific entities or products.  Thus, when they choose to highlight your company, products, or insights they are lending their credibility to your brand.  
  2.   Cost-Effective: Obtaining media coverage isn’t entirely without cost. It often involves a dedicated earned media management team, specialized software, and a well-thought-out product placement strategy. However, even with these investments, it tends to be more budget-friendly than paid media, which not only requires similar resources but also demands an initial advertising investment. 
  3.   Builds Trust with Target Audiences: Targeting the specific media outlets that reach your audience pays off.  Being highlighted by a respected publication amongst your target audience will raise your visibility and reputation amongst that audience, in turn making them more likely to recognize your brand.  
  4.   Expands Content Reach: Most companies maintain their own content on websites, blogs, and social media platforms. This is called “owned media” and is an excellent starting point.  A strategic marketing plan involves mining thought leadership content from your owned channels, extracting noteworthy insights, and repurposing the content in collaboration with media outlets. This empowers brands to effectively disseminate valuable content across multiple channels while ensuring consistent messaging.
  5.   Boosts Morale: When employees witness their company’s stories and messaging shared by credible third-party outlets, it invigorates their morale. Earned coverage from respected third-party publications or analyst reports instills a positive sense of recognition. 

How to Implement an Earned Media Program

  • Implement a news release program to announce major milestones
  • Pitch feature stories on topics deserving in-depth coverage.
  • Host media briefings where reporters engage with your leadership to discuss industry trends and your institution’s major initiatives.
  • Develop crisis communication plans to address various crises, such as market downturns, employee misconduct, customer complaints, or cyber breaches.
  • Create bylined articles and opinion editorials featuring representatives from your company as thought leaders on financialand community issues.
  • Launch influencer campaigns by collaborating with online influencers like bloggers to reach unique target audiences

If these measures seem daunting, or if you simply don’t have the bandwidth to implement them, you should consider hiring a PR firm that specializes in your industry.  PR firms with niche specialties tend to have deep relationships with the journalists that cover their corner of the marketplace.  Seek out these firms for support with messaging, outreach, and strategy.