Marketing itself has many different terms for what your brand needs to stand out as a leader and innovator. For me, when I read the words “earned media” I wanted to make sure I knew inside and out what it is and what kind of implications it has for businesses, especially post-COVID-19. We live in a different world in 2023, with companies shifting to hybrid and remote models. However, the many time and tested tactics of traditional marketing are still important in growing your business. Just because your presence is mainly digital doesn’t mean you can’t build on top of what you’ve established to reach a wider audience.
And turns out, it’s not as different of a concept as I might have thought it was.
From my research, earned media is any promotion your business gets you don’t have to pay for. Not just that, but genuine enthusiasm and buzz around your brand because of going above and beyond for your customers! Here’s my take on what earned media fully covers and why it’s the next logical step for your business to take when you’ve established a strong organic presence combined with strong paid advertising efforts and good branding!
Earned Media as Defined By HubSpot
HubSpot is one of the giants in the digital marketing space and I’ve always held them in the highest regard. From the many certifications you can study to their CRM system, HubSpot has always remained a big name in this industry and has a well-deserved reputation. In a way, they were able to use earned media to establish themselves as thought leaders. According to them, the definition of earned media is:
“In short, very. Today’s consumers are influenced greatly by family, friends, and what they read and see online. People no longer share the good, the bad, and the ugly of brands exclusively at the water cooler — they share it with everyone they’re connected with online, which can include hundreds, thousands, or maybe even millions of people.
And a lot of those people listen and use those stories to make buying decisions. In fact, according to HubSpot Research, 57% of people in the U.S. trust what they hear from friends and family the most when they discover a new product. About one third of U.S. buyers prefer what information they can find from a Google search.”
This is an excellent definition, but I’d like to build on top of what HubSpot said to include my own personal experiences with this phenomenon from a business standpoint.
From what I’ve seen, when you’ve taken the time and care to offer a product or service people need, and you go the extra mile to make them satisfied, that ends up being even more important than the product itself.
Like my cousin once told me, you are in the business of selling things to people, but it’s the customer service that really matters in the end. He was right!
Case Study of What Word of Mouth Marketing Can Do for Your Business
I touched on why Google My Business is so important, but I didn’t get into the specific way I got that five-star review on that GMB.
This was a customer in college who was looking for a good deal on a used washer and dryer. She reached out on the website, and I was able to immediately follow up with her on the email. We went back and forth until she agreed she’d come to the store and check out our products in person.
I addressed all her concerns and questions, and she felt comfortable speaking with me. That Saturday she came, I was at home and drove immediately down to the store to help her. She had been waiting for a little while, ready to go with her father and take the appliances home with them. I worked with her closely, told her up front we were trying out a new invoicing method via credit card, and was able to go from there.
What happened, however, was that we thought her credit card had been charged, but it didn’t go through properly. I followed up with her that Monday and got everything squared away. And when she had problems with the product she bought from us, we stepped into action to immediately address her concerns and fix them. As a result, this was the amazing review she left, a perfect 5/5 even though the experience wasn’t perfect:
This is what happens when you go above and beyond for your customers and clients. Even if the products you sell have flaws, you can make up for them wholeheartedly with incredible customer service. They’ll appreciate what you bring to the table and then tell their friends about your business, and you’ll start getting referrals and word-of-mouth that way.
Earned Media is About Developing Trust, Consistent Reputation, and Loyalty in Your Area
That real-world experience made me realize that you can have the best website in the world, the best products, but it’s really all about addressing the pain points of your customers. You go above and beyond to cater to their needs and solve their problems. That’s also the whole point of SEO. You’re answering the questions people have about your products and services and writing content that speaks to them, not for the sake of hitting arbitrary word counts, as I’ve explained previously.
SEO is part of the earned media package, especially with a strong Google My Business profile. From there, you can start using your authority to get better sponsorships and word-of-mouth promos for your business and then build your brand from there. That’s how I’ve always seen digital marketing. It’s a digital extension of the “old-school” methods of advertising. Many people miss the forest from the trees when it comes to understanding how paid, social, and SEO work together to elevate your business.
Well, I’ve given you my take on the subject and hopefully explained it in a way that makes you think long and hard about the real purpose of digital marketing.
I don’t care about trying to be better than anyone else because of what I’ve experienced. I aim to help others through what I know and see their businesses take off. That’s the true reward of being in this field, regardless of any monetary gains. I’ve made up for what I may not have made money in wisdom, experience, and true knowledge. That’s the real reward of being a digital marketing professional, especially one who can explain the importance of earned media! Thanks for reading today.