Definition of Earned Media

Earned media refers to any publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid advertising. It includes organic exposure through methods such as social media shares, online reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations. This type of media is considered highly valuable because it comes from unbiased third-party sources, enhancing a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.


The phonetic transcription of “Earned Media” is: /ˈɜːrnd ˈmiːdiə/

Key Takeaways

  1. Earned media refers to free publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, such as mentions, reviews, and endorsements from customers or industry influencers.
  2. This form of media can significantly boost a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness, as it relies on genuine consumer experiences and opinions, as opposed to paid promotional content.
  3. Effective strategies for generating earned media include creating shareable content, engaging with industry influencers, and fostering strong brand advocacy through exceptional customer experiences.

Importance of Earned Media

Earned media is crucial in digital marketing as it represents impartial, third-party endorsements of a brand, product, or service, which often carry more credibility and influence than paid advertising.

This type of media includes customer reviews, social media mentions, shares, organic search rankings, and editorial content such as articles and blog posts.

Because consumers trust recommendations from friends, family, and even strangers, earned media can help build and solidify a brand’s reputation, improve search engine rankings, and increase brand visibility.

Overall, earned media enhances a digital marketing strategy by creating meaningful consumer connections, engagement and driving higher conversion rates through organic and authentic brand promotion.

See Also: Tips to Maximize Earned Media Benefits


Earned media, an integral part of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, serves the purpose of amplifying an organization’s brand message and communications without directly paying for it. Earned media consists of coverage gained through various channels such as public relations efforts, social media mentions, customer reviews, influencers, and word-of-mouth marketing.

This type of media helps to build trust and credibility in the eyes of the target audience, as it stems from organic conversations and user-generated content, unlike paid advertising. In this context, earned media is critical for fostering brand awareness, creating a positive brand image, and driving engagement and conversions.

Utilizing earned media is vital not only for amplifying brand communications and creating fruitful relationships with customers, but it also aids in generating organic traffic, boosting search engine rankings, and fostering brand advocacy among consumers. By encouraging customers to share their experiences and opinions about a product or service, brands can leverage their satisfied users to act as advocates, thus generating authentic content and peer recommendations.

Furthermore, the nature of earned media allows for the snowball effect, meaning that positive buzz and increased visibility can lead to further exposure in various forms, such as additional press coverage or increased social media followings. Overall, earned media offers brands the opportunity to harness their customers’ voices to amplify the brand message and contribute to long-term growth.

Examples of Earned Media

Earned media refers to any publicity or recognition that a brand receives through non-paid means, often as a result of their marketing efforts, customer service, or company reputation. Here are three real-world examples of earned media:

Customer Reviews and Testimonials: A satisfied customer might leave a positive review on their personal blog, a review website, or social media platforms, praising a brand’s product, service, or customer support. For example, a blogger posting a raving review about a new smartphone, resulting in increased awareness and sales.

Social Media Mentions and Shares: A brand’s followers or unrelated individuals might share or mention the brand’s content, product, or service on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, resulting in increased visibility and engagement. For example, a satisfied customer shares a picture of their new purchase on Instagram, using the brand’s hashtag, or a Twitter user complimenting a brand’s unique marketing campaign causing a retweet frenzy.

Press Coverage and Expert Features: Media outlets, journalists, or industry experts might mention a brand in their articles, features, or interviews, without the company paying for that exposure. For example, a technology magazine or website featuring a new software product as one of the “Top 10 Tools for Efficiency” or a national newspaper writing about a fashion brand’s socially responsible commitment to the environment, resulting in higher awareness and credibility.

Earned Media FAQ

1. What is Earned Media?

Earned media refers to any publicity gained organically through third-party outlets, such as word of mouth, online reviews, news articles, and social media shares, rather than paid advertising or company-owned channels. This type of media exposure is valued for its credibility and authenticity, as it is generated by satisfied customers or trusted influencers who share their positive experiences with a brand or product.

2. How is Earned Media different from Owned Media and Paid Media?

Earned media is content created by third parties about a brand, product, or service. Owned media is content created and controlled directly by the company on its own channels like websites, blogs, or social media pages. Paid media includes advertising and promotional activities that a brand pays for, such as sponsored content, display ads, or social media campaigns.

3. Why is Earned Media important for businesses?

Earned media is important because it often carries more credibility and trustworthiness compared to owned or paid media. When people share positive experiences with your brand, it serves as social proof, making it more likely for others to consider trying your products or services. Earned media also helps increase brand visibility and can often be more cost-effective compared to traditional advertising methods.

4. How can businesses increase their Earned Media?

Some strategies to increase earned media include creating quality products and services that customers want to share and talk about, engaging with customers and influencers online, delivering excellent customer service, and encouraging customers to share their experiences through reviews, testimonials, or social media. Public relations efforts, such as hosting events or partnering with influencers, can also help generate earned media.

5. How can I measure the effectiveness of Earned Media?

Measuring the effectiveness of earned media can be done through various metrics such as social media engagement (likes, shares, comments), online mentions, website traffic, or referral traffic. Tools like Google Analytics or social media analytics platforms can help track these metrics, providing insights into the reach and impact of your earned media efforts.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Word-of-Mouth Advertising
  • Social Media Shares
  • Online Reviews and Ratings
  • Organic Search Engine Ranking
  • Guest Blogging and Backlinks

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