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PR is not just earned media

By Nicole Cardenas

How earned media has changed, and what we have learned from it


A man being recording for a TV show.Earned media is any material that has been written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for. It can be written off as “free publicity” for your company. Over the years, it has changed and is now presented through different media channels. Before, it used to be a 90-minute segment on a news channel, but now it can be seen as a 60-word tweet. 


Nonetheless, earned media can get confusing when it involves publicity. When you pay a news source to write a piece on your business, that is known as paid media. When you write an article for your website, that is known as owned media. 


Today, customers are heavily influenced by things they see on social media. Earned media plays a huge role in what is shared online, and we can learn a lot from it. 



Here are three lessons for the PR industry: 


Shared media channels offer brands power.

Social media plays a huge role in controlling the content people see. Giving your brand a voice  on popular social media platforms can create a direct connection between the brand and its followers. It’s a great asset to have because with all the misinformation spread by other news sources, you can get the facts directly from the source. 


PR pros must do more than write press releases.

Press releases have been around for quite some time and have provided companies with adequate information over the years. Now, people want to hear more about other parts of the company that haven’t been disclosed to the public. 


For example, Tesla recently shut down its PR department because it could not keep up with Elon Musk’s 39 million followers. Now, these same PR professionals have been relocated into other departments and have become business experts with communications knowledge. Not every company can and should close their PR departments. To prevent that from happening, PR professionals need to provide more value than just writing press releases. 


Trust comes at a premium. 

It’s hard to trust any media source with important information about your company. That’s why you should build relationships with different media channels and offer valuable information to journalists who will do right by your company. 


To build trust with the media, you should have an open line of communication 24/7 and check in with one another often. The relationship you have with the media and your audience is give and take. If you do not follow through and help them, the trust may break. It’s not advisable to break trust because in doing so, you break the line of communication and impact the media’s ability to cover the topic or news. 


Any organization in the PR industry should understand how crucial it is to prioritize earned media. But as PR pros, we’re more than just earned media fiends. To adapt to the changing PR climate, we must adapt our strategies of how we reach our audiences and share information.


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Topics: shared media, earned media, owned media

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