Learn the benefits of positive news coverage for your company
So, you are ready to hire a PR firm. However, like many companies, you may be unsure of exactly what a PR agency can do for you. Some of the biggest benefits come in the form of increased visibility, a boost in name recognition and improving your reputation. PR can do all those things by securing earned media.
Most companies know about advertising, though many are still somewhat confused about earned media. Others may think that the terms are interchangeable. When you understand more about the importance of earned media, you will be able to better use it to influence prospects, attract top talent and increase sales.
Three types of media
There are three ways to get publicity: You can pay for it, you can distribute it yourself or you can earn it. Earned media is the kind you want the most.
The publicity you receive from independent sources is known as earned media. It’s what everyone else is thinking or saying about you. That’s the basis for the work that PR often performs.
A positive news story mentioning your company or receiving a great review of your product from a consumer group would fall into the “earned media” category. The benefit of earned media is that it tends to carry more weight with audiences because of the credibility of an independent source confirming your claims. As you probably know, your reputation is not who you are or who you say you are; it’s who others think you are.
Delivering publicity yourself is referred to as owned media. This is the information you directly control, such as your publications or reports, your website and blogs and your social media accounts.
Paying for publicity is called paid media. This category includes any type of advertising you purchase, such as pay-per-click and Google Adwords, banner ads, sponsorships, direct mail and billboards as well as other print, radio and television ads.
Why earned media trumps other forms of message delivery
- Studies show that people are far more likely to believe a news story than an advertisement. Many consumers see advertisements as sponsored, biased and one-sided. Since companies can’t buy news stories, consumers regard them differently than advertisements because it’s the equivalent of a third-party endorsement for the company.
No one tunes into the evening news to see who’s advertising. They tune in to absorb information.
- Today’s consumer expects to have a good sense of a company as a whole before developing a business relationship with that company. Seeing advertising and visiting a website is no longer enough; consumers want independent proof that you can provide value and make a difference in their lives. Earned media messages do that.
- In the event of a crisis, advertising is of little help. To get through it, you need an established crisis communications plan, a well-trained spokesperson, and strong relationships with journalists. News stories in key outlets will help you get your messages quickly to your target audiences.
- Earned media helps pave the way for consumer outreach. It ensures that customers and prospects already have a positive opinion about your product or industry at various points of the buyer’s journey. In contrast, advertising is paid ad space, plain and simple.
Use PR to get the most of your media efforts
Of course, for all types of media, money changes hands. Even with owned media, you still must pay to have writers, website technicians and photographers produce content. All three categories of media are necessary for a comprehensive marketing plan. Nonetheless, your overall goal should be to spend less on paid media so that you see a bigger return on investment for earned and owned media.
At Axia Public Relations, our team of experts will help your company get the earned media you need to attract customers, encourage brand loyalty and increase your profitability. Contact us today or download our free e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media for more information on the benefits of news coverage for your company.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.
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