Three benefits of earned media

Hand holding smartphone on a news website

Over the last few years, we’ve seen some local media and newsrooms dwindle while social media platforms grow, but that doesn’t mean your media relations efforts should lose priority.

While print media might be inching closer towards becoming our past, publications are adapting to meet audiences where they are: online. From downloadable, PDF versions of the daily paper to daily email newsletters curating breaking and trending news, the media landscape is continuously evolving. Publications also rely on social media platforms to get their content in front of readers, maximizing reach compared to how many eyes would see a story in print. And with all eyes on digital content these days, we’re seeing more ROI and benefits when placing a story in the news for our clients.

Still not sure if pitching reporters is worth the time and effort? Here are three reasons to say yes to media relations.

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Raise awareness, credibility and validity.

These are three tried-and-true benefits to incorporating earned media into your communications strategy. Whether you’re a newly launched business or a nonprofit with an important story to tell, media coverage comes with exposure and helps to elevate awareness around your brand or message.

Earned media also lends our clients credibility that paid ads can’t buy. Purchasing a full page or 30-second online ad to showcase your product or service is the best of the best is guaranteed to be seen, but it doesn’t come with the trust and respect that earned media does. For example, our client Virginia Distillery Company is focused on producing premium American Single Malt whisky – a message that is validated when Maxim, Uproxx and Robb Report, among others, write that its flagship American Single Malt whisky called Courage & Conviction is among the best American Single Malts in 2020.

Media relations can complement your content marketing efforts.

You work hard to tell your story through owned content, so when credible outlets help to tell the story for you, be sure to loop those hits into your content efforts. Consider adding a placement you’re proud of or that does a good job of telling your story to your company website. This will help to quickly validate your company or organization to audiences who might be visiting your page for the first time. Be sure also to post coverage on your social media platforms. Some of our clients’ social media posts with the highest organic engagement are links to news stories. And don’t be afraid to put a few ad dollars behind it.

Increase ROI

Sales, better SEO, website traffic and donations are just some of the ROI we’ve seen from media relations success. When media stories are told online, they typically link back to your website. This is called a backlink or “inbound link,” which is especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. In addition to better search rankings, these backlinks also have contributed to an increase in website traffic for some of our clients. And thanks to Google Analytics, they’ve been able to link that web traffic directly to online sales or donations.

Need a little support to ramp up your media relations and other digital marketing efforts? Download our Digital Marketing Toolkit, complete with a media list template, social media advertising budget worksheet and more.   

Amanda Colocho

Amanda joined Hodges in 2015 after earning her undergraduate degree in mass communications and public relations from VCU. Since then, she’s been flexing her media relations, content strategy and social media muscles on accounts like Virginia Distillery Company, Motorcycle Law Group, Hilldrup, Kroger, Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Swedish Match’s Umgås Magazine.

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