Home Blog Increase your Traffic by Understanding What Earned Media is – (2020 Handbook)

Increase your Traffic by Understanding What Earned Media is – (2020 Handbook)

President Trump couldn’t have won the 2016 US presidential elections without Earned Media. Read here how his election campaign capitalized on this opportunity and used it to beat his competitors. 

Owned, Paid and Earned Media are all standard terms within Digital Marketing; knowing the difference between them is crucial for any successful marketer. This blog will explain what Earned Media is and what it isn’t and, more importantly, how it can grow your business.

What is Earned Media?

Earned Media is synonymous with publicity in many ways. It is any media/content that you do not own, nor pay for, and therefore it is gained. It is the same as publicity; you do not pay for it directly, but rather your actions have earned it. Unlike publishing a blog on your website, that is owned media, and anything you pay for is Paid Media (like advertisements).

Read more about the difference between Owned, Paid, and Earned Media here. This is not to be confused with growing organically using SEO. To know more about organic and paid growth read here.

Earned Media Today

Earned Media has always been a part of marketing; however, with the turn of the century, it changed drastically. Before the technological peak that gave birth to a world of connectivity, The Internet of Things and Social Media Networks, Earned Media existed in Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, and TV broadcasts.

It used to look like a review in the local newspaper by a food critic complementing a superb dish at your restaurant. Or a 30 mins segment on TV promoting your new consumer products. While these still exist and to some degree, even critical, Earned Media comes in many more forms today.

If you have ever been on Instagram, you will find thousands of photos promoting products, shops, and companies; most of these are Earned Media. People posting a picture of their meal at their favourite restaurant is a common practice. Twitter is one of the most used Social Platforms for word of mouth; retweets are a thing. Even a blog mentioning the top 5 products by an enthusiast.

Earned Media is Not

Any publicity that you pay for is not earned. For example, paying to have a publication mentioned your company or product is Paid Media. Writing a blog on your website is Owned Media because you own and control that content.

Any social networks accounts that you own are not Earned Media, in fact, they are not even Owned Media although many marketers will tell you that they are since you own the profiles and control the content.

However, this isn’t true. Social Media accounts are Rented Media at best. Read why here.

The difference between Owned, Paid, and Earned is very distinct, knowing them will allow you to converge them. This way, they will be complementing each other.

Is Earned Media Effective?

Yes. It can be the splitting factor that makes or breaks your business. If you have been following the last US presidential elections you will already probably know how effective Earned Media is.

Leading up to the elections it seemed that the Trump winning was almost impossible, yet he won. There are many factors and variables at play in such large elections. However, the role that Earned Media played cannot be overlooked. In fact, it can be argued that without Earned Media Trump couldn’t have beat Hillary for the presidential seat.

Trump was very active on Social Media specially Twitter. He wanted the whole world to know his stance on immigration, and how he wants to “Make America Great Again“. And everyone got to hear this message and associate it with him. He created viral engagement online to the extent that for every mention of Hilary there were at least two mentions of Trump. She just couldn’t keep up with it.

So yes applied correctly it can be very effective and could place you on the map. Research has shown, that more than 50% of people trust information from Google Search when making a buying decision. Capturing Earned Media attention is more crucial than ever if you want to be successful and grow your business.

How to Get Earned Media

It might seem like a difficult task since you might say it’s out of your hands, you don’t Own it or Pay for it. Yet, obtaining Earned Media is all about being active and creating relevant value for your audience. Here are some of the best practises to achieve that:

Content Creation

Probably one of the most direct and effective methods is to create content that people actually want to share. Relevant, useful and targetted content that creates real value for your audience. If you take to any Social Media Platform, you will realise that the most shared content is probably the most useful or funny. You can even break it down to a science of how to create very sharable material.

Being Active on Social Media

The advantage behind Social Media is that it cuts the middle man and brings you straight to your audience. The impact you can have is only limited by your activity. You should really invest time and resources to be active, engaging and interacting with your audience.

Today, you can apply monitoring tools, that notify you whenever your brand or something of interest is mentioned. This way you can easily jump in and interact, maybe answer a question, or just comment on your thoughts.

Showing your audience that you are out there actively caring about them and their experiences will allow them to connect with you on a personal level. If done right it can be a driving force for your business.

Giving Your Customers an Excellent Experience

Nobody would automatically promote your brand. If you want your customers to be advocates of your brand, you need to exceed their expectations and not only fulfil them. When customers are satisfied with your product/service they are more likely to give referrals, testimonials, and write excellent reviews about you.

Giving your customers the best possible experience will go a long way for brand loyalty and for actually creating brand promoters and ambassadors.


Earned Media is not to be confused with Owned and Paid Media. If you own it or pay a publisher for it then it is not Earned Media. Just like the term, you need to earn it by creating something worth sharing.

If you want to know more about how to used Earned Media, or how to converge Owned and Paid leave a comment below or alternatively just click here.

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