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Earned Media vs. Paid Media

Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
edited June 2016 in Public Relations
Hello, all.

I want to get the conversation on public relations rolling again. I was curious, what are your thoughts on using earned media tactics instead of paid media campaigns for your small business?

Public relations is actually a much more cost-effective way to brand your company than traditional paid media avenues, such as paid search, media buying, etc.

Building relationships with journalists in your niche area is the first place to start. Social media is a huge platform that costs little to no money in terms of branding. If your company's money should be spent on things like research and development of products, it makes more sense to try to run your own PR campaign as opposed to hiring out a firm. This will save some coin. However, be sure to know what you're doing. If you are not sure, ask somebody with expertise.

Check out this great article by public relations guru Gigi Dietrich on the matter:

Ryan O'Bleness
Community Manager
StartupNation, LLC


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    Moved_outta_hereMoved_outta_here subscriber Posts: 11 Bronze Level Member
    I don't know anything about PR, but know it's super-important from what I hear. I can't wait to see what gets posted here ;)
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    Cara O'BlenessCara O'Bleness administrator Posts: 68 Site Admin
    This is a great topic! I have been wondering the same. Great questions.
    Cara O'Bleness
    Content Director
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    tinbugtootinbugtoo subscriber Posts: 12 Bronze Level Member
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    saravanansaravanan subscriber Posts: 389 Silver Level Member
    Earned media is all about digital word-of-mouth. You might know this as public relations or media relations. Earned media is the recognition you receive from third parties.

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    arjun123arjun123 subscriber Posts: 114 Silver Level Member
    Paid media refers mostly to traditional advertising.Earned media cannot be bought or owned; it can only be gained organically, when content receives recognition and a following through communication channels such as social media and word of mouth.
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    ideasunlimited1ideasunlimited1 subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    I didn't even know they fell under separate titles. Both are important, you need paid media to attract and draw customers coming in but earned media keeps a consistent flow coming in and prevent dry spells. It's what lets a business survive.
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    CareerPublisherCareerPublisher subscriber Posts: 5 Member

    @ideasunlimited1 is correct in that both are important. I've spent 30 years in the print and digital publishing industry. I can tell you committing to even a small paid ad campaign will help you get more earned or free advertising with publishers. For instance if you are a paying advertiser most publishers will make sure that the product releases and other news items you submit will also get published for free. Many of them will also be more open to the idea of possibly featuring one of your products or your organization in a feature story. If you don't advertise it doesn't mean your product releases won't get published but it does drastically reduce the chances of it happening. Many publishers will claim there is separation between paid advertisers and the editorial that gets published in their magazines and on their sites and a few of them are very strict about it. That being said the vast majority of them understand who is helping them pay their bills each month and will almost always support those organizations first on the editorial side. I can tell you one of the last conversations I'd ever want to have is one where I'm forced to explain to a loyal advertiser why none of their product releases got published but several from companies that never advertise did. Chances are pretty high that the good paying advertiser won't be around for very long if that happens. My experience is mostly in the trade magazine industry and not the news industry (newspapers, etc.) and I'm sure the standard is probably a little different with them.

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    dowson_adowson_a subscriber Posts: 5 Member

    I think that earned media is a bit more effective and looks much less like an ad many times, but I think it's pretty hard to get earned media without paid media, especially if you are a small business. Using both ways, a little and switching between them is more than okay at the beginning of your business journey.

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