Is earned media still relevant in 2022?

Media relations are one of the important elements in PR. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for PR professionals to maintain good and healthy relations with their media contacts. This will help get clients’ coverage. The impact of the pandemic on the business of press and media has been devastating. A couple of publishers such as Media24 had announced that several newspapers and magazines in their portfolio would either be closed or restructured.  This has left public relations (PR) professionals wondering if earned media is still relevant in their PR strategy. This article will discuss earned media.

PR professionals are aware that an effective media relations strategy does not only involve just one media channel but a combination of all three. Which are earned media, paid media and owned media. However, in this article, we will only shift our focus toward earned media. Earned media might not seem as effective as owned or paid because it is not something you can necessarily “control” but is extremely valuable in helping your brand stand out from its competitors in the crowded media landscape. Earned media can be used alone or in conjunction with owned and paid media.


What is earned media?

Earned media refers to unpaid media coverage of a brand by a print or online publication, social media, radio, TV or podcast news. On these various platforms, these types of “earned” media can range from a small mention to a feature story, thought leadership interviews, business or product reviews, award wins, and even your brand being talked about amongst others. Earned media usually involves a journalist picking up on a newsworthy story shared by a variety of sources. A type of source could be PR professionals sharing a story on your brand’s behalf. Earned media is not controlled by PR professionals or brands. This makes it a lot less biased – and ultimately more trusted by an audience.

Now that we have an understanding of what earned media is, lets explore why earned media is still of relevance.

The question still stands, is earned media still relevant in 2022? Should it be included in PR strategies? Well, yes, and here is why;

The pandemic hit the traditional media industry and some major newspapers and magazines were discontinued. However, other publications used online platforms as the new norm for journalists and media players stuck at home.

Also, earned media has taken a bit of a stretch as it includes PR combined with different types of user-generated content (UGC) and sharing. This means anyone can be a source of earned media by tweeting, created content by a social media user, bloggers reviewing a product and so on.

Podcasts have also become very popular. PR professionals can use the rising podcast trend to their advantage. They can distribute their releases to podcast news platforms for earned media purposes.

A PR strategy includes a component of public relations and media coverage. Not only does it help grow brand awareness but earning backlinks from top news outlets helps a brand’s website domain rating – thus helps the brand’s website rank higher on Google.

Are you still not convinced? Let us have a look at a few earned media benefits.


Benefits of earned media

  • Cost-effective – earned media provides exposure for your brand without having to pay for placement in a newspaper or magazine. It provides low costs compared to paid media such as social media advertising. Media releases can be picked up by multiple media houses, skyrocketing a brand’s, reach.
  • Credibility – consumers sometimes perceive advertising as deceptive, which is why being featured by a credible media outlet can build trust with a brand’s audience. For instance, with the backing of a trusted media house, like Business Insider audiences are more likely to trust the content.
  • Raises awareness – earned media is an effective way to boost a brand’s awareness beyond what an existing marketing campaign can achieve. Earned media can also be an excellent way to reach potential customers who fall outside your traditional customer base. For instance, having your brand being mentioned on a popular podcast news channel can be of benefit.


Final thoughts

People are more likely to trust organic opinions from other people who have used your product or interacted with your brand before as they know it is unbiased and real. Even more so, if it is featured on a credible media publication, news channel and so on. Yes, the media industry took a knock due to the pandemic but earned media is still relevant in 2022 as it goes beyond just a newspaper article. It has maintained its relevance by evolving and moving with the digital times. Therefore, PR professionals should still include earned media in their strategies.

Pearlmar Chauke