By Samantha Jacobson, Founder of TenXPR
When you’re building a strategy to promote your brand, company, product, or message, “earned media” is one of the many common buzzwords you’ll encounter in the public relations and brand marketing world. It also happens to be one of (if not THE) most important term. Why? Because once you understand and master the art of earned media – especially when it comes to brand marketing on TV – you’ll be well on your way to reaching your target audience before you know it.
At TenXPR, earned media is our bread and butter and the reason our clients successfully reach their audience on TV.
In this article, I’ll draw from my background as a veteran TV producer turned broadcast PR expert to break it all down for you, from explaining why earned media should be an integral part of your overall brand marketing and PR strategy, to sharing my step-by-step guide that will help you garner earned media for your brand, product, company, or message – right now.
What is earned media?
Earned media is exactly what you’d think – media that is earned!
In the broadest sense, earned media is any publicity or awareness that is organically generated by customers, social media, journalists, bloggers, etc. In the TV PR sense, earned media happens when a producer chooses to cover your story or expertise on their network and asks you if you’d be willing to appear for an interview. This only happens when a producer thinks your story will resonate with their audience or your expertise will help them understand a complex news story or topic. More on that later!
Earned media is the opposite of paid media in which you pay for PR placements, branded content, website and banner ad clicks, etc. Networks will charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for up to 5-minute integrated segments, but earned media is FREE.
Why does earned media matter?
While paid media is a deliberate advertisement, earned media is the best possible method of reaching your audience in the most authentic and personalized way. Did I also mention that it’s FREE?
In addition, garnering organic media attention from reputable sources across both local and national TV outlets leads you to build more trust and credibility with your target audience in ways you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
And when it comes to reaching your target audience, trust and credibility are everything!
How do I get earned media coverage on TV?
Step #1: Ask!
If you’d rather not work with a PR agency and would rather try reaching out on your own, that’s great! Just be prepared – it might take you several times to get a response. A huge benefit to working with a broadcast PR agency is that you can take advantage of the extensive relationships they’ve built with talent bookers and producers over the course of their years-long careers.
Step #2: Create an email pitch.
When asking a talent booker or producer if they will consider you as a guest for their show, the best way to ask is via email.
Your email should act as a way to pitch yourself to the talent bookers and producers that clearly explains what you bring to the table and why YOU are the right fit to join their show as an expert.
To create the perfect pitch, you should include the following, ideally in this order:
- A catchy subject line. This is key, especially when you consider that 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone!
- Your background. Who are you? What is your area of expertise? What separates you from other experts in your field? If you can’t clearly answer these questions, there’s a high probability that the booker or producer on the other end of the email will pass you up as a potential guest.
- A news story or hook that you can contribute to or comment on. For example, a shocking statistic, a trending topic, a compelling news or human interest story, etc.
- 5 talking points that you want to make about the story or hook. Draw from your expertise to think about the insights and advice you can share to the show’s audience.
- Your bio. This is crucial because (1) it will help bookers and producers learn more about you and (2) it serves as a place where you can list all of your credentials that have shaped the industry expert you are today.
But there’s one catch. Earned media takes work (and a lot of it).
It’s true. Earned media is called “earned” for a reason! Like anything you earn in life, earned media takes a lot of hard work, time and patience to achieve the results you want. But when you successfully garner earned media placements, the results will not disappoint.