11 Best Practices to Improve Earned Media Outcomes

Here are some best practices for leveraging earned media strategies. We cover everything you need to know, from influencer partnerships to SEO integration.

Earned media is the third pillar in a successful approach to content marketing. Along with paid and owned media, earned media is essential to the marketing strategy puzzle. It brings a level of authenticity and trust that paid ads can’t buy.

Earned media, stemming from customer reviews, social shares, and word-of-mouth, builds a credible and robust brand reputation. Explore how your brand can maximize your earned media impact, leveraging social media, engaging with your audience, and collaborating with industry influencers to elevate your brand’s reach and resonance.

What Exactly Is Earned Media?

Earned media refers to the organic exposure gained through word-of-mouth, social sharing, and other unsolicited online mentions. Earned media results from authentic endorsements and interactions.

Earned media examples include viral tweets, glowing testimonials on product review pages, and shared social media posts. This media type contributes to your brand’s visibility without requiring a direct investment of resources.

One of the most significant impacts of earned media is its ability to shape brand reputation. Consumers are more likely to trust the genuine opinions of their peers than traditional paid media, making earned media a key driver in fostering lasting relationships between your brands and your audience. To better understand the landscape in which earned media thrives, learn its major differences from its counterparts – owned and paid advertising.

Earned Media Best Practices

At First Media, we’ve developed proven strategies for gaining earned media for our brand partners. Let us share what we have learned by integrating industry best practices with the expertise of our team’s combined experience. Here are our top 11 practices:

1. Build Strong Industry Relationships

Fostering relationships with key figures like journalists, bloggers, and industry experts is important for your earned media strategy. Take time to engage with these partners on social media platforms. Your thoughtful interactions online now can lay the groundwork for meaningful connections in the future. By participating in relevant discussions, sharing valuable insights, and acknowledging their work, you position yourself as a genuine, trusted contributor to the discourse.

Attending industry events can provide further opportunities for outreach through face-to-face interactions. For example, networking at conferences or workshops hosted by media outlets allows you to meet key players in your industry.

2. Create High-Quality Content

The quality of your owned media content impacts your earned media. To captivate your audience, your content must be valuable, shareable, and relevant.

Valuable content addresses the needs and interests of your target demographic. It should provide solutions, insights, or entertainment.

Shareability ensures that your audience consumes and actively spreads your messaging.

Relevant content resonates with your target audience’s current trends, challenges, and conversations.

Diversifying your content across various mediums amplifies its impact. Incorporate engaging blogs, visually compelling videos, and share-worthy snippets for social media platforms. Each type of content also caters to different audience preferences and platforms, which optimizes your visibility.

If you need more convincing, diversification can positively impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Diversification makes your content more discoverable, giving you more chances of ranking for specific search terms.

3. Leverage Influencer Marketing

Collaborating with influencers on social media, bloggers, and multiple social media channels is a great avenue for garnering earned media. You create new earned media opportunities by tapping into different influencers’ established credibility and engaged follower base.

Authentic influencer endorsements generate trust between your target audience and your brand. To succeed with this social media marketing strategy, align with influencers whose values align with your brand. Establishing clear communication and mutually beneficial partnerships provides influencers with creative freedom. That creative freedom allows influencers to do what they do best: create compelling social media posts.

4. Engage with Your Followers

Actively engaging with followers on social media helps foster a sense of community and brand loyalty. Responding to comments and mentions demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction. When your audience trusts you, it creates a dynamic, interactive relationship.

You solidify existing connections and encourage organic promotion by acknowledging and appreciating user-generated content, addressing inquiries, and expressing gratitude for positive feedback.

Remember to respond promptly, maintain an authentic and relatable tone, and initiate outbound conversations that encourage participation. 

5. Encourage User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) reflects customers’ positive interactions and satisfaction with your products or services. It is becoming increasingly common for potential customers to seek out UGC before buying a new product.

The ripple effect of user-generated content extends beyond traditional marketing efforts. It creates a dynamic network of trust that generates reposts, retweets, and even viral memes that drive brand awareness.

6. Offer Exclusive Content

The allure of exclusive content is quite compelling. Managed well, exclusive content can create a loop of earned media as your followers work to share their experience after engaging with the exclusive content.

By offering exclusive access, insights, or content, you incentivize your audience to share their unique experiences. This can be a great tool to generate organic referrals, retweets, and endorsements. This exclusivity can even prompt influencers to share their positive experiences with your brand, generating authentic product reviews and industry coverage. 

7. Monitor Your Mentions on Social Media

Monitoring your mentions on social media is also a part of cultivating earned media. Using the right media monitoring tools makes this task easy. By actively tracking social media mentions and reviews on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as those specific to your industry, you gain insight into customer sentiments.

Responding promptly to positive reviews acknowledges and appreciates satisfied customers and encourages potential customers who come across these endorsements. Likewise, addressing negative feedback demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and allows you to manage your online reputation effectively. You can also use the insights you gain from these interactions to remove pain points and simplify your customer journey.

8. Be Newsworthy

Being newsworthy is a self-explanatory way to get earned media coverage. By identifying and capitalizing on topics relevant to your brand’s values, you connect with your audience and position your brand at the forefront of relevant discussions.

Use press releases as a tool to share noteworthy updates and achievements. High-quality press releases can attract media attention and allow you to share your messaging with a broad audience.

Platforms like LinkedIn offer an excellent place to amplify your newsworthy content and engage with a professional audience. Participating in conversations surrounding trending topics can help capture the attention of your target audience and fuel organic discussions and shares.

9. Host Events

Hosting events like webinars and livestreams is a strategic approach to securing earned media coverage. It positions your brand as an industry thought leader and attracts valuable media attention. By organizing informative and engaging events, you offer a platform to showcase your expertise, giving insights and solutions to current industry challenges.

Utilizing press releases and unique hashtags to announce and highlight these events and promote them through various channels like podcasts amplifies your brand’s visibility. You may even capture the interest of journalists and influencers who participate and subsequently contribute to media coverage. 

10. Measure and Analyze Results of Earned Media Efforts

Employing analytic tools allows you to quantify the impact of your earned media efforts by tracking key metrics such as media mentions, website traffic, and social engagement. Monitoring these key performance indicators (KPIs) provides valuable insights into the success of your brand awareness initiatives and helps you understand the reach of your media campaigns.

By evaluating the collected data, you can identify which strategies amplify your brand’s message and which areas may require adjustment. Analyzing the source and sentiment of media mentions also allows you to gauge the overall impact on your brand perception. This data-driven approach informs your future earned media strategies and enables you to demonstrate the tangible value of your efforts in terms of increased visibility, engagement, and overall brand impact.

11. Be Authentic and Transparent

The most effective approach to earned media is quite simple: authenticity. With so much media, authenticity and transparency can set your brand apart from the crowd. Maintaining transparency in your communication and actions will build trust with your audience, which leads to lasting relationships.

Authenticity fosters a genuine connection with consumers, making them more likely to share their positive experiences, advocate for your brand, and contribute to user-generated content. While other media tactics may provide short-term gains, authenticity takes time to cultivate but yields a more sustainable and meaningful impact on brand perception and public relations. 

Earned Media Challenges and Solutions

No matter the size of your organization or your level of experience in generating earned media, you will face some challenges as you work to improve your brand reach. Here are some common challenges you may face and some insight from our team to best manage those moments.

Organic Exposure is Unpredictable

While paid media allows for controlled messaging and targeted outreach, earned media relies on the organic spread of brand mentions. This lack of control over the narrative can lead to challenges in managing a brand’s image.


  • Actively engage with your current and potential audience to foster positive relationships with influencers and key figures.
  • Consistently deliver high-quality content.

Establishing a strong foundation of trust and credibility can help you more effectively navigate the unpredictability of earned media.

Changing Technology

Because digital marketing platforms and algorithms continue to evolve, it can be difficult to know how to stay visible to target audiences. When social media algorithms change, it can change the reach and engagement of organic content.


  • Use multiple platforms. It is rare for the algorithms of all platforms to change at the same time. Using multiple platforms lowers the risk of losing your entire audience to a single update.
  • Use multiple types of content. By creating organic written posts, videos, podcasts, paid ads, and influencer marketing, you increase the chances that some of your content will continue to perform as you adjust to technology updates.
  • Keep an eye on analytics. Seeing how and when updates impact your content can give you important insight into how to respond.
  • Stay informed about platform updates. Most platforms provide advanced warnings about updates. Staying up to date with pending and recent updates can help you respond quickly to updates that will impact your content.

Capturing earned media coverage involves solving some complex puzzles with ever-changing pieces. From adapting to evolving algorithms to building trust with diverse stakeholders, the challenges are undeniable. However, the rewards – authentic brand narratives, organic reach, and deeper relationships – make the effort worthwhile.

Embrace the challenges as opportunities to learn and refine your approach. Diversify your content across various media types, actively engage with your audience, and prioritize authenticity and transparency in your messaging. With dedication and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can unlock the full potential of earned media and build meaningful connections with the stakeholders that matter most.

Empowering Your Brand with Earned Media

Your earned media strategy can be the basis for building brand credibility, trust, and engagement with your audience. Earned media holds unique power in influencing consumer perceptions. Positive reviews, social media mentions, and influencer endorsements contribute to your brand’s visibility and reputation, fostering lasting connections with your audience.

At First Media, we guide brands to enhance their earned media impact. With a nuanced understanding of the digital landscape, we navigate the complexities of user-generated content, influencer collaborations, and authentic engagement strategies. Our tailored approach ensures that your brand optimizes your visibility through earned media and builds genuine connections with your target audience. 

Are you ready to elevate your brand through the power of earned media? Explore First Media’s performance marketing capabilities to discover innovative strategies to drive engagement, boost credibility, and empower your brand in the competitive digital landscape.