Earned digital media

Earned media are communications where the press and the public share your content or discuss your brand using word-of-mouth. So earned media are also known as online public relations (PR).

The use of earned media is one of the most exciting aspects of digital media with investment increasing as marketers look to use influencer marketing through celebrities, professionals and micro-influencers to gain awareness on social media and publisher site.

This visual from my book Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice compares how earned media compare to the options for paid and owned media.

The main earned media digital marketing techniques to think about using are:

  • Publisher editorial – Getting featured on media sites and blogs where people talk about your brand or link to your site.
  • Influencer outreach – Working with influencers to encourage them to discuss your brand, products or content
  • Word-of-mouth – People discuss your content because it is worth sharing – these are sometimes called ‘everyday influencers’
  • Social networks – where content is shared on publisher or influencers own social pages.

Guest blogging is a practical technique that I have found effective for gaining visibility and to use people to contribute to your own blog. If you offer to write for other blogs, this is a ‘win-win’ since it can provide their publisher with quality content and it can gain backlinks to your site that help with SEO.

More on influencer marketing

I recommend these two guides for more detail:

Ethical and legal constraints on influencer marketing

Note that influencer marketing is now rightly subject to legal constraints since some celebrities have endorsed products, particularly on social media where space is constrained without a disclosure like #ad or #sponsored.


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My latest books

Full details on Amazon:

Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice
8th edition

Digital Marketing Excellence
6th edition

About Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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