Committing to Earned Media

We all know the phrase, “You get out of it what you put into it.” This typically goes for any business investment. Your shiny new CRM system will not deliver on its promises of predictive analytics unless it’s fed consistent, accurate data. Your ad campaigns likely will not deliver the expected ROI unless you put some spend behind them. You can’t just plug something in and expect it to work for you without any sort of nurturing.

While earned media “machines” like Impressi come as close as possible to providing this “set it and forget it” functionality, they still require an important commitment from the client—a commitment to put the journalist first. While working to get you in the press has the obvious end benefit of an earned media placement, it also carries the residual benefit of simply getting your brand name in front of the right people (journalists/writers/reporters) and building a relationship. If you do not prioritize those people, though, these efforts could backfire.

Sometimes, I’ll work hard to secure an interview for one of my clients and finally hear from the reporter to set a date—only to have my client go dark or grow noncommittal. This lack of prioritization reflects poorly on the client and our work together, hurting our chances of building a trusting relationship and future success. If my clients and I are known as responsive and helpful, though, the reporter is more likely to turn to us in the future. I’ve had a reporter tell me that my client was not right for a particular story she was writing, but that she’d contact me when a better fit came up. And you know what? She did.

The whole point of earned media is garnering free publicity. We’re not paying the writer to use our name—they’re using it because they think we’ll be a helpful source for their readers. This always reminds me of Jerry McGuire pleading, “Help me help you!” Take a look at how you can generate ROI… I bet free publicity is at or near the top of your list. So, prioritize it.

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