Anyone else think earned media is overrated?

brianarani's profile thumbnail
As a PR expert, what do you think are the benefits of going with owned strategies? Is it a better investment of time and money from the Business side? As a reader/consumer, I definitely give more weight to reporting and publications than ads.
meganduero's profile thumbnail
I absolutely think that reporting and publications are worth more weight than ads or sponsored content. But so much earned media work lately seems to be focused on forcing ideas to fit a "thought leadership" mold when, realistically, they don't have much that's interesting to say - at least, not in a way that won't be self-promotional, which no publication or reporter will publish.There are so many owned channels out there - LinkedIn, Medium, Substack, company blogs, plus all the usual social feeds, and more - that "old school" businesses seem scared to touch. I understand that to a point - if your customers are only reading the NYT, that's where you want to be. But it's VERY hard to get into the NYT. And you have to be able to leverage the results you get, whether earned or owned, to grow your business - so getting good content out there now, instead of waiting for the NYT, is important. And the more results you can leverage, in theory, the more you can grow - and then the media will start to come to you. That's a simplistic answer, but it seems time that earned takes a backseat.
It depends on your goals. If you want the public to hear about your business, traditional media (I hate the phony phrase “earned media”) is still more credible. If you are trying to reach a subset of the public that would become your customers, then you need to find which platforms they use and aim there. I can say I’m always amazed at the variety of people who read or listen to traditional media, and who remember it for months or years after a story appeared. I’m not sure whether the retention factor is the same with other places.
meganduero's profile thumbnail
That's true - I do think traditional media sticks in people's minds longer. But for the purposes of clients (e.g., being quoted in a story), I don't know that their quote is going to be remembered. Separately, I'm curious: what makes you feel that "earned media" is a phony phrase?
christinamorgan's profile thumbnail
My experience is in early to growth stage consumer products, but from their lens PR definitely has its place in the mix for building brand credibility, increasing activation rates (if leveraged in product/onboarding), SEO, and announcement/launch/timely newsworthy story-based acquisition, especially if the stories told are use case based and really attuned to the ideal customer. It doesn't stand alone, will rarely be the primary growth driver, and can be a real time/money pit when done sloppily, but when thoughtful, is a multipurpose channel that delivers both qual and quant outcomes.Depending how you're thinking about "Earned," reviews, influencers, community, guest blogs, etc all play important parts of the game, too. To your point about Earned vs. Owned, to me it's not an either/or, but what % of each, at what time in the company's lifecycle, to achieve what goal.