Earned media is an important part of your marketing mix. It refers to the exposure that comes from “word-of-mouth” or opportunities that result from non-paid efforts like pitching your expertise and story ideas to journalists and contributing content to industry websites and publications.
The marketing funnel is the process consumers go through before eventually making a buying decision. In other words, it’s the journey they take to decide whether or not they want to do business with you. There are different kinds of earned, owned, paid and shared strategies that are appropriate at each stage of the funnel.
The top of the funnel is the awareness phase. This is when consumers are doing their research, and in some cases, they may not even know what they’re looking for. Now is the time to let them know you’re here and can offer advice without the hard sell.
Here are some ways PR and earned media can help attract prospects into the top of your marketing funnel.
Earned Media Generates Awareness
The first stage of the marketing funnel is not about sealing the deal or divulging your services. It’s about making your prospects aware that you’re here and have something valuable to contribute. When the media continues to turn to you as an expert in your field, it adds another way for people to find and remember your brand.
Media Relations Builds Trust
PR is a great way to showcase your expertise on different topics and themes without looking promotional. The goal is to keep your audience around long enough so you’re seen as a trusted source. Reporters are generally not interested in how great your product or services are, and care more about your ability to provide additional background, an interesting perspective or an opposing view to a story. Strategies to improve your media relations efforts, like writing bylined articles, participating in interviews and commenting on trending news, will demonstrate the depth of your knowledge and show your audience how they can benefit from the information you’re spreading.
PR Adds Third-Party Recognition
Trust starts to spread when someone else believes in what you’re saying. PR adds credibility to your content, ideas and expertise. This doesn’t mean you have to put all your energy into landing the big New York Times interview. Take advantage of the content you already have and find other relevant websites who are willing to publish or link to it.
PR on its own may not be enough to generate real business results, but it can help you get there. When it’s part of an overall strategy with a healthy mix of marketing tactics, earned media can help attract new leads.
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