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Elevate Your Marketing Game with Earned Media Value

Published on
November 20, 2023
Earned media value (EMV) is a valuable metric that measures a brand's organic success. Learn more about EMV and how to calculate it in this article.

Being featured by media entities or parties like bloggers, influencers, and customers is one of the best forms of free press that benefits brands significantly. Sadly, many companies let these exposures run their course without identifying how impactful they actually are. 

However, there's a way for businesses to measure the value of their earned media mentions and gauge how it affects their venture positively. 

Enter earned media value (EMV), a metric that allows brands to calculate their organic exposure's success across various advertising and marketing platforms. In this guide, we'll explore more about earned media and teach you the basics of calculating its value. 

Read below for more. 

Key takeaways

  • Earned media is a valuable type of coverage or mention that benefits brands in many ways. It helps enhance credibility, expand audience reach, and reduce advertising expenses.
  • Earned media value (EMV) is a metric used to calculate the monetary value of a brand's earned media exposure. 
  • Understanding the EMV is an excellent way to determine an unpaid marketing effort's success, set benchmarks for future campaigns, and allocate resources better. 
  • There are many ways to gain earned media mentions, including building relationships with journalists, providing meaningful experiences, and publishing authoritative content. 

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Understanding Earned Media

Earned media refers to any publicity a brand receives from third-party sources like journalists, influencers, and other relevant parties in the industry without prior partnership. For instance, a news outlet features a brand because they discover a compelling story they want their audiences to know.

This type of media coverage comes in different content forms, including news articles, blog posts, customer reviews or recommendations, and social media mentions. The story could be positive, negative, or neutral, meaning earned media doesn't always imply favorable exposure for a brand. 

We'll discuss more about earned media's benefits below. Before that, we'll explore other types of coverages or mentions to differentiate earned media and learn more about it. 

Earned media vs. owned media

Owned media are all marketing or communication channels a brand controls, including websites, social media pages, mobile apps, and emails. Companies that own these channels can publish stories, solutions, and other concepts in various content forms. 

This type of media coverage is vital to a brand's content marketing strategy. Because it offers complete control, companies have the power to showcase their expertise and put themselves as thought leaders in the industry, increasing their chances of being noticed by media agencies and customers. 

Meanwhile, brands don't have control over their exposure in earned media. They can pitch ideas but can't dictate the flow and outcome of the story. 

Earned media vs. paid media

Paid media is the complete opposite of earned media. It refers to any traditional or online channel that provides ad placements or sponsored exposure in exchange for monetary value. The most popular outlets that offer these options are television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, websites, and social media pages. 

The best part about paid media is its targeting capabilities, allowing brands to reach their audience based on certain factors. Outlets, especially online ones, provide advanced targeting options that enable brands to reach their potential customers based on demographics, interests, and behavior. 

Earned and paid media are similar in terms of having a third-party outlet featuring a story or marketing material. With paid media, brands have complete control over their exposure. The concept and execution will come directly from you. 

Benefits of Earned Media

As mentioned, earned media benefits brands in many ways. The following are some of the notable advantages to consider. 

Builds credibility and trust

Organic media mentions from journalists, influencers, customers, and other businesses mean getting third-party endorsements for your brand. People view media organizations and similar professionals as reliable sources of information, meaning they can position you as an industry leader by featuring you in a story. When that happens, they can boost your credibility and trust, and you reach more of your target audience.

Moreover, earned media can also generate word-of-mouth recommendations to potential customers. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising because people often want social proof to verify a brand's credibility. When positive news about your brand spreads among the masses, potential customers become more inclined to purchase. 

Being featured in any media outlet will help you trigger that effect. 

Reaches a wider audience

Aside from boosting credibility, obtaining an earned media mention is an excellent way to increase brand awareness and, ultimately, reach. When media agencies feature your company on their platforms, you connect with their existing audience or those potentially untapped by your brand.

This benefit is best gained on social media, especially since user-generated content (UGC) and influencer content are considered earned media channels. If relevant influencers and existing customers talk about your brand on a piece of content, you expand your reach by tapping into their followers.

Meanwhile, getting organic or free media coverage opens your brand to opportunities like partnerships, collaborations, and sponsorships. When that happens, you increase your chances of boosting your network of investors and suppliers, allowing your brand to grow immensely in its industry.

Earn cost-effective marketing

Unlike paid media, earned media doesn't require featured brands to pay for advertising placement or sponsored content. Third-party sources like journalists, influencers, and customers generate these mentions or coverages willingly to share their advocacy and positive experiences about a product or service.

Free advertising or marketing allows brands to save more money. You can use that fund to invest in more robust marketing solutions. For instance, you can allocate more budget to create meaningful website experiences or pay for better ad placements on various channels. 

It's also worth noting that it only costs brands time, effort, and a small budget to get noticed by media professionals. Through inexpensive practices like search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and content marketing, you can showcase your expertise and increase your chances of being featured. We'll discuss in more detail the many methods you can try to attract media attention. 

Image by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

What is Earned Media Value (EMV)?

Earned media value (EMV) is an advertising or marketing metric used to calculate the monetary or dollar value of earned media coverage or exposure generated by a brand's public relations and non-paid marketing efforts, both online and offline. Simply put, EMV aims to help brands determine how successful their earned media mentions are and the value of the advertising they didn't pay for.  

People often associate EMV with online marketing channels like social media and blogs, primarily since many refer to EMV as an engagement metric. However, engagement is only one of the many components used in the formula. That means EMV is not just restricted to online outlets but traditional ones, too.

It's also worth noting that many online platforms can help brands track mentions across all forms of media. Because of that, companies can identify offline exposures and use the EMV formula to determine their value. 

Why EMV Matters for Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

EMV may not have the same impactful data as measuring return on investment (ROI) or click-through rates (CTR), but there are some notable reasons why brands must measure it. For one, EMV provides quantitative measurements of a brand's earned media efforts, allowing them to gauge their success with search engine optimization and social media campaigns. 

Understanding EMV means knowing how well you attract media entities and relevant parties through organic marketing efforts. Through this metric, you can identify areas of improvement and establish benchmarks for future campaigns.

Learning about the value of earned media also helps brands make more informed decisions about where to allocate their resources. Identifying where you perform well lets you decide which channel and strategies to prioritize.

Of course, to know if you've saved money from earned media, you must identify your EMV score. 

Calculating Your EMV

Today, there are various ways to calculate your earned media value. We're focusing on one of the most commonly used EMV formulas:

EMV = Impressions x CPM x Adjustment Variable 

To understand this formula fully, let's break down all the critical components mentioned, starting with impressions. 

The number of impressions refers to the number of times a person sees or encounters your ad campaign on their platforms. It's common in various digital marketing channels like websites, social media, and email marketing.

Cost per mille/thousand (CPM) is the monetary amount you spend on ad campaigns for every 1,000 impressions. You must use the formula 1,000 x (cost / total impressions) to get this number. 

Lastly, there's the adjustment variable. This component is a crucial part of the formula because this is how you measure your campaign's success.

Your adjustment variable number will depend on your campaign's goal. For instance, your recent campaign aimed to generate more engagement. Whatever your engagement was for your target period is your adjustment variable. Aside from engagement, other factors you can calculate include sentiment, social media reach, and share of voice. 

With all that, let's go back to the formula mentioned above. For example, your campaign has 10,000 impressions, and it costs you around $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions (CPM), with an adjustment variable of 20, your calculation will look like this:

10,000 x 2 x 20 = $400,000 

Limitations of Earned Media Value 

The most significant limitation of EMV is its elements of subjectivity. Since it involves calculating the value of intangible assets like brand reputation, loyalty, and sentiment, there could be various approaches and criteria for assigning value to earned media coverage.

It's also worth noting that since many earned media value formulas are available, there are no standard approaches and tools to calculate your brand's organic exposure. Because of that, comparing earned media performance with competitors will be difficult. 

Image by cottonbro studio from Pexels

Improving Your Brand's Earned Media Value

Despite the drawbacks of calculating earned media value, getting organic exposure on various outlets is still an excellent way to boost brand reputation, reach, and conversion. With that, we list below the many practices that will help you increase your chances of gaining media attention. 

Create authoritative content

As discussed above, one of the best ways to gain media attention is for brands to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. You must utilize your owned media and publish relevant content in your field to do that.

Fortunately, you can experiment with many content forms to showcase your expertise. Aside from blogs, you can publish social media graphics, videos, and podcasts. The key is to use relevant data backed by recent studies to elevate your content further. 

Additionally, producing authoritative content is an excellent way to boost your library and improve your search engine rankings. When you receive a high SEO ranking because of your content, you increase your chances of becoming noticed by media entities as they search for relevant industry stories.

Provide meaningful experiences

Another way to appeal to third-party outlets is to provide unique and meaningful experiences. Doing this will help attract influencers and encourage customers to create user-generated content

One of the best ways to do this is to provide personalized experiences and seamless customer journeys across various channels. Offering excellent customer service is also another way to provide meaningful engagement with your audience. 

Maintain media relationships

One way to boost your earned media mentions is to create a strong relationship with journalists, influencers, and other similar parties. This step is vital to get regular coverage from various outlets and helps secure better stories for your brand. When you build rapport with them, they understand your brand better, allowing them to develop story ideas that perfectly encapsulate your brand and its values. 

You can build relationships with media professionals and similar entities in various ways. For instance, you can follow them on their online platforms and share or promote their work on your channels. Always stay in touch with them online and in person to maintain rapport. Invite them to your events and send them tokens of appreciation if you can.

Pro Tip: Social listening is the process of monitoring and analyzing online conversations and mentions on different social media platforms. This practice aims to gain insightful data into what people are saying about your brand and its products or services. It can also help you gauge which campaigns are gaining media attention, allowing you to determine how effective your content and messaging are. Use this as part of your strategy to get more organic media coverage or mentions. 

Boost Your Media Appearances

Getting earned media mentions is one of the best ways to elevate a brand's credibility, reach, and growth, regardless of your venture's size. Despite its limitations, learning about your earned media value is still an excellent way to boost your offline and digital marketing campaigns to attract more media mentions. 

Social media is among the best channels available to gain organic media exposure. When boosting your campaigns, maximizing all the best tools available is best. 

One of these tools is Archive. Archive offers excellent social listening services and advanced video-capturing features to help brands acquire and monitor all the user-generated and influencer content that features them. 

Visit Archive and learn more. 

Archive allows brands to maximize the power of media mentions like user-generated content and other similar social media posts. Talk to us for more details. 

FAQs on Elevate Your Marketing Game with Earned Media Value

What’s the ideal earned media value score? 

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what’s considered an ideal EMV score, mainly because it features various subjective factors. It’s often referred to as a vanity metric because what you consider high or low for your brand may differ from others. The only way to gauge your EMV’s quality is by relating it to your benchmarks and previous campaigns. 

How do you track media coverage or mentions? 

The best way to track your media exposure is by using platforms like Google Alerts and various Social Media Monitoring tools. These programs use relevant keywords and other factors to help brands locate their mentions on different platforms through social media marketing.

You can also monitor media mentions on online forums suitable to your field. For instance, try subscribing to media platforms and publications relevant to your industry to determine the best ones related to your brand.

What are some other ways to attract potential media agencies or similar entities?

Aside from the practices mentioned above, other ways exist to attract media attention. For instance, you can send a media kit to your desired journalists, media agencies, and other related parties. 

Another way is to participate in industry events. Try hosting one to showcase yourself as a thought leader and increase your chances of being noticed by media organizations, influencers, and customers. 

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