Link Building

Traditionally, SEO experts bought as many links as they could from directories and external websites to help clients rank better in the search results. The more links you bought, the higher up you appeared in the SERP. Simple.
Tactics such as buying directory links worked for years, but with continuous learning and updates in Google’s Algorithm, the SEO world had a huge shake up and came to the realisation that their tactics would no longer achieve the results they had promised their clients.
Google want you to rank well because you deserve to, not because your company can afford to. So no matter how much you spend on link building, if your content isn’t natural, relevant and authoritative, you won’t rank well for your keywords.
This realisation that link building wouldn’t work anymore lead to the term ‘earned media’ to materialize.

So what is earned media?

According to Hootsuite, earned media is “the natural result of public/media relation’s efforts, ad campaigns, events and the content that you create within your owned media channels”.
To earn media, you need to create content that is so good, and so relevant that the press naturally want to cover your story and link to your website.
You need to understand the habits and motivations behind the press, and you need to use timings and seasonality to your advantage when selling in a story.

Earned media best practice

So once you decide you want to earn media, you need to make sure you follow best practice

  1. Create newsworthy, authoritative and relevant content – the press won’t naturally link to you anymore, you have to make your content irresistible to them
  2. Build great relationships with the press and key influencers for your brand – relationships are key to your earned media success, without them no one is going to cover your story. The press receive hundreds of pitches a day so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. To do this, make sure you are contacting them on a regular basis, asking them how your brand can help with any stories they are working on, or what content they would like to receive from you to help with their stories
  3. You need to constantly share news and update your social channels and blog – once you create great relationships, you need to make sure you regularly engage with them to keep them coming back for more

Reactive Earned Media – Oreo ‘dunk in the dark’

Creating news stories to sell in to the press is one tactic of earning media, you can also use your social media channels to create a buzz around your brand and then subsequently see the links and coverage come flooding in.

One of the famous reactive campaigns of 2013 was the Oreo – Dunk in the Dark campaign for the Superbowl which ran across Twitter.

The power went out in the Superdome during the game, and Oreo seized the opportunity to create reactive earned media by posting a tweet during the thirty-four minute blackout:

Earned Media

BuzzFeed’s Ashley McCollum said the tweet was “super smart”while CNET’s Daniel Terdiman declared, “Oreo came up with an idea so brilliant and bold that it out and out won the night.”

AdAge reported that the graphic released during the blackout was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes,” thanks to members of the cookie company’s agency — already gathered during the game.

The tweet has received 15,000+ retweets and almost 7000 likes, which is a great result for a quick joke published by the company.

The tweet has since received hundreds of pieces of earned media across the international press, with Huffington Post, Wired, Forbes and Buzzfeed writing stories on the success of the reactive earned media campaign.

Contact Reprise

For any questions or enquiries on earned media, please get in touch with Reprise as we would love to chat to you about your digital strategy.


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Charlotte Escreet

I work for Reprise as an Advisory Manager for some of the biggest brands in Australia. I have 4 years’ experience in digital marketing, focusing on earned media, paid search and SEO.

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