Earned media is one of the most effective tactics a healthcare IT organization can employ to increase brand awareness, establish thought leadership, and enhance credibility.
Earned media encompasses organic coverage of a company or one of its team members in television, radio, trade publications, magazines, newspapers, blogs, or podcast outlets. Opposed to paid media – which involves pay-to-play efforts such as commercial advertising, pay-per-click advertising, or sponsored social media posts – earned media carries an inherent message of credibility, almost like a third-party endorsement.
Not only does earned media tend to generate more earned media, but it provides fodder for other marketing tactics, including social media, investor relations, website newsroom copy, and more. Earned media offers a long-term strategy with long-lasting payout.
Key Benefits of Earned Media
One tactic commonly used to capture media attention is to write a contributed article, sometimes called a byline, for a trade or consumer publication. This contributed piece would be written by your organization and carry the byline of a thought leader within the organization.
At the same time, editors are overwhelmed with expanding workloads and have fewer resources to create original content for a 24/7 news cycle. Not only is there competition to continually publish relevant content, but their readers access the content at all hours of the day expecting to learn the latest news and trends.
Yet while earned media is extremely effective, it’s also extremely difficult to successfully write, pitch, and place contributed pieces with healthcare publications. Earned media requires that an organization follows best practices as it creates original content and builds ongoing rapport and trust with editors. If the piece contains new and compelling data, is timely for readers, and is not overtly promotional, then editors may very well listen to (if not even appreciate) the pitch.
Download this article, written by Sage’s Managing Account Director Aubrey Westgate, a former healthcare publications editor, that explores the biggest challenges associated with capturing earned media—and shares eight ways to overcome them.
Other Types of Earned Media
Earned media is valuable because readers recognize that a credible third-party believes strongly enough in your thought leadership, organization, or solution to give it their unbiased attention. In addition to placed bylines, earned media can include:
– A blogger or vlogger covering your organization or quoting a thought leader.
– Customer reviews on Google and other platforms.
– PR coverage in a round-up or trends story.
– Word-of-mouth marketing in the form of referrals or influencer advocacy.
Earned media tactics integrate seamlessly with and feed off of other types of media efforts in a comprehensive marketing plan:
– Shared media, which is when an outlet, whether it be media or another organization, shares your content on their social platforms (such as LinkedIn or Twitter), blogs, newsletters, or articles without being prompted.
– Owned media, the channels of content distribution that an organization owns and populates, including a website, mobile app, YouTube channel, blogs, email, and social media feeds.
– Paid media, as the name implies, is when a company pays another organization to distribute its message or content to reach specific audiences. Paid channels include pay-per-click search engine marketing, digital advertising, sponsored social media posts, advertorial articles, and traditional avenues like direct mail or print advertising.
How to Get Started with Earned Media
Sage Growth Partners employs a team of former journalists to write bylines for clients and experienced public relations professionals to pitch the pieces to targeted editors. As a long-standing, knowledgeable healthcare marketing, research, and strategy firm, we have built a reputation for developing compelling, non-sales-oriented content for healthcare clients, then pitching it to editors who know and trust our work and our publicists.
Plus, our dedicated client teams integrate earned media placements into thought leadership plans and editorial calendars for maximum optimization and promotion. We believe in designing thought leadership content programs that lend themselves to all types of media use and repurposing. We intentionally wrap social media, public relations, and paid media around our thought leadership programs expressly for this purpose, optimizing our clients’ marketing investments for long-term strategic gains and evergreen returns.
Earned media should be a component of every healthcare organization’s marketing program. Contact us to learn more about a partnership with Sage Growth Partners.