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Boost Your Marketing Impact: Relationship Between Paid And Earned Media


June 13, 2023 – By Jesse McCarl

At Hawke Media, we offer a lot of different digital marketing services including SEO, lifecycle marketing, paid search and social… the list goes on and on. We know a thing or two about creating synergy across your marketing channels. There’s one aspect of marketing, however, that often gets excluded from advertisers’ comprehensive strategies… earned media. 

You’re familiar with paid media. These are things like your paid search programs on Google and Bing, your PPC ads on Meta and other social media, or even your good old fashioned billboards and TV spots. Earned media is any promotion of your brand that your brand didn’t pay for, and can include press events, media coverage, social media mentions, UGC, review sites, and more. 

Something special happens when your team’s marketers know how to get these two components to work in tandem. The integration between paid and earned media will extend the reach of both simultaneously, build your brand awareness, and enhance trust. 

Use Earned Media to Craft Your Paid Ads 

The first way to strengthen the relationship between these two promotional paths is use your paid media to amplify earned media success. Here are some examples:

  1. Promoting press coverage with sponsored social media posts: If your brand receives positive press coverage or is featured in a reputable publication, use it in your social media. You can tag the original source to increase visibility. By leveraging the audience already giving you earned media, you can boost engagement and further validate your brand’s credibility.
  2. Highlighting user-generated content (UGC) in display ads: If your brand has received exceptional UGC, such as customer photos or testimonials, you can showcase this content in display ads on Google Ads or other ad networks. By using real customer experiences in your ads, you create a more authentic connection with potential customers and capitalize on the positive sentiment generated by the original UGC.
  3. Repurposing earned media for native advertising: Take your most successful earned media content, such as blog posts, articles, or interviews, and repurpose it into native advertising. By publishing your earned media, you can reach a larger audience and drive traffic back to your website, further amplifying the impact of your earned media success.
  4. Amplifying PR events with geo-targeted ads: If your brand hosts a PR event, such as a product launch or charity fundraiser, you can use geo-targeted ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat to promote the event to a local audience. This strategy not only increases awareness of the event but also extends the reach of the earned media generated from the event.

By implementing these concise and authoritative strategies, marketers can effectively amplify earned media success through paid media efforts. These methods take the earned media you’re attracting anyway, and using to to craft your creative assets and messaging. 

According to Forbes, synergy between your paid and earned media can improve marketing ROI as much as 10x. 

At Hawke Meda, we cross promoted content by incorporating user generated content in the paid social campaigns for Algenist. During the early stages with this beauty and make-up client, we tested several different creative assets for Meta Ads and found UGC provided the best results. 

The earned media was free to the brand, and ultimately made them more money in their marketing. More marketers can and should promote cross channels to enhance their paid and earned media. 

Use Earned Media to Optimize Paid Ads

Analyze earned media performance to inform your paid media strategies. Marketers can craft more effective messaging and enhance their ad targeting through earned media findings. 

  1. Identifying high-performing content: Marketers can analyze engagement metrics like shares, likes, comments, and clicks on earned media content to determine which topics or formats are most appealing to their audience. By incorporating these insights into paid media campaigns, they can create ads that align with their audience’s interests and preferences, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  2. Leveraging social listening tools: Social listening tools can help marketers monitor brand mentions, sentiment, and trends across various platforms. By analyzing this data, marketers can identify the key messages, themes, and influencers that resonate with their target audience. This information can then be used to inform paid media strategies, such as crafting ad copy that reflects popular sentiments or partnering with influential voices for sponsored content.
  3. Examining audience demographics and interests: By analyzing the demographic and interest data of users who engage with earned media content, marketers can build detailed audience personas. These personas can then inform paid media targeting strategies, ensuring ads reach the most relevant and likely-to-convert audience segments.

In our work with the culinary brand Masienda, we would target our paid search ads based on their PR events. If they were hosting an event or getting good press in Phoenix, Arizona, we’d shift our ad budget to focus more on that city. Why? Because CPC would improve organically in the aftermath of the earned media, and we wanted to leverage that while we could. 

When you’re keeping a close eye on your PPC efforts based like that, you can adjust your targeting and messaging based on real-time data. You’ll never leave any money on the table if your earned media helps craft and distribute your paid media. 

By understanding the elements that drive success in earned media campaigns, marketers can apply these insights to craft compelling ad creatives and targeting strategies for their paid media efforts. This data-driven approach ensures that paid media campaigns are informed by the audience’s preferences and interests, resulting in more targeted and effective advertising that yields better results.

Get a free consultation from Hawke Media

Building a Brand 

Earned media can require PR staff, monitoring tools, spokespeople, and more… but it doesn’t require a campaign budget. Ultimately, earned media is a free resource for your marketers. They can use earned media to provide creative essets, craft resonant messaging, and target ads effectively. 

 When your earned media and paid media work together, you enhance your branding with cohesive messaging. This builds trust with your audience because they see the positive marketing reiterated in various mediums. 

Earned and paid media are powerful when used together. UGC, press events, and other earned media can provide content, inform messaging, and optimize targeting. Seeing all sides of a brand strengthens customer relationships and trust in the long run, making it crucial to use both earned and payed media together. 

Hawke Media has experts who have in-depth knowledge about how to make sure you’re maxing out your marketing potential using earned media insights. Don’t wait another day—start taking advantage of the benefits that come from coupling your earned and paid media.

Special thanks to our friends at HawkeMedia for their insights on this topic.
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