What is Earned Media & What is its Value

What is Earned Media & What is its Value
Earned Media

The entirety of the media rests on three main pillars - Earned Media, Paid Media, and Owned Media. Paid media refers to digital and analog advertising that includes social media, newspapers, and billboards. Owned media is any material that is published directly by the brand either as the company’s blog or through its social media channels. Earned Media is a term that refers to the publicity that is gained through efforts that are promotional in nature. The material is usually filtered through third parties like journalists, bloggers or end consumers.

Examples of Earned Media in the offline space include news media coverage, ratings and reviews in traditional media outlets, consumer-to-consumer conversations about products including advice and referrals, or product demonstrations by consumers to other consumers. Online earned media include publicity mentions in digital media outlets, online WOM (word of mouth) referrals, posting on online communities or social networks, and online ratings and reviews.

Benefits of Earned Media
Challenges of Earned Media
Earned Media Value(EMV) and Why it Matters
EMV Calculation
Effective Usage of Earned Media Value

Benefits of Earned Media

There are many considerable benefits of earned media. Some key advantages include –

Brand Exposure

Earned media can boost organic brand exposure through word-of-mouth communication, cross-channel engagement, further research through search engines or social media, and last but not least conversion. Earned media has the added advantage of converting a customer even after the passage of time after consuming content.

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Brand Loyalty

Existing customers of a brand feel an enhanced connection with it after reading positive coverage and reviews thus converting them to organic ambassadors that further endorse the brand.

Brand Credibility

Positive reviews, organic brand endorsements, and brand representation in authoritative outlets lend further credibility and trustworthiness to it. It legitimizes the brand's position in the market

SEO Advantage

The search engine rankings of the brand receive a substantial boost as brands earn backlinks on credible sites with a high domain or page authority.

Earned Media: What Is It and How Do You Get It?

Challenges of Earned Media

The many advantages of earned media are also peppered with a few challenges. There is ample traffic on the web, hence making it difficult to cut through the noise with a compelling brand-centric story that contributes in terms of ROI (Return of Interest). Secondly, it becomes difficult to track the individual sentiments of each reader without conducting in-depth interviews to understand their takeaway from the PR material. Hence, quantitative results for earned media are difficult to demonstrate.

Earned Media Value(EMV) and Why it Matters

Earned Media Value or EMV is a metric that helps brands to quantify the monetary value of their marketing and PR activity. It also helps companies to evaluate the effectiveness of their earned media initiatives. This evaluation considers users’ social interaction with brands, including shares, likes, and comments on social media, blog posts, and ratings on review sites.

EMV Calculation

There is no standardized way to calculate earned media value. However, one common method to calculate EMV is to apply the formula that multiplies the total number of impressions by the average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) by an adjustable variable like recall rate or the number of likes and shares. The word ‘impressions’ refers to when a user sees the campaign. Hence the formula for calculating the earned media value would be –

💡EMV = Impressions x CPM x Adjustable Variable

Effective Usage of Earned Media Value

Earned media value is an important KPI when tracked along with other metrics like influencer community size and share of voice. It can be used by marketers to benchmark the impact of individual posts, influencers, products, and campaigns on brand awareness and reputation. It is the single most established metric for performance benchmarking within the creator economy and the social media marketing space. Earned Media Value provides companies and brands with invaluable data that helps in making business decisions that improve strategy and approach contributing to lasting growth.


Although considered by many as a vanity metric, earned media value is especially important to brands because it captures all earned media and all content that is not created by the brand itself. Earned media has the capacity to increase trust among consumers and drive serious sales conversions. In addition, the creator economy is growing and so is the importance of influencer marketing. Robust influencer programs seem to be the most effective way to increase the volume of earned media, subsequently increasing the earned media value.


What is earned media, and how does it differ from owned and paid media?

Earned media is unpaid publicity, owned media is content a brand controls, and paid media refers to digital and analog advertising.

What are some examples of earned media?

Some examples of earned media include:

  • Media coverage
  • Social media mentions or shares of a brand
  • Featuring reviews or photos on social media
  • Influencer endorsements
  • Word-of-mouth referrals or recommendations from satisfied customers or clients

What role does social media play in earned media?

Social media enables users to share opinions and experiences about a brand, which can lead to earned media.

How can you measure the effectiveness of earned media?

There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of earned media:

  • Media coverage
  • Social media mentions
  • Website traffic
  • SEO performance
  • Brand reputation
  • Sales or conversions

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