Definition: Earned media is marketing created by an ecommerce company's customers, online audiences or other third parties. It promotes a brand without any incurred costs or labor; instead, it gets shared and published by people who like the content or invest in your success. This can happen when a shopper writes a company review on Yelp, a satisfied customer publishes a public thank you on Facebook or a news site releases details about your latest product.

The concept of earned media has flourished with the popularity of social media channels. Users often pass along information about brands or product reviews to their social networks.

The advantages of earned media

Cost effectiveness: Instead of pouring resources into flooding paid platforms, motivating audiences with the right content gets viewers to share materials for you.The more people who talk about you online, the better your search engine optimization will be. You can create an omnipresent Web influence by launching earned media campaigns on multiple social channels.

Trust: A 2013 Nielsen report found consumers saw earned media as the most dependable source for business reviews. People tend to believe customers who are just like them and sources that don't seem to have a vested interest in company profits.

How to earn recognition

While this form of marketing content is dependent on audience actions, ecommerce businesses have to take steps to promote earned content - this is where the "earned" part of the term comes from.

Provide superb products & customer service. You can earn positive public reviews by delivering service and products that exceed customer expectations. When online shoppers feel like they've been treated well, they are more likely to post the details in a public place so others can also receive the positive experience.

Encourage social sharing. Many organizations offer incentives for social promotions. Sometimes it can be as simple as displaying social media sharing icons in a convenient place on your website. Businesses also launch special campaigns that offer prizes or discounts for people who take the best photo with a product or generate other content.

Stand out in your industry. One of the original forms of earned media was when local papers would mention businesses in news articles. People will talk about your organization online when you do something outside of the ordinary. You might start an interesting sale or tie your particular offerings to a popular trend.

By offering service that meets high standards of quality, encourages customer participation and rises about your competitors, you make your ecommerce business newsworthy.

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