Want to get your brand out there but don’t have a big budget to spend on expensive paid media advertising? Say hello to earned media. Earned media allows you to gain publicity through promotional efforts, rather than paid campaigns. While it provides significant opportunities for brand exposure, the key challenge to earned media is that it can only be gained organically. 

Whether it’s publicity you receive through traditional media, online reviews, word of mouth, or social media followings on platforms like Facebook and Instagram,he benefits to earned media go far beyond your bottom line. Here are four reasons why earned media pays off:

Trusted information. We face increasing challenges when it comes to marketing, number one being that, amid the onslaught of advertising, people are increasingly tuning out. In this context, earned media stands apart as a source that consumers actually trust and value. A Nielsen study found up to 92 percent of people surveyed trusted word of mouth recommendations, whereas only 24 percent trusted online ads.

Greater reach.  The explosion of social media platforms has expanded the reach of earned media like never before. Consider this: there were 1.79 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 140 million daily users on Twitter and 150 million daily users on Snapchat in 2016. These huge audiences easily dwarf those of most traditional paid media platforms. As such, the potential payoff from nurturing word of mouth marketing on social media is maximised.

Sticking power. While an advert in today’s newspaper will be tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper, online word-of-mouth lives on indefinitely through indexed content and searches. Think of it as a historical record of your business, which any consumer or journalist can dip into simply by running a Google search. A strategic approach to earned media is key to ensuring your record is positive, polished, and effectively markets your business.

Real returns. Most importantly, earned media offers major value when it comes to the return on your investment. The inherent trustability and significant reach of earned media drive conversion rates. For this reason, the return on investment from earned media often trumps paid media, as you need only invest in building a relationship with your customers, and fostering a community of advocates, rather than budgeting for costly paid media spots.