How to get Attention through Earned Media


The competition for attention through earned media is fierce. Your small business competes for attention with Fortune 500 companies, direct competitors and even the mom and pop shop. When the numerous options for your brokered attention, such as social media, email, text message and blogs have failed you, you may be wondering what else is there.

Today's audience can easily tune you out. This makes earned media a must. Historically, what appears old often becomes new again. However, you may be wondering how you can stand out in the crowd.

What is earned media?

“Earned media often refers specifically to publicity gained through editorial influence, whereas social media refers to publicity gained through grassroots action, particularly on the Internet. The media may include any mass media outlets, such as newspaper, television, radio, and the Internet, and may include a variety of formats, such as news articles or shows, letters to the editor, editorials, and polls on television and the Internet. Critically, earned media cannot be bought or owned, it can only be gained organically, hence the term ‘earned'.” ~ Andrew Stephen and Jeff Galak. “The Effects of Traditional and Social Earned Media on Sales”

How can you gain earned media coverage?

In order to be successful with earned media you must first have a well defined marketing strategy and position statement. You've recently read about crafting your pitch with a well crafted position statement here on the Viral Solutions Blog. Your position statement is only one parcel among all your plots and is a must before you dive into earned media.

Reporters and media outlets today need content for a 24/7 global audience. They need to know what you know and are starving for information their public will appreciate. Today's journalist does not want to give you free advertising and that is something you have to understand. The reporter needs just enough content to sell enough advertising to keep their outlet vibrant. The media outlet needs quality content to keep their audience coming back. These earned media resources need your skill and expertise without directly pitching you.

Build attention with a long term strategy.

earned media

Customers are overloaded with messages vying for their attention, making their focus an increasingly valuable thing. In the crowded sea of marketing, what are the most effective ways to capture your customer’s attention?

Make your actions match the media audience

Take your brain on the road

Earning media attention is not easy and requires persistent attention grabbing content and praise of others. Those who stick to it earn the media attention. In order to stand out in earned media channels you have to put yourself out there and make yourself available as a quality source of information when the journalistic community needs it. In order to be found, and not be a pest begging for attention, become that desirable source by using these tips.

When considering your old school media resources versus digital marketing social media for attention, where the goal is to gain the attention of earned media outlets, do not make the mistake to separate physical / print from the digital. Work it from 360 degrees and try to be everywhere that makes sense for your targeted market.


Thomas von Ahn

Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC

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“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful

men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they

don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton

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