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What is earned media?

Earned media refers to the publicity and exposure your brand earns through organic, unpaid channels. Unlike paid advertising, which you directly pay for, earned media is the result of positive mentions, shares, or coverage by third parties like customers, influencers, or journalists.

Examples of earned media

  • Social Media Shares: When your audience shares your content on social media because they find it valuable or entertaining.
  • Press Coverage: When journalists or bloggers write about your brand without being paid via a favorable review, a feature story, or a mention in an article.
  • Influencer Mentions: When influencers or industry experts talk about your brand or recommend your products to their followers.
  • Word-of-Mouth Referrals: When happy customers recommend your brand through word-of-mouth with a positive testimonial, recommendations, or referrals.

It’s easy to see why earned media is the icing on the cake of your marketing efforts. After all, it’s the result of building strong relationships with your audience, delivering exceptional products or experiences to your consumers, and earning their trust and advocacy. Earned media is a key component to new business opportunities and boosting your brand’s credibility and reach, so why don’t more brands utilize it?

Why is it hard for brands to create earned media?

Adding earned media to the marketing mix can be challenging because the path to building credibility with your audience is not always obvious. Plus, it takes time and carefully curated content to build the strong relationships you want.  It doesn’t help that you are competing for attention in a very crowded digital landscape. Even if you figure out a course of action that allows you to tap into earned media, measuring the ROI is both difficult and challenging.

Overall, integrating earned media into the marketing mix requires a strategic approach as well as ongoing investment in relationship-building and brand-building efforts. Plus, you have to get comfortable relying on third-party endorsements and social media algorithms which is the opposite of what paid media provides. Don’t forget that earned media also requires the manpower to monitor and respond to good and negative mentions in order to capitalize on any potential opportunities.

Luckily, running a sweepstakes or contest is one of the proven ways for brands to successfully dip their toes into the earned-media pool without completely stepping away from the driver’s seat. Deploying a sweepstakes or contest – especially if you run them regularly – is a guaranteed way to boost positive brand perception. After all, a promotion is inherently designed to make people feel good and generate excitement about your brand…as long as it’s run fairly and in compliance with state rules and laws.

Using a sweepstakes or contest to achieve earned media and improve brand awareness

Sweepstakes are a powerful tool for generating buzz and increasing brand visibility because they activate the psychology of winning. Sweepstakes rely on the mindset, behaviors, and emotions that drive people’s desire to win and succeed. Winning inherently feels rewarding and motivating which means it influences how people think and prompts action. Here are the top strategies for creating shareable sweepstakes campaigns:

  1. Irresistible Prizes: Offer prizes that capture attention and resonate with your audience’s interests. Whether it’s exclusive experiences, sought-after products, or dream vacations, compelling prizes encourage participation and sharing.
  2. Engaging Entry Mechanisms: Incorporate interactive and creative entry mechanisms that encourage participation and sharing while making it easy and fun for participants to join in and spread the word. Two examples of engaging entry points are asking contestants to generate memes or come up with photo captions.
  3. Share-Worthy Content: Create captivating and shareable content to promote your sweepstakes across various channels. Utilize eye-catching visuals, engaging videos, and compelling copy to grab attention and encourage social sharing.
  4. Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors to amplify the reach of your sweepstakes. Partnering with influencers who align with your brand values and resonate with your target audience can help increase participation and drive engagement.
  5. User-Generated Content: Encourage participants to generate and share their own content related to the sweepstakes. Whether it’s photos, videos, or testimonials, user-generated content adds authenticity and encourages organic sharing among participants’ networks.

By implementing these strategies, you can create sweepstakes campaigns that not only drive participation but also generate valuable earned media through social sharing and word-of-mouth. Ready to elevate your marketing mix with a shareable sweepstakes or contest? Let’s connect and discuss how we can make it happen!

#SweepstakesMarketing #EarnedMedia #SocialSharing