Earned Media Value: Quick Guide

Elevate your brand with the magic of Earned Media Value! Learn the art of turning brand mentions, influencer shoutouts, and positive reviews into powerful marketing currency.

Nancy J. Hassler
20 Feb 2024

While paid media often steals the spotlight in marketing discussions, there exists a powerful yet often underestimated tool—earned media. Have you ever come across a glowing article praising a company's customer service or stumbled upon an authentic product review on social media? This is the influence of earned media quietly shaping brand recognition, credibility, and trust.

Consumers are discerning. They value recommendations from real people over traditional advertising. Earned media is a testament to your brand's worthiness, offering an unbiased perspective that resonates with potential customers. Its impact extends beyond immediate visibility, influencing purchasing decisions and fostering long-term brand loyalty.

In this guide, we embark on a journey to unravel the essence of earned media, understand its inner workings, and appreciate its pivotal role in sculpting an effective and impactful marketing strategy.


What is earned media?

Earned media definition represents the quantifiable value derived from unpaid promotional efforts across various channels. It goes beyond monetary metrics, capturing the genuine resonance and impact generated by organic brand mentions, customer testimonials, and influencer endorsements.

Unlike paid media, where visibility is purchased, earned media is the result of authentic interactions and unbiased recommendations. EMV encapsulates the inherent value in positive word-of-mouth, social media shares, and other unpaid forms of brand promotion.

The study underscores that nearly 90% of potential customers place their trust in recommendations from familiar sources, underscoring the undeniable power of word-of-mouth and positive earned media.

The manifestations of earned media are found in brand mentions and media awareness resulting from promotions rather than paid advertising—often deemed "organic" media. Examples include mentions in online articles, television interviews, or consumer-generated videos. Brands typically forge earned media strategies through public relations, digital marketing, and event participation.

Earned media constitutes any coverage or promotion your business garners organically, without payment or self-creation. This encompasses social media posts, positive reviews, and media attention from newspapers or other news outlets. Word-of-mouth referrals also fall under the umbrella of earned media.


Examples of earned media

Here are notable examples that illustrate the diverse forms and influential nature of earned media: Positive Reviews and Testimonials Genuine reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, or industry-specific review sites serve as powerful endorsements. Testimonials from satisfied customers showcase your brand's credibility and can influence potential customers.

Social Media Mentions and Shares

When individuals organically share your content, mention your brand, or post about their positive experiences on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, it contributes to earned media. The reach of these mentions extends beyond your immediate audience.

Media Coverage

Articles, features, or interviews about your brand in newspapers, magazines, or online publications contribute significantly to earned media. This form of coverage enhances your brand's visibility and establishes authority in your industry.

Influencer Endorsements

Influencers voluntarily endorsing your product or service without a monetary exchange fall under earned media. Their authentic recommendations can introduce your brand to new audiences and build credibility.

Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Recommendations from satisfied customers to their friends, family, or colleagues generate invaluable earned media. Word-of-mouth remains a trusted and influential channel for brand promotion.

User-Generated Content

Content created by your customers, such as photos, videos, or reviews, showcases authentic interactions with your brand. Reposting UGC not only acknowledges and appreciates your customers but also amplifies your brand's reach.

Award Recognition

Winning industry awards or receiving accolades from reputable organizations adds a layer of earned media. It positions your brand as a leader and reinforces trust among your target audience.

Event Coverage

Participation in or hosting events that attract media attention provides an avenue for earned media. Whether it's a product launch, community engagement, or industry conference, coverage from these events contributes to your brand narrative.

Podcast Features

Being featured or discussed positively on podcasts, especially those relevant to your industry, contributes to earned media. Podcast audiences often value authentic recommendations and insights.


How to measure earned media value?

  1. Quantify Media Coverage Assess the reach of your media coverage by quantifying the number of impressions. This metric reaches how many individuals potentially saw the coverage, providing insights into the overall visibility of your brand.

  2. Social Media Engagement Evaluate the engagement levels on social media platforms in your earned media strategy where your brand is mentioned. The number of likes, shares, and comments reflects the resonance of your content and its ability to spark interaction.

  3. Website Traffic: Monitor the influx of traffic to your website from external sources, such as media coverage or social media mentions. An increase in referral traffic indicates the effectiveness of your earned media in driving audience engagement.

  4. Brand Sentiment Analysis: Leverage sentiment analysis tools to gauge the overall sentiment surrounding your brand in media coverage and social mentions. A positive sentiment score indicates a favorable reception, contributing to brand reputation.

  5. Search Engine Visibility: Examine your search engine rankings and the organic visibility of your content. A rise in rankings, especially for relevant keywords, signifies the impact of earned media on your search engine optimization efforts.

  6. Influencer Metrics: For influencer collaborations, measure the reach and engagement levels of the influencer's audience. Assess how their endorsement contributes to increased visibility and engagement with your brand.

  7. User-Generated Content (UGC): Quantify the volume and quality of user-generated content generated in response to your brand. This could include customer reviews, testimonials, and content shared by users on social media.

  8. Conversion Tracking Track the conversions directly attributed to your earned media efforts. This could involve monitoring sales, sign-ups, or other desired actions resulting from exposure gained through media coverage.


How to calculate earned media value

Let's delve into the key steps and considerations to how to calculate EMV.

  1. Determine what you want to achieve with your earned media efforts—whether it's increased brand visibility, engagement, or conversions. This clarity sets the foundation for a targeted calculation approach.
  2. Focus on metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and mentions. Unlike traditional metrics like reach, engagement provides a more nuanced understanding of how your audience actively interacts with your content.
  3. Different platforms demand different levels of effort and resources. Assign platform-specific values to your content based on factors such as production time, audience demographics, and the inherent impact of each platform. This step ensures a nuanced and accurate representation of your efforts.
  4. Calculate the EMV for each piece of content. Tribe Dynamics, for instance, uses a specialized algorithm considering platforms, engagement metrics, and creator types. Your calculation should reflect the unique dynamics of your brand and chosen metrics.


Impressions: Reflects the reach or actions taken (likes, comments, shares, etc.). CPM (Cost Per Mille): Represents the cost per thousand impressions, often calculated by vertical or baseline benchmarks. Variable: A subjective factor that varies based on use case and company-specific considerations.

Recognize the diverse creators contributing to your EMV—whether influencers, brands, retailers, or publications. Acknowledge the size of their following, understanding that content from larger creators may yield higher EMV. Balance this with the authenticity and relevance of the content to your brand.


Why earned media value is important to influencer marketing

A 83% of individuals place their trust in recommendations from family and friends. In our digitally interconnected world, this trust extends to review sites, news media, and social influencers, transforming them into influential voices that guide consumer decisions.

Amplified Brand Exposure Earned media serves as an organic amplifier, extending your brand’s reach beyond the confines of paid promotions. Positive mentions, reviews, or features generate word-of-mouth publicity, attracting a wider audience and kindling interest in your products or services.

Enhanced Brand Credibility Nothing resonates with consumers quite like third-party validation. Earned media, whether in the form of glowing reviews, mentions in reputable publications, or social media endorsements, automatically bolsters your brand’s credibility. Being featured in trusted sources lends an air of authenticity that resonates with your audience.

Boosted Brand Loyalty Earned media value cultivates a deeper connection with your existing customer base. When customers encounter positive coverage of your brand, it solidifies their loyalty. Satisfied customers often morph into enthusiastic brand advocates, willingly sharing their positive experiences and contributing to a cycle of organic promotion.

Cost-Effective Marketing While paid media demands financial investment, earned media operates on the foundation of genuine recognition and organic promotion. Leveraging earned media effectively can lead to a high return on investment (ROI), making it a cost-effective avenue for brand promotion.

Influencer Impact Collaborations with influencers, a prominent aspect of earned media, bring a dual benefit. Not only do influencers extend your brand’s reach, but their authentic endorsements also resonate with their followers, translating into increased credibility and potential customer trust.

Wrapping up

Initiating an influencer marketing strategy is a pragmatic and accessible pathway to kickstart your earned media value journey. The essence lies in cultivating relationships with influential advocates who, in turn, propel your brand into the realm of earned media.

Influencer marketing, with its financial transactions, possesses the potential to influence into earned media through the alchemy of social sharing. The base lies in the content quality and strategic investments in distribution. When these factors align, the influencer's endorsement can organically traverse the social landscape, seamlessly transitioning from a paid promotion to the realm of earned media.


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