Gini Dietrich

The Four-Step Process to Gain Earned Media Results

By: Gini Dietrich | January 23, 2019 | 
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Four-Step Process to Gain Earned Media ResultsAs much as I still want to talk about Bohemian Rhapsody (I mean, so good), I thought we’d talk instead about sperm performance.

Screech!

What?!

You read that correctly.

Sperm performance.

(I also need to stop writing those two words so we don’t attract the bots for that topic.)

We’re sort of going to talk about the aforementioned topic…in how an infographic helped us explain the importance of doing your research when it comes to earned media (and it just happens to be about said topic).

One of the strategies for getting earned media is to create really interesting original content and pitch it to publications and influencers whose audiences will find it valuable.

When done right, this can be a powerful way to get in front of not only a lot of people but the right kind of people.

People who might become buyers or otherwise help your brand and business grow.

What often happens with earned media campaigns, however, is something more like when my small one and I are boiling spaghetti and we each take a piece out of the water and throw it at the wall.

Sometimes it sticks.

Sometimes it does not.

It’s great to know when your spaghetti is done, but terrible for earned media.

(And while a messy endeavor, it is kind of fun to throw your spaghetti at the wall.)

Snarky Email Responses (and Lessons Therein)

This, very unfortunately, happens a lot.

Last week, the Spin Sucks support email received a pitch from Mystical Writing.

It was the second email from the same person—and the two emails were exactly the same.

The only difference is they were sent three days apart.

So Laura Petrolino being who she is, decided to respond to the person pitching us.

She wrote (and I quote):

Dear Mystical Writing Person —

I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t going to respond to your email since I normally don’t respond to emails such as this.

But the fact that you took the time out of your day to send me the same exact email, not once…but twice…over the past three days really touched me. You are obviously a clever writer, because while each email was word-for-word identical, the repetition as I scrolled down this email to read them both…on repeat, was extremely effective. Midway through the reading of the second one, it hit me: YES, YES, I absolutely must write whatever this woman wants. I mean talk about persuasive writing techniques! Well done.

So I went to your website “mysticalwriting.com,” based on your email, only to find it doesn’t exist. I guess it is actually mystical that way. What a unique but clever way to really live your brand.

My rates for writing sponsored content start at one million dollars per word. I do offer a 25 percent discount if your content topic has to do with unicorns.

Please advise if you’d like to proceed.

Please advise if you’d like to proceed.

(See, what I did there? Trying out your techniques.)

Usually, the only appropriate response to these kinds of messages is politely saying you’re not interested—or ignoring them entirely.

Unless you’re Laura and you find a teachable moment.

How to Write a Relevant Pitch

Which brings me back to the infographic about sperm performance.

A couple of years ago, Laura opened her inbox to find a very friendly message requesting she share a graphic with some amazing facts about sperm performance with the Spin Sucks community.

Now, on the surface, it might not seem like there’s any correlation between sperm performance and marketing or communications.

But if there were, and this infographic was a really good and relevant fit from our audience, we might have actually shared it (versus just talking about it—not all publicity is good!).

The content creator didn’t tell us, one way or another if the content was relevant to our particular audience.

Just that the infographic was full of interesting information and shared on major publications.

What that marketer should have done was researched who we are, what we do, why we do it, and ideally had some kind of history of engaging with our content, then given us a clear reason that our audience would care about the content of the infographic.

Laura had some excellent suggestions for what would make such an infographic a good fit for us.

Here it is.

You’re welcome.

Four-step Process for Earned Media Results

Now that you’ve read that, let’s talk about the earned media process to it’s less “throw spaghetti on the wall” and more “excellent investment of your time and energy for a mutually beneficial content sharing relationship.”

There are four steps:

  1. Lay the groundwork
  2. Determine your goals
  3. Create the content
  4. Promote it

Lay the Groundwork

To get started with laying the groundwork for success, you want to do some research.

Who are you really trying to attract?

This sounds simple in the abstract, but it’s a very involved process.

Very often content marketers want to get their content in front of as many people as possible, and while numbers look and feel good, total views or downloads don’t matter as much as conversions or sales.

So think carefully about who your audience of BUYERS is, and find out who they are paying attention to.

Keep an eye on the news and in social media for other creators who are targeting your audience.

Share their content, engage with them and generally make yourself known as a colleague in the industry.

Then, down the road when you have content that will be relevant for their audience—and therefore valuable for them—they’ll be happy to open your email.

Determine Your Goals

Not every piece of content needs to be specifically geared towards converting strangers into leads or leads into customers.

You might always be trying to build brand awareness, or demonstrate some thought leadership.

What you need to keep in mind is the specific goal for the piece of content you’re working on so that you can promote it in the most effective way.

Maybe it would be best for hundreds of thousands of people to see your article tweeted so you stay top-of-mind, but maybe what a piece of content for is for educating people who are already interested in what you do.

How you pitch and promote that content will change accordingly.

Create the Content

This should be pretty self-explanatory.

Keep your goals and your audience in mind, make it interesting, keep it original, and make it attractive!

Promote It

Finally, you can promote the content.

Send unique requests to specific humans, and use the results of your research to clearly explain how and why the content will be valuable for their audience.

If you’ve put in the groundwork, set your goals well, and created something awesome, you’ll very likely get a lot of shares and promotion.

All of this is the work that really goes into earning your media, according to the PESO model, and it’s not easy, but has a huge potential for helping you grow your business.

Snarky Emails Get Responses

And the Mystical Writer person whom Laura responded to?

She’s a great sport.

She responded to Laura’s snarky email by saying:

Dear Laura,

YOUR EMAIL MADE MY DAY!!!

I know you have no desire to work with us, but I can’t help myself right now. That was so beautifully sarcastic and actually persuasive. I am a real person and am sorry our algorithm annoyed you.

I hope your 2019 is prosperous and will take you off our lists!

Now It’s Your Turn…

What creative approaches have you taken to earned media that’s gotten you results? 

The comments are yours…

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, the lead blogger at Spin Sucks, and the host of Spin Sucks the podcast. She also is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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