How to Get Earned Media (For FREE)
Aunt Flow has never paid a dime for marketing. How is that possible? Well, we’ve just relied on earned media! Earned media is unpaid promotion and publicity gained through a variety of different outlets. Some of which include magazine features, specifically mentions in the top magazines related to your industry.
Think about being featured in Forbes, Teen Vogue, or whichever website relates to your business. Whatever industry you’re in, aim to be featured in those top magazines.
Sure, it seems fairly simple to get earned media. In reality, it’s no easy feat. The work of getting earned media is extremely time consuming and oftentimes falls into the laps of interns, and even sometimes, yourself. With all of this in mind, it is TOTALLY worth the amount of time it takes to get earned media.
Debunking PR Myths Two Different Reasons for PR
In the world of public relations, it is important to understand that the status and reputation of a magazine does NOT dictate the money you will make from earned media.
This common misconception became very apparent when Aunt Flow made zero sales after being featured in Forbes magazine. Yet, when Aunt Flow was featured in Hello Giggles and Zooey Deschanel shared our product, hundreds of sales were made!
Two Different Reasons for PR
It’s crucial to understand there are two distinct reasons for public relations.
The first one being vanity metrics. Vanity metrics include various articles and mentions to put on your website and share with the public. They particularly include big brand names that are universally recognized and very well-known.
The second is all about your target audience. For example, Aunt Flow’s average customers are 18-35 years old, typically female, even thinking along the lines of sorority girls who are probably not reading Forbes. But, they are likely to follow Zooey Deschanel and Hello Giggles. By understanding the demographics of your customers, you will be able to more effectively determine where your customers are and why you’re getting PR.
Don’t get me wrong, vanity metrics are great to put on your website, but it doesn’t mean it will convert to sales and might not even be relevant to your industry. Through both of these reasons for PR, it’s important to know where you want to be featured for vanity while simultaneously assessing where your target customers reside.
How to PR
Step 1: Figure Out Your Story
The first thing when thinking about PR is figuring out your story. What is your headline? For Aunt Flow, our headline was “19 Year Old Drops Out of College to Talk About Menstruation for a Living.” That’s what I like to call clickbait! Think about something headline-worthy and what people will click on.
Make sure your headline isn’t something super ambiguous. An example of this would be if Aunt Flow’s headline was “19 Year Old Drops Out of College to Start a Business.” The problem with a headline like this is that it has nothing to do with the actual company. By taking out the aspect about menstruation in the headline, we would be eliminating what is relevant to the company.
Step 2: Create a List
Create a list of where you want to be featured. This step focuses on determining your vanity metrics versus where you wish to get sales. Knowing your target customers will help you produce a more concise, strategic list at the end of the day!
Step 3: Start the “Stalk System”
Start the “stalk system” in order to get your name out there to the public on websites like Forbes. First, look for something relevant to your business and relevant to what you’re talking about. Then, look at all of the relevant articles to your story. What you’re looking at here is all about finding writers who write about the topic that you want to share with the world.
After you find an ideal writer, you will search for their email address, which may take some additional time to find. With a point of contact, you now have the opportunity to pitch your story to the writer. You can even write the story for them, which means you can control the narrative of the story and also get it out there! In the email, make it connected to the writer. You can do so by mentioning one of their past articles and making yourself relatable to the writer in the first paragraph of the email. Then, you can go into your pitch.
Step 4: Continue with the “6 Hits”
This all sounds super easy and actually, it is pretty easy! The hard part is making sure you follow up. Just like sales, it takes six hits or six points of contact to entice someone to write about you. Make sure you continue with the “6 hits” to make your presence known.
What I use is Boomerang for Gmail, which helps you resend emails and puts it at the top of your email inbox to make sure you don’t forget about those important messages.
Write your own story. Not only does this let you control the narrative, but it also allows you to tell your story in ways that stay true to yourself and your brand. Utilize vanity metrics to your advantage and use helpful tools, like Boomerang.