Thinking Outside the Earned Media Box

changing media landscape

Since 2008, U.S. newsroom employment has dropped 23%.

One segment of the news media in particular has taken the brunt of those losses: newspapers. The number of newspaper newsroom employees has dropped by 51%.

While this drastic change in the media landscape has certainly put a strain on journalists, it also has impacted approaches to media relations, pushing businesses to think outside of the traditional “earned media” box.

Among the methods organizations are using are influencers, bloggers and partnerships – all of which can reach consumers you might otherwise miss.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the use of individuals who have an audience of followers, typically on a social media channel like YouTube or Instagram, to bring awareness to your product or brand.

Years ago, influencer marketing would bring to mind celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Today, everyday people have their own strongly devoted audiences who crave and trust their brand endorsements. These homegrown influencers are a powerful strategic tool that any business, small or large, can use to reach consumers.

Businesses partner with influencers because they understand the impact influencers have on their followers’ behavior. Users buy-in to what influencers say on social media. According to an Edelman Brand Trust Survey, 63 percent of people trust the opinions of influencers “much more” than what companies say about themselves.

Micro-influencers, in particular, are gaining in popularity among brands. Micro-influencers have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers. They tend to be more accessible to brands, offer vertically targeted audiences, interact with their audiences regularly, and generate high levels of engagement.


Bloggers are another source people turn to for information instead of traditional media outlets. Like influencers, bloggers speak to specific audiences of followers who trust what they say.

According to a study by BlogHer, 81% of online consumers trust advice from bloggers and 61% have made purchases based on blogger recommendations.

Bloggers commonly write on niche topics and have very devoted and loyal readers. They also generally welcome opportunities to write reviews on products and services based on their own personal experiences with them.

(To read how both bloggers and influencers were involved in a campaign PRworks developed for Guardian and Children’s Health Fund, visit this case study.)

Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is another fast-growing strategy in light of changes in the media environment.

Partnership marketing refers to collaboration between businesses or organizations to engage in a marketing effort that mutually benefits both parties.

Benefits may include co-branding (the practice of using multiple brand names together on a single product or service), marketing to each other’s audiences, and pooling resources to gain cost efficiencies.

The key to a successful marketing partnership is fit – with your brand, your product, your audience and your goals. It also is critical that a partnership lifts your brand reputation up – and doesn’t endanger it.

In addition, clarity is a must for marketing partnerships. The terms of a partnership must be clear for all parties including responsibilities, benefits and any related financial transaction.

Maintaining a Holistic Approach

Keeping up with effective strategies in the face of an ever-changing media landscape requires an understanding of where we’ve been and where we’re going. That’s where PRworks comes in.

We largely recommend creating a holistic approach to meet your goals instead of focusing on just a slice of the media pie – an integrated strategy that involves paid, earned and owned media.

Not sure where to start? We’re ready to help.

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