Episode 230: How to Improve Your Earned Media

By Emily Christman on February 02, 2023

Earned media is the hidden gem of the marketing world. Unlike paid ads or blogs written in-house, earned media can add a layer of authenticity and reliability to your brand. I spoke with Andi Jaspersen, former Experience and Marketing Manager at Visit Cheyenne, on a recent episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast about the importance of getting your destination featured in articles and roundup lists. “I love earned media because I feel like it can be the most authentic. Earned placements and getting people to talk about your destination on your behalf is a more trustworthy source of information than the destination itself from the audience’s perspective,” said Andi. 

Third-party-written articles and social media features can connect with various audiences in a genuine, complete way – as well as grow your audience and exposure out in “the wild.” Here are a few ways to fine-tune your earned media strategy to make the most of your resources. 

Vet Writers

As Andi told me when we spoke, “Finding the right writer for your destination is huge.” For a DMO to be successful in earned media, it must first identify the audience that it wants to reach. Some destinations would benefit from a spread in a national tourism magazine, while others would profit from more regional coverage. 

Selecting the best publication for your destination is only half the battle, however. Says Andi, “We’ve got these 17 people who write and contribute as freelancers to Travel+Leisure, for example. Which one would be the best fit for us now and what other publications do they also write for that they could put additional content out to on your behalf?” Identify the journalists for each publication that best fit your niche. To vet these writers, read their work to understand their writing style, interests and core audiences. 

Form Relationships

When DMOs build strong relationships with journalists, these organizations can ensure that their messages are delivered effectively and efficiently. Once you’ve identified the writers that fit your niche, keep up-to-date on their articles. Leave comments on their articles and communicate with them on social media about their work. When a journalist reaches out to you for more information, be sure to respond promptly to respect their deadlines. Soon enough, journalists may start reaching out to you instead of the other way around!

Perfect Your Pitching

On average, only about 8% of pitches actually get placement. However, 98% of journalists read pitches that they receive. To make your pitches stand out in the sea of PR emails, be sure to keep things concise and engaging. According to MuckRack, 91% of journalists prefer their pitches to be under 200 words. The idea is to pique the journalist’s interest to read your press release and learn more. Personalize your pitches to communicate what specific value your story can bring to each journalist you contact. By presenting a well-crafted, relevant and valuable pitch, PR professionals can increase their chances of securing media coverage for their clients.

Earned media is a resource that can bring dividends for DMOs. By honing your vetting, relationship-building, and pitching skills, the chances of seeing your destination featured in a targeted publication will get better and better!