Why Earned Content is crucial to a Successful Marketing Strategy

The success of your marketing strategy is not always in your hands. It is the opinions of other consumers which matter to your target audience when buying a new product or service.

Scary right?

Should you just cross your arms and pray that consumers will say something good about your brand, or use the voice of your consumers as a tool in your marketing kit? How does earned content really affect your marketing?

What is Earned content?

Earned content is exposure that comes without a payment, is trusted by the audience, helps with SEO, and with brand awareness. With more than two billion posts shared on social media, just imagine the scale on which this type of content could elevate your marketing efforts.

If you take a look at your marketing goals, they will probably aim to make consumers take action, be it a purchase, sharing a post, or signing up to your newsletter.

Dive deeper into the differences of earned media and owned media. Make sure you benefit from harnessing the power of earned content.

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You can find a lot of great industry stats about the impact of user generated content (earned media) out there. But we like to commission our own research (which you can grab here -link) to provide our customers with accurate and fresh stats.

Why is Earned Content so special?

Human connection is at the heart of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Although these platforms are always developing fresh ways to monetize through advertising and selling, it’s still human interactions which users care most about.

77% of respondents to our research say user- generated content on social media has more impact on their buying decisions than brand advertisements. At the same time the constant exposure to brand-created content has made many consumers view brand messages more cynically than ever before.

Will success come only with focusing your strategy on earned content?

Of course not. In fact, 41% of consumers still become aware of a new product through social media advertising (owned content). But at the same time a whopping 44% of consumers become aware of new products through friend recommendations (earned content).

On paper it’s a close one.

Now 63% of adults online actively talk about products or services and a further 81% read what other people have posted about these products.

When you have platforms such as Instagram where 95 millions post per day are shared between users, it is clear that consumers not only can influence your target audience’s decisions, but could also become brand ambassadors.

How to use Earned Media for a Successful Marketing Strategy?

So how do you make earned content work for your company, brand, or campaign? Here are some ways you could implement earned media into your marketing strategy.

  1. Quality vs quantity

It’s very tempting to just go out there, gather every single piece that you might find relevant to your brand, put it out there and hope that it will work. This kind of strategy hardly ever works. Your audience will react a lot better to a consistent brand and messaging. Go for quality instead quantity, by setting and following brand guidelines. You need to know what kind of content you would like to curate, such as product shots, or shots of people using your product. This will not only help with filtering content, but also with providing your audience with a consistent tone of voice.

  1. Location location location

People act and respond differently with marketing and have their own unique user journeys online.  So when you are thinking about earned content, it’s worth considering content existing outside of social media platforms too. Consumers expect brands to be on multiple channels, so you have to take your brand and content to their preferred platform. From microsite where earned content can be displayed to offline places, content could be used in different ways to cater for individual user journeys and behaviours.

Take for example Diageo’s Malts and their work with Miappi. Diageo wanted to know whether or not social media would have a positive impact on user engagement on malts.com, their flagship whisky website. In particular they wanted to find out whether social content at the point of purchase could trigger an increase in the size of the e-commerce basket. A Miappi social wall was embedded on the malts.com homepage, seeing a 16% increase in dwell time, highs engagement and repeat traffic. Integrating earned content not only maximized investment but also shaped the homepage into a new hub.

   3. Influence is key

Influencer marketing is a very powerful way of creating a buzz around your brand or products, providing authentic and original content created by well know and trusted creators. For relative new brands, tapping into influencers could have such a dramatic effect on your marketing efforts without breaking the bank.

Take for example Sperry’s ‘micro-influencers’ campaign reaching impressive heights for little cost on Instagram. Sperry’s began working with over 100 micro-influencers on Instagram to create engaging content for their followers. Sperry identified fans of the brand on Instagram who were already sharing high-quality photos of their products, and started inviting these users to develop visual content for their official Instagram account.

    4. Time is also key

When starting to incorporate earned content into your marketing strategy keep in mind that you might not see results straight away. Building up relationships with people that talk about your brand like influencers, fans, or employees takes time. You have to keep doing everything possible to strengthen those relationships, by interacting with them not only publicly by sharing their mentions, but also through direct communication to create a more personal connection with them. It’s important to remember that influencers are real people, not advertising space. Give them something to talk about, something that a they are attracted to and build a relationship around it.


It’s real people’s opinions which cut through all of the digital noise and make consumers pay attention. Marketing is one of the most powerful ways of grabbing people’s attention. And earned content is a great tool for any brand looking to create authentic interactions and long lasting relationships with their target audience. Whichever platform you are using or choose to use in the future, earned media is a vital element for your marketing and most importantly for your brand’s influence.