The complete marketing mix for a successful strategy includes paid media, owned media, and earned media. We’re often more concerned with paid strategies and owned strategies, like Google ads, display ads, and social media ads, as well as newsletters, SEO/website, and organic social media presence. However, people tend to forget earned media, which can be a significant mistake as this media can bring substantial gains to your law firm (and every business).
Law firm growth through digital marketing is a complex process. Depending on the location, the practice areas, the buyer persona, and the core goals, you can start with one (or a couple) of the most well-known strategies. Going for PPC in Spanish, for example, if the demographics are right, can lead you to optimized conversions and excellent ROI. Other attorneys select SEO, which requires time and continuous efforts to generate organic traffic and rank at the top of the SERPs. If you follow our blog, you already know that we preach the benefits of Hispanic Google Ads when it comes to providing a significant boost without a commitment to traditional media. That doesn’t mean we work in silos, though; we value earned media and strongly believe in their potential. Today, we’ll dive into their meaning, the opportunities they provide, and tips and examples that can guide your law firm to success.
What’s the meaning of earned media?
Earned media is generally perceived as the most challenging to achieve because it can often feel so out of reach. However, the “gifts” it bears can sometimes outperform other opportunities. There are several earned media categories, so let’s start by breaking them down.
- Reviews. We’ve explained how important reputation management is for law firms. Any customer review on your GMB, Facebook, Yelp, or any other platform is a form of earned media. Remember, how you handle the reviews you generate is equally important; it tells a lot about how you treat and serve your clients, even in the unfortunate event of a negative review.
- Influencer, blogger, YouTuber mentions. This isn’t the most common to read about, especially for law firms, as most of them are professionals and mainly aim for paid posts. Even if it’s rare, one of your clients may be active on social media or blog posting and use their platform to describe their experience with you in an article, short video, or even a social media post (on Facebook, Instagram, or even Clubhouse).
- News mentions or appearances. Are you involved in a big case or helping out your community in times of need? Such efforts may attract the attention of news outlets that could write about you on their websites, invite you for a podcast conversation, mention you on the radio/television, or even invite you on live for a discussion.
- Word Of Mouth. Some people insist that word of mouth can be one of the most powerful selling tools for a business. This is relevant to law firms, as satisfied clients can talk to their peers, family members, and friends about your services which has the potential to yield new clients. WOM is often mixed with forms of paid marketing, such as referrals. In that case, it wouldn’t qualify as earned media.
Earned media isn’t anything that you pay for or that you own. It’s not a form, ads, advertorials (a polished article that’s paid media), nor anything related to your website or other law firm assets (such as blog articles or videos).
The following is an excellent example of community-based social media posts, but it’s not earned media since it’s a sponsorship.
Who’s doing it right, and what can your law firm learn?
- Getting invited on a podcast means that you are doing something right; it could be your fearless litigation or your contribution to the community. Here, we have singled out Mike Morse, who accepted the invite from In Camera podcast to talk about his backstory, achievements, and his (then) upcoming book, Fireproof. Upon joining a podcast episode, among other benefits, you gain exposure to the niche audience of the podcast as well as mentions/links that can boost a possible link-building strategy. If you have such a chance, don’t miss out. This is all earned media and you can then repurpose the content for use on your owned media.
- Getting posts on social media is another form of earned media. Facebook mentions, tags on Instagram posts or stories, and tweets are all great ways to get a boost. Below, for example, we singled out a post from a criminal law firm that went viral. As you notice, it was reposted by a Twitter user with over 4500 followers. What can you learn from this? Be consistent with your social media. Stay creative and relevant, and you could end up getting similar traction and results.
who can forget these kings pic.twitter.com/aXhLmaCPXa
— H. Walter Benjamin (@facebookvillain) February 28, 2021
- Getting reviews is great. Following up with them is better. As we already mentioned in this article (and numerous others), that’s one of the most critical elements of success. It’s an essential factor in the customer journey, and you can stand out by showing prospective clients that you not only do a great job fighting for your people but also respect them and value them through every step of the journey.
Time for our takeaways:
- Earned media is one of the most challenging but essential elements of a marketing strategy.
- It might be harder to achieve and measure, but it can prove to be a very profitable strategy for your law firm in the long run.
- Stay on the lookout for what brands in other verticals are doing right, how they thrive with earned media, and how you can implement their tactics for your law firm.