Remember when people used to learn about things like upcoming events, the latest trends, and cool new products pretty much exclusively from magazines, newspapers, and TV shows?
These publications and broadcasts are where brands used to get all their earned media.
What Is Earned Media?
Earned media is any publicity you haven't paid for that's owned and created by a third party. Earned media is now that customer tweet about "the best brunch EVER!" at a particular restaurant that got several retweets and favorites. It's also that horrible Yelp review. And it's that technology blogger's "Top 10 Apps of The Year" roundup that was viewed and shared by thousands. And it's still traditional media sources like magazines and newspapers, although those audiences have been steadily declining.
What earned media isn't: Publicity you pay for or own. When a company pays a publication to write a glowing article about them, for example, that's not an example of paying for earned media -- that's just paid media. And when you write a blog post for your company blog about your latest product release, that's not earned media -- that's owned media. The distinctions are fairly clear between these camps, but they're important for any marketer to know.