Thought Starters

How can blogging help a company earn positive media attention?

What do you know about earned media?

This may stir up a bit of a s**tstorm but here goes anyway.

In the past few weeks I have been doing some basic research about earned media and how it works. Like any average person I jumped on the Google train and started reading some blogs, opinions and papers on what the marketing, communications and PR world considers earned media.

It seemed the likely place to start.

With the help of a few friends, thanks Gini and Jayme, I started to get a grip on what is involved in obtaining the holy grail of media attention.

It’s no one trick pony.

Why the heck is an Interior Designer researching earned media?

Well, other than being a curious soul, as an avid blogger I have been asked to participate in a round table discussion in the firm where I work to examine the opportunities of generating media attention for the firm. The firm has a newly minted media strategy and a segment of the strategy involves a media toolkit which is being rolled out to interested participants. I have been asked to address my experience with blogging and how that might benefit the company’s effort to gain media attention.

I was initially invited to a meeting to talk about how earned media would become the catalyst by which our firm demonstrates thought leadership in our industry.

Earned media? Blogging? What?


I was.

I am excited by this opportunity so I had to find out what was what.

I realized that I still have a lot to learn.

Well? What conclusions have you drawn?

“Earned media refers to favourable publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising.” said the all knowing sage, Wikipedia.

That’s a pretty broad definition in my mind and some of the articles I read hotly debate the nuances of favourable publicity gained through promotional efforts even though my discussions of late made it pretty clear that the fundamental difference is that if you generate media then the media is not earned.

Ok! So, if it comes from my own devise then it is exactly that; owned.

It has become painfully clear to me that blogging has nothing whatsoever to do with earned media.

It seems that blogging is unequivocally owned media. You create it, you own it and ipso facto you did not earn it.

Plain and simple.

I bet I won’t get much argument there (wink).

But, what if, through the vehicle of social media, someone else writes about the positive impact your contributions through blogging have had on your community?

Is that earned in today’s on-line world?

There are more questions here than answers.

So, now what Mr. Design Guy?

Why the heck am I being asked to talk to people about my blogging and social media experience in the context of earned media?

Not sure.

One thing is for sure though. We really do want the fans.

So, instead of trying to bend my head trying to sort out any correlation between the two my approach is going to be more about my experiences over the past 15 months of blogging. I will leave the media stuff to the media people. The experts, per se.

Like I said. No expert here either way.

The people I am talking to for this round table discussion are folks like me; designers, architects, planners and managers who are all volunteering to help the firm demonstrate thought leadership through sharing their expertise, experience and knowledge. The best approach I can offer is to encourage contributors to relate stories that have impacted their communities, clients and colleagues in a positive way.

Relating Stories, huh?

Yeah, that’s the key.

So, what I can do for these folks is talk to them about the ways I have learned to structured blog posts with a human conversational tone, how to share experience through constructive commenting and how to share their work, the work of others and the impact the content they share has on their reputation and the reputation of the firm.

But first and foremost I plan to talk about telling a story.

How sharing something that holds meaning to them will translate to something the reader can feel. How thinking of their friends and families who know little about the construct of design or architecture will help ground their stories in a way that people can relate to them.

Sure, it’s a soft approach, for now, but it’s the one fundamental thing I have learned in this space and there are many great examples that I can draw on.

Sure, we will follow up on structure, good practice, why your blog headline might suck, how we all struggle with writing, why it’s not ok to treat readers like chumps or how we know if our blogging efforts are having any impact but that’s for later.

I don’t need to talk about SEO, key words or linkbacks because we have people for that.

Get comfortable with content development.

Story first.

I strongly believe that people should play to their strengths and the strengths of the people in our organization are in architecture and design. We will leave the heavy lifting to the professionals; the communications, social and marketing team who have the expertise to drive the traffic in the appropriate direction and at the appropriate time.

My job is to inspire people to contribute.

Hey, I might just learn something new about this whole game in the process.

Or maybe I already have.





Your Turn

What do you think is the best approach to getting a group of subject matter experts to demonstrate thought leadership in a blogging forum? How would you approach a group of newbie bloggers who have no sense of what they are getting themselves into? What inspires you to blog about your experiences?



About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday:

Andres James
Andres James

Website Design! These are static images but give you a good idea about how it will eventually look once it’s live.  It will also show what functionality it will have.


Blogging is an excellent way for businesses to garner exposure!

Paypal VCC
Paypal VCC

Excellent information and given in the simplest still effective ways possible. Good effort.

Web Designing
Web Designing

Excellent information and given in the simplest still effective ways possible. Good effort.


Ralph:  I am a "newbie" blogger and mostly trying to figure out the logistics and proper protocol of it all right now.  But I have recognized blogging is a vital method for me to get my message out.  I just began a media consulting business and blogging gives others a sample of my thinking--  and thus what I can offer them.  My firm's motto is "getting you noticed" and blogging is one way for potential clients to see why I'm worth their money.  Plus, I have a news background and I like to write about how current events relate to my new business.  So blogging also helps me stay on top of the news as well.  All good.   

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Hahahaha...great post and you do an awesome job circling around the flower pot to lay some good sense and then confusing the issue with storytelling! Storytelling is the artform of marketers -- not PR peeps.  While we tell stories, too; we sell news to earn a "plug" "story placement," "media hit," and "earn" that result. 


Help you? I'm thinkin' nope!


Great chatting with you...but, actually, you know more than you think and don't over're good!


I know nothing. Honestly! But I know what I think, so here goes.

It's all a crap shoot.

That's what I think.

Spend too much time trying to figure it out and you lose your soul, your passion.

When companies understand themselves and can express that vision consistently, it works 'cause people can feel it. But you can also feel those who are "trying". Feels icky.

Stories that are told from the heart always do a good job at painting an authentic picture. I'm a sucker for anything that makes me feel deeply...

If I'd been asked to sit at that meeting I would have faked my way through the whole thing! 


I had not heard the term "Earned Media" before, and you did a great job of explaining it. So, for an author, it would be marketing ones book and then someone writes a blog post/review about the book, without prompting. I like that concept.  As you know, I wrote a review recently, and the author, Ms. Eve, earned it because she had won me over to her book through the offering of the excerpt. She created the promotional piece, I viewed it, was moved to make a purchase, and then so enjoyed the product that I simply had to write about it.


Can one plan to earn media? Or does it just happen?

Latest blog post: The Race is On

rdopping moderator

@wgmccoll Hi there. Glad you dropped in and left a comment. Much appreciated. Thanks for letting us know what you are up to. Sounds awesome. I am always open to chatting about the blogging world. It a steep curve and continuous learning is a must for me. Cheers sir.

rdopping moderator

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Thanks. Coming from you it's greatly appreciated although I am not sure by your comment if you wanted to kick my ass for stating something incorrectly. Anyway for what its worth I did appreciate your time and "help" to understand the earned media piece. The fact that marketers write the story is an important piece of the puzzle.



rdopping moderator

Thanks  @BetsyKCross  I wonder if my story made you feel something or if it was icky. Hmmm.....but that's exactly the point, isn't it? If we work at getting people to tell real authentic story then it can't go wrong. I agree, faking a story isn't going to demonstrate authenticity, is it? Well, we will see what happens.


Life in the corporate world is like that. It can be cold and precise. There's no reason why we can't warm it up a touch.

Thanks very much for dropping by. Cheers!

rdopping moderator

 @ExtremelyAvg Sounds about right. I think it can be planned. After talking to the ladies it seems that's what PR people do. I still don't have a solid view to how that world so works but that's the impression I was getting from the conversations I had.


Thanks for coming by Brian.


 @rdopping  @wgmccoll Thanks.  My recently-minted blog address is  If you (or others who read this) have any tips, I'd appreciate it.  Happy Thanksgiving (well, at least the AMERICAN Thanksgiving...we'll celebrate yours next October!)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @rdopping Good grief. Absolutely not! I'd never razz anyone like that, and you didn't say anything incorrect. Our disconnect is always my written humor and your sensitivity. I need to remind myself of that and be more aware. 


Sorry if I made you question anything; in fact, I liked the piece you wrote very much.


 @rdopping LOL! I wasn't clear! I love your blog and all of your stories. What I meant was that you can't fake feelings. If you feel something and write from there then it's powerful. You can't do more than that. And if you can, then that's where I come in saying, "I know nothing." I'd love to hear how tis all progresses!

rdopping moderator

 @wgmccoll Hey, Bill, I am no expert. I can barely get by myself with the tech side of websites. You have set a link to your blog from your website which is great but I am not sure why you are duplicating your blog posts on you main site and running a separate website for the blog posts as well. It might be better to simply host your blog off your main website but, hey, that's totally your call based on what you are trying to do.


Sorry I can't be more helpful but you may want to connect with the person who built your site.


There are plug-ins for Wordpress for RSS, etc. It's just that both your blog and your website don't have any way for folks to connect with you on a regular basis if the feed is not active. 


You have a great site and I really like the topics. Certainly on the way. Are you on twitter? Facebook? Let people know where else you are connected. It may be helpful to drive traffic to your site. I wish I could help more.




 @rdopping Thanks!  2 answers to your question:  1) I read a marketing book for small businesses that talked about blogging and recommended that you set up a separate blog (unfortunately, that was over the summer and I can't recall the exact reasoning for it).  2) Probably more of a reason, I'm not the most adroit at updating/improving my website.  I'm not sure how to do the RSS link.  If you have any tips (my website is also a WordPress product), I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks.  

rdopping moderator

 @BetsyKCross It's all good. I have thick skin but you made a valid point. Faking a story is like feigning interest. It's transparent and you will ALWAYS get caught. Be true to your story and boom. Winner!


I love that you care to come back and clarify. Very endearing. Thank you so much for being here. Cheers!


  1. [...] is a great infographic from the view from here that gives examples that makes it easy to understand the difference between paid, earned and owned [...]

  2. [...] is a great infographic from the view from here that gives examples that makes it easy to understand the difference between paid, earned and owned [...]

  3. [...] is a great infographic from the view from here that gives examples that makes it easy to understand the difference between paid, earned and [...]

  4. [...] Earned media involves positive publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising. Word of mouth, social sharing via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social sites creates viral sharing, creating earned media. Ultimately, getting press coverage is one of the truest forms of substantial earned media. Additionally, chatter and distribution among blogs and forums also contributes to your earned media efforts. Paid, Owned, Earned Media Infographic, Source: the view from here [...]

  5. [...] If you are able to break through this eye glazing over conversation then maybe you’ll walk up and have another conversation the next time you see the person. This is exactly what paid media is for me in the digital marketing process, you are trying to break though the noise of all the other adds, hopefully the paid add you are creating wont be quite as painful as this conversation, but if so, good luck. The important thing to remember though is this is necessary. People aren’t going to search you out, if they don’t know you are there. I’ve heard so many people throughout the years say, “well I am a good guy,” or, “I’d be a great girlfriend, I just can’t find anyone,” and most of the time they are saying it while they are sitting on their couch eating a tub of ice cream with a spoon and not doing anything social. End the pity party and get up and be active. You might have the best company, the next big thing but if you don’t start somewhere it will never be the next big thing.  [...]

  6. [...] Infographic below from the view from here [...]