Earned Media

Earned media is media coverage that your campaign “earns” (as opposed to pays for) by doing something newsworthy (an event, an announcement, etc.) that motivates press to show up. Here are tips for getting earned media coverage in mass media outlets, such as newspaper, TV, and radio:

First, figure out who your target audience is. Much as you might wish they did, not everyone in your city or state cares about every move you/your candidate makes. Consider who your announcement or event affects. Who would want to read about this? Who does this impact? These answers will help you determine the media outlets your team will target.

Second, figure out the “hook” that will catch the reporter or editor’s attention. You need to convince the media that your announcement or event is worth covering. What’s new or different about it? What shiny thing do you have to offer (e.g., a famous or news-making person that is involved)?

Third, send a press advisory to notify the media in advance. You will need to provide answers to the five W’s:

  • Who: Who will be there?
  • What: What’s happening?
  • When: Date/Time
  • Where: Location where the press should show up
  • Why: While this might often refer to why you’re having the event, the why that your Comms team is really going to care about is why the media should care. Why is this newsworthy? Does it tie into something already in the news?

You can use NDTC’s template press advisory for inspiration.

Fourth, on the day of the event or story breaking, send out a press release. You’ll have to answer the same questions as in the press advisory, but in more detail. You can use NDTC’s template press release for inspiration.

This content is adapted from the National Democratic Training Committee.

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