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How to Elevate your Business through Earned Media

sports business marketing strategies
There are a few different types of media that you can utilize to promote yourself and engage with your audience. Paid media includes coverage you pay for, while owned media consists of your business’s website, emails, social media pages, or anything else your business owns. Earned media however, is material about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself. Earned media is the hardest of the three to obtain, but holds the most power. It is important that you know how to acquire earned media in your sports business, and we will highlight some of the many types of earned media to obtain.  

How can your sports business strive to generate earned media?

Build trust through client testimonials

Many shoppers rely heavily on recommendations from friends and family or unpaid reviews. A sports training facility is no exception. Word of mouth from trusted friends sets your business apart from all of the rest. Review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business also play a significant role in earned media. Studies show that a majority of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and those reviews greatly influence their decisions. Don’t have a Google Business Profile? Here’s how to make one!  

Amplify your brand with media coverage

Media coverage is an aspect of earned media where public relations (PR) comes into play. Public Relations is all about, well, relationships. Press releases are a great way to inform the community about upcoming events, changes, or exciting news for your business. Building working relationships with journalists and local reporters can result in coverage of your events or stories. Invite them to cover a charity-event, new facility opening, or community day. It is essential to continue to nurture these relationships, even when you don’t need anything. This paragraph from HubSpot’s Public Relations Guide gives ways to do so:
“Nobody likes being contacted only when you need something. Find ways to add value to your reporter’s daily lives as well. You can share and promote their content when it’s unrelated to you, comment on great pieces they write to demonstrate genuine interest, or potentially provide them with sneak peeks to explore your business, your approach, or meet with your team. Media relationships should be a two-way street, so make sure you meet journalists half-way and deliver value.”
Social media shoutouts also contribute to earned media. While you cannot control what people post, you can influence them through your brand’s behavior, product quality, and interesting content. Post pictures or videos of training workouts, and encourage your athletes to repost them. You can also organize a workout challenge on social media, where participants post pictures completing the challenge, and you can repost them. Engaging with customers by retweeting or replying to their posts encourages them to share more about your business.  

Leverage user-generated content and earned social media

In addition to posting your own content on social media (owned media), you can also earn exposure through user-generated content. Social media shoutouts contribute to earned media. While you cannot control what people post, you can influence them through your brand’s behavior, product quality, and interesting content. Post pictures or videos of training workouts, and encourage your athletes to repost them. You can also organize a workout challenge on social media, where participants post pictures completing the challenge, tagging your business. Engaging with customers by retweeting or replying to their posts encourages them to share more about your business. Though your own social media posts are owned, reposts and engagement is earned. Influencer marketing is another way to reach new people, especially younger audiences. Try offering a t- shirt or discount for athletes to share their experiences at your business, or consider making them a brand ambassador. Some of their followers may have been considering starting training for their sport, and seeing that their friend had good experiences may encourage them to try your business.  

Get involved in the community

Hosting or participating in community events is a great way to get involved and connect with the public. Whether it’s a charity event, family-style cookout, or community-wide baseball game, there are many ways to plug into the community. The public will notice you at these events and see you as a trusted business.  

LOVE your Customers

Your customers keep your business alive, so it is important to make them happy! Treating your customers well is crucial for earning positive reviews and maintaining a good reputation. Respond to negative reviews and comments promptly, be accommodating, and offer solutions to customer problems to ensure customer satisfaction. Additionally, making it easy for customers to reach you and providing exceptional in-person experiences further contribute to earned media and customer loyalty. When you make your customers happy, they may just tell their friends about you.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, the power of earned media cannot be overstated in the world of sports business. While paid and owned media have their place, it is the organic and genuine nature of earned media that sets it apart and makes it invaluable. Leveraging reviews, media coverage, social media shoutouts, and search engine optimization can significantly impact your business’s visibility and reputation. By fostering positive relationships with customers, engaging with the community, and consistently delivering exceptional experiences, you can create a ripple effect of earned media that extends far beyond your immediate reach. The true strength of earned media lies in its ability to spark authentic conversations, build trust, and transform satisfied customers into enthusiastic advocates who willingly share their experiences with others. As you embark on your sports business journey, remember that earned media isn’t just a goal to achieve; it’s a testament to the impact you’re making on the lives of those you serve. Embrace the power of earned media and watch your business flourish in the hearts and minds of your audience.
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