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6 Keys to PR and Earned Media Coverage for HCM Brands

Earned media is the most difficult of the three genres of promotional coverage for most organizations. To understand the difference between the three types — owned, earned, and paid media — take a quick look at the definitions below.

  • Owned media is a channel that a brand has control over. Owned media can include your organization’s website, apps, blog, social media profiles, and online newsrooms.

  • Earned media refers to external or customer-controlled channels. Earned media can include external websites, apps, social profiles, industry publications and news outlets.

  • Paid media refers to anytime a brand pays to leverage a given channel. Paid media can include your organization’s display ads, paid search, sponsorships, native advertising content, and industry media purchases such as email list rentals.

When a brand leverages earned media effectively, they have the opportunity to “go viral” or get the coverage typically seen from PR activities. The benefit of leveraging earned media is that it’s the most credible of the three types because of its transparency. It is also the promotional outlet that plays the most integral role in sales for brands.

earned media

So you wanna know how you can leverage earned media for your organization within the HCM industry? Here are three outlets you can start with.


Submit a press release to SmartBrief. If you haven’t already, subscribe to SmartBrief on Workforce and SmartBrief on Leadership to get a daily digest of relevant content you should be reading anyway. After you have been checking out the SmartBriefs for the types of content they find valuable, you can submit your organization’s press releases through their site. One word of caution: Do this right.


Any time you attempt to earn coverage for your organization, the key is always authentic and relevant content supported by thoughtful outreach to the publication. Don’t be pesty. Don’t be salesy. Don’t be weird.


The Carnival of HR is a bi-weekly blog event started by Suzanne Lucas (The Evil HR Lady) in 2007, then managed by Alison Green (Ask a Manager), and now managed by Shauna Moerke (HR Minion). The carnival involves submitting a recent, relevant blog post to the host of the current event. If the post is a good fit for the host (no self-promotional or salesy content, again), they might just feature it alongside the other great posts from the week.

You can follow the schedule here or on Twitter to see what the current carnivals are featuring. Ready to get involved? Use the contact form here.


Don’t submit a pitch to any publication, online community, or blogger without reading the content they are already sharing and trying to understand how your content could fit in. A blogger, journalist, or whoever is on the receiving end of your pitch can always tell if you’re using “spray and pray” public relations.


Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an excellent tool that can deliver earned media opportunities right to your inbox every day (several times a day, even). In the Business & Finance section, you’ll find relevant opportunities for HCM vendors to submit tips for job seekers, human resource practitioners, etc. Sign up, if you haven’t already, to see what HARO is all about, and when you see an opportunity that looks like a good fit, submit your pitch to the email address related to the query.

You can find out more about how HARO works here and check out this guide to getting coverage through HARO by Hubspot.


Be direct and concise when pitching for earned media placement. Don’t be that source that not only gets ignored, but gets remembered for your terrible pitch.

Want more tips on how to earn media coverage for your HCM brand? Follow The Starr Conspiracy on Twitter for more.