Success tastes better when you’ve earned it – so work with PR experts to earn a media profile to be proud of

by Kenny Murray

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Find out how public relations gives businesses credibility, reach and attention

Newspaper coverage is an essentail part of the public relations services delivered by award winning PR agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland



PR Agency explains the PESO model of communicationWelcome to Part 2 of our essential business guide to PESO – helping you effectively reach new and existing customers via Paid media, Earned media Shared/Social media and Owned media. This section focuses on earned media.


A COLD BEER tastes better when you’ve really earned it after a hard day of graft.

A promotion is more satisfying when you know you’ve earned it thanks to sustained effort, skill and commitment. And completing a tough physical challenge is most rewarding when you earned your way to the finishing line through gruelling training and preparation.

So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to the PESO model of business communications, most public relations people take the greatest satisfaction from earned media. As the name suggests, achieving major coverage in newspapers, trade magazines, broadcast channels and reputable news website requires sustained graft and craft.

Anyone can pay for an advert. Anyone can post a social media update. Anyone can set up a blog or a basic website. But there is a far greater skill and effort required in spotting or devising a story, image or video that will garner significant media attention.

Firstly you have to convince a journalist that you have a bona fide story likely to be of interest to their audience. Then that story will be tested and questioned several more times by various editors, before it appears in a news outlet.

Earned media has always been central to public relations. Indeed, for many years achieving media coverage was pretty much the entire job. But PR has moved on and now media relations is just one of many facets of modern public relations.

Despite the many changes, the first thing most clients *still* want to know is how many times they have appeared in print. There are many reasons for that – all of which speak to the enduring power of seeing your business, product or service reported positively in the media.

So just why is it that businesses still value that earned media coverage so highly?


A TV interview being conductedA positive story about a business appears in the editorial section of a newspaper or news site, on the news reports of a TV or radio station. In short, it is not an advert.   Rather, it has been verified by an independent third party which gives it instant credibility.

The old adage says that when a business pays to advertise, it is telling people how great it is. However, earned media has other people singing your praises. Advertising is what you pay for – but earned media attention is what you pray for.

But it’s even more than that. The internet is awash with spoof sites and with memes and tropes that deliberately set out to misinform, sometimes for comedic effect, but often for other reasons.

That is why we increasingly look to traditional ‘old media’ sources to get information which has been verified, fact checked and balanced by a journalist or similar professional.

So earned media content is more credible, more believable, more accurate – and therefore more trustworthy.



A woman buying a newspaperAttention also counts. While advertising can deliver fantastic results we all know that it is also very easy to zone out advertising messages.

It’s easy to skip right past the ads in a newspaper or magazine and typically people use the ad breaks on TV as the ideal time for a loo break or to put on the kettle. Likewise, we barely notice the ads on websites or social media sites.

Yet people seeks out news,  buying newspapers, magazines, actively tuning into broadcast news bulletins and subscribing to favoured online news outlets. Indeed huge numbers of people not only seek out news stories, but they actively share them via social media channels.

While  Ofcom research shows that more than three quarters of people find news or new information via newspapers and tv news, a steadily rising number will find those same news storeis shared by their friends on Facebook, Twitter and the like.



Reading news online on an iPadThe promise of social media was that it would give anyone global reach.

However, when was the last time you, your business or anyone you know achieved massive coverage thanks to a Tweet, a Facebook updated or a LinkedIn post?

Of course it is possible. Indeed there are a new category of people who are internet famous and make their entire living from blogging, making web videos or by sharing their photos on Instagram. But such people are the exception – not the rule.

Fortunately for many businesses the goal is not global reach, since their products or services are sold in a specific geographic area – perhaps Edinburgh, or Central Scotland, or the UK and Ireland. Or their products and services will be sold in particular niche or channel, such as the insurance sector, of the oil and gas sector or the hospitality sector.

In either of these cases, earned media is yet again one of the most powerful ways to reach the right audience – via either the thriving local media (see our PR guide – Local and Loving It) or through influential trade publications.

Part of the success of public relations agencies in delivering coverage is down to the contacts they cultivate among journalists and broadcasters. But success if far more dependent on PR experts who can root out the most effective story line, then bring that together into the most compelling package of words, photos and videos for the target media outlet

This is Part 2 of our Essential Business Guide to Harnessing PESO. Demonstrating how businesses can harness the power of PESO to maximise business success. Read the rest of our guide.

PART 1 – Pay to play – discover cost effective advertising

PART 3 – It’s good to share – why SHARED media is a winner

PART 4 – Own it baby! Learn the secrets of OWNED media success

Isn’t it time to give your business the public relations support it deserves?

Holyrood PR is more than just Scotland’s Outstanding Small Public Relations agency.

We are multi-award winning story telling professionals on paper, online and on air. We believe that stories are at the heart of every successful business – and when those stories are well told to the right audiences, it makes those businesses more profitable while building happier workplaces.

We’d love to work with you to help you find the many ways that earned media coverage across newspapers, magazines, websites and broadcasters could help unlock even greater success for your business.

Call us on 0131 561 2244, or fill out the simple form, below, and we’ll get straight back to you.

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Kenny Murray of Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Private: Kenny Murray

Kenny Murray is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood PR, an award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.

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