As an Internet marketing speaker, consultant and a provider of Internet marketing services it imperative that I stay op on the latest developments in SEO, social marketing, website conversion tactics, etc.

I make it my job to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially as it relates to Internet marketing strategies, tactics and tools that can make a difference to small businesses.

Here’s a proven kernel for you- “Earned Media”. If you are not familiar with the term it refers to favorable publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising. According to AnswerLab 67% of marketers are increasing their investment on Earned Media this year, and I’m not at all surprised.

The “earned media” concept has been around for decades primarily being associated with publicity.  Today earned media is has gone grassroots. It’s me making a blog post like this one and you sharing it on FaceBook or LinkedIn and a friend of your seeing it and passing it on to a friend of theirs, etc., etc,. etc.

My personal experience this week serves as a great example of why earned media is becoming so popular. The basic concept is this- we don’t like being “sold to”, we like discovering, finding, hearing about, being referred to, but we don’t like being sold to and we are becoming ever more skeptical of big advertisers (unless we have a lot of trust for the brand).

Here’s how most of us are “discovering” new products and services today- the Internet. Google, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and websites have become the delivery devices for “earned media”. We “hear about” a company, a product or a service online, we then “learn about it” (which usually means going to their website and doing some online research) and then we decide to become a customer, or we decide to “like”, “follow” or “subscribe” to their information and become a customer when the time is right.

This so far this week I have had four serious inquires from companies or associations interested in having me deliver an Internet marketing presentation to their group. Each came from earned media, they either read something written by or about me or they “discovered” me in a Google search.

Once I was “heard about” I was researched. Almost everyone will go to your website and “check you out” before they do anything else. In my case getting to my website is also a way of “checking me out”, and it may well be for you too.

In one case the potential client “Googled” the term on- seo breakout session, they figured if I was any good at what I speak on I would show-up on the first page of Google- They weren’t disappointed. 🙂 Another Googled the term- website marketing speaker.

By the way, this also makes a great case for optimizing the “long tail” people search on hundreds and hundreds of different “keywords” or “search terms” when they are looking for (and finding) the products and services we offer.

Getting a favorable mention in a blog post or web article can really take on a life of its own, even your own blog posts can become “earned media” as they are forwarded and shared. If you have not added “earned media” as part of your marketing plan I suggest that you do. This is a strategy whose time has definitely come for small businesses. If you need any help join us at IMGmembers.com and I’ll become your Internet marketing coach, and Internet marketing service provider