How We Leverage Earned Media for Our Partners

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Conversations, soda, and earned media. What do those three things have in common? They’re three things that we don’t want to “fizzle out.” After all, who likes dull conversations and flat soda? The same goes for earned media coverage.

We’re thrilled every time one of our partners gets a media hit. Getting stories into different outlets—print, broadcast, or digital media—gets our partners the attention they need to keep doing what they do. But getting coverage isn’t the end of the journey; it’s a step on the way.

Keep reading to find out how we leverage earned media to make the most of each hit.

We seize the day.

We can’t wait to get started with our next steps when there’s a hit. Why? Because each piece of media coverage has the potential to create more opportunities—if we leverage it pronto.

It’s called the “snowball effect.” A hit that gains traction leads to more opportunities for media coverage. More media coverage = wider reach and greater impact. So we act quickly because we want to build that magic momentum for our clients.

An earned media hit greases the gears for more coverage. It convinces reporters that the information is newsworthy.

We asked our earned media expert, Norma Kelly, how an earned media hit results in more successful pitches. “We’ll reference a newspaper hit in a broadcast pitch because broadcast usually follows print. If The Washington Post ran a story on our client and it’s great, we take that and go to ABC, NBC, or CBS and say ‘You know, the Post just wrote this article about our client. Our client’s available for interviews if you want to discuss this with them.’ That’s another way to leverage [an earned media hit].”

And we don’t wait to boost media hits through owned media and marketing strategies.

We amplify our hits.

We want each media hit to stay active and engaging as long as possible. Get in front of as much of our audience as we can. Here’s how we do that.

Once we get a hit (whether in digital, print, or broadcast), we push it out in social media posts, website updates, leadership bios, email newsletters, intranet updates… We go wherever it makes sense to catch our audience’s attention. There are so many places where folks get their info, so we meet them where they are. (As a bonus, website updates and external media hits online both improve SEO ranking—driving more website traffic and, therefore, audience attention.)

We include people on it. When we get coverage, we keep internal teams, key stakeholders, and organizational leaders in the loop and get their help promoting it. They can share the news on their own social media profiles or engage with our posts, increasing engagement and expanding our potential audience.

We also showcase hits. If there’s a quote we can pull for a press release or a piece of marketing collateral. Or we expand on a theme or topic from the coverage in a new thought leadership article or blog.

Liza Sacilioc, our content development and storytelling guru, says, “Another way we leverage media hits is through awards. We apply for these award nominations for our clients, the awards want examples to show the campaign did well. So—specifically for United Way—we’re able to show a robust marketing campaign that has earned media, digital, videos.”

This extends, boosts, and magnifies each hit—getting us more value for our efforts.

Here’s why this is our approach.

Success in earned media requires follow-through. Just getting a hit isn’t enough. We need to leverage it.

It’s our practice to be proactive about it, so we have a plan in place to always get the most out of each media hit. Each hit is an opportunity for our partners to build credibility, reinforce audience interest, and drive momentum and growth.

Here’s an example. When the Mackenzie Scott Foundation awarded millions of dollars to nonprofits in early 2021, she relied on a team of consultants to find nonprofits that were improving their communities. Media hits showing how United Way of the National Capital Area served the community were some of the proof needed to receive those funds.

And we saw success in leveraging earned media in our work with the DC College Access Program. When then-CEO Argelia Rodriguez announced plans to retire in 2021, we were able to secure three media hits in one week, followed by another hit in The Washington Post. That coverage provided visibility that helped Rodriguez be named one of 11 “2022 Washingtonians of the Year” by Washingtonian.

When our partners ask why we amplify hits, we educate them on why our approach works. Why keeping the ball rolling on media hits is so important, and how to make that happen.


When a partner gets a media hit, it’s important to act quickly to create that momentum. We have an opportunity to heighten awareness, expand reach, and improve trust—and we need to run with it.

At JR Communications, our approach is proactive and makes the most of each hit. We don’t let it fizzle out. Earned media is the social proof of our partner’s work. Whether it’s a nonprofit’s mission or a company’s product, proof helps them gain (and keep) donors or customers. And this, in turn, lets them continue the good work they do.


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