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How your agency can use earned media to increase traffic to your website and build trust like Denzel Washington


In the movie The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a former intelligence officer. He settles in Boston and begins to work in a home improvement store.

There, he befriends his co-workers as well as a teenage girl who works for a local pimp. He is seen reading a book in a diner and the girl asks him about the story, and he teaches her about being true to herself.

As the movie progresses, McCall helps recover a wedding ring from a robbery for one of his co-workers, helps train one of the employees to be a security guard, and looks out for everyone in the store.

He becomes trustworthy to his co-workers because he helps them and becomes friends with them. They have no idea about his skills and his past life.

Using earned media for the sake of traffic to your website involves building trust, much like McCall did with his co-workers and friends. It takes persistent helpfulness and communication.

When you earn that traffic, you have built credibility by the time users have come to your site. So, it isn’t just about building traffic, it is about building trustworthiness as well.

Social Media

What makes social media tough for so many brands is that they cannot control the narrative. Once someone begins talking about your brand, it is out of your hands. The way many companies have handled this is to listen for mentions of their name and engage customers.

Bob Ruffolo has some really good tips at iMPACT blog,

While social media has the potential to be one of your biggest traffic sources, it also requires the most time and effort to maintain. The occasional tweet or Facebook update isn’t enough to move the dial.

Ruffolo goes on to offer six very good, very basic, tips on using social media to build a good traffic source to your website.

Do you pay for social media?
How do you use Social Media?

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has various aspects including the use of mega-celebrities. I mean, who wouldn’t want Scarlett Johansson to say how great a job your business did for her? I know I would.

However, an influencer can be anyone in your industry who has an impact on what others think. This is why, for testimonials, companies love to put an influencer on their website.

Ivica Delic is an influence in the WordPress community and he is a featured influencer for Motopress. You can see his full testimony here.


Screenshot: Motopress
Screenshot: Motopress

Influencers can be used in the form of a testimony or a case study. This kind of exposure can give your site traffic, especially when they share their appreciation for you and your service.

Interview industry thought leaders

Interviewing a thought leader is a great way to get a wider audience. The strategy is to interview someone who is important in the industry of your target audience.

If you are servicing those in digital marketing, then an interview with Rand Fishkin would make sense. However, if your target audience is local to your community, an interview with Fishkin may not have the intended effect.

If you are reaching small businesses in your local area, consider interviewing the local chamber president or a local leader.

Come up with six or seven questions about what he or she does, what they see for the future, some advice to other businesses, and other similar questions. You can do a Question & Answer format or interview them in person.

Megan Marrs sums it up like this at Wordstream,

Consider interviewing major industry loggers or including other bloggers in a “best of” post (for example, Top 10 Blogs Rocking Pinterest). Once you have a blogger cited or featured in one of your posts, tag them in a tweet to let them know. Chances are that blogger will retweet and share a post mentioning them, getting more shares and more traffic as a result.

This is a strategy we have used on the MainWP blog in the past.

Attend conferences

Undoubtedly, you will attend a conference at some point in your professional career. It might be a WordCamp or it could be a local conference, a BarCamp, or some kind of tech conference.

These are great for networking. While you are there, give out business cards with clear details about your website. In fact, take it a bit further by building a specific landing page that thanks them for connecting, invites them to sign up for your email newsletter, shows some testimonials, and, this is important, a list of your best content that is relevant.

Now, to take this further, sign up to speak.

As Dan Shewan advises on Wordstream,

Whatever industry you’re in, chances are there are at least one or two major conventions and conferences that are relevant to your business. Attending these events is a good idea – speaking at them is even better. Even a halfway decent speaking engagement is an excellent way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and gain significant exposure for your site.

Promote on LinkedIn

Promoting on LinkedIn is more like repurposing content. LinkedIn gives you a tremendous forum to post content from your website and gain traffic to your website. Another option is to create highly useful, relevant posts.

The Kajabi Blog gives a good tip,

You can also post a teaser for your blog posts on LinkedIn. Include a link at the end with anchor text like “click to read more.” It’s a great way to convince people to click through and continue reading the post on your site.

When others see that you have authority because you know what you are talking about, they seek to connect with you and then follow you to your website.

My friend Joel Klettke, a conversion copywriter, has been doing this quite a bit recently and getting some great engagement.

Repurpose Content

Repurposing your content has a myriad of options.

Repurposing content is one of the best things you can do. It allows you to take content you already created and reuse it in different forms on different channels. For example, you can take podcast and pull quotes from the episode and create images you can share on Instagram or another social media channel with a link to the podcast episode.

Do you have a presentation? Great, turn it into a slide deck and post it on Slideshare. Host it as a freebie for those who sign up for your email newsletter.

Some content creators will create short audios using something like Anchor.

This allows you to reuse content in the preferred format for the channel you are posting to.

If you want to study this more in depth, Buffer offers an extensive guide: The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.

Other sources:

11 Genius Ways to Repurpose Content

40 Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content (And Why You Should)

How to Repurpose Content and Make the Most of Your Marketing

An ebook I created for blog post topics came from an e-course I created for an email list. I took each email and added them together, added a post that was similar, and a template. The ebook clocks in at over 4K words. I also created an ebook made up entirely of Q&A articles I did during 2016.  What ways can you repurpose content?

 Wrapping it up

Earned media traffic, sometimes, it very satisfying, because you earned your traffic without using money. However, it still takes time and skills. It takes networking because much of this is created by the use of relationships with others.

You never know what an email can do. I will reply to emails from influencers frequently and, most of the time, they respond because I am already on their email list. If you are reaching out with a cold email, bend over backward to do something for them or to make it super easy to help you.

Social media works when we engage our followers. Repurposing content gives us the opportunity to reach out through other channels, and attending conferences is vital for building those relationships.

Earned media strategy builds traffic, but it can also build trust when you are able to connect your content to influencers.

What kind strategies have you used for earned media marketing?

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys