Earned Media For Political Candidates: Paying For It In Other Ways

Earned media: That’s really what the all presidential candidates hope for from all their debate performances -- as well as other places like appearances on TV news networks.

It means getting media that you don’t pay for, but have “earned” -- in theory. It can really help increase your poll position, and therefore donation dollars.

But, as you know, candidates also want to control the message: And that mean controlling questions from pesky moderators who have the audacity to come up with their own idea. What? Free speech?

In that regard, there were plenty of Republican candidates recently interrupting each other -- or alleging interruptions. (See Donald Trump’s accusations). Earned media can be tough to come by. Ohio Governor John Kasich still says he’s is not getting enough time.

Other complaints, others questions. We had Sen. Bernie Sanders moan: “Enough already with the emails!” concerning Hillary Clinton’s. But that was just a small bit of frustration. Clinton might complain about being asked about Benghazi and emails again and again.



Oh, did you think running for president was an exactly fair competition? And that’s why big advertising dollars work where  earned media efforts don’t.

Presidential candidates have plenty of venues to get their word out. MSNBC had Sen. Lindsey Graham on the air Tuesday. Why? With less than 1% in the polls, he was shut out.  So he complained some about candidates with little or no experience in political office who should do more homework and explain how they would scale down the volumes of U.S tax system into just three pages (Carly Fiorina), or detail exactly how they would send back 11 million people (including perhaps some legal citizens) to Mexico (Donald Trump).

MSNBC’s TV audience -- mostly deemed to be on the side of Democratic candidates -- would appreciate that kind of questioning. Good earned media for Graham, for sure.

The next day after the Fox Business Republican debate, you had Sen. Marco Rubio getting his earned media on NPR talking about a more reasonable plan about immigration.

Of course there is Trump, who hasn’t spent a dime on advertising yet. But we had his appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live” over the weekend. Funny? Maybe to some. But earned media for sure. Now just figure out that value.

According to, the Trump “SNL” episode over the weekend brought in $6.1 million in national TV advertising on NBC. Biggest advertisers on the night: Old Navy, Activision, General Electric, Nissan, and Columbia Pictures.

On Monday, political polls showed Trump edging back up over Ben Carson for the lead among Republican Presidential candidates.
Coincidence? Maybe. Time to earn it.

1 comment about "Earned Media For Political Candidates: Paying For It In Other Ways".
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  1. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, November 13, 2015 at 3:46 p.m.

    The Donald's the Biggest 'Earner.'  Poor Colbert, his candidacy in S. Carolina was four years too early!

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