Miley Cyrus: Earned Media Marketing Master


Earned media marketing masters are people and brands that create content remarkable enough to command the attention of their target audiences in the digital space. This week’s Earned Media Marketing Master is Miley Cyrus, thanks to her legendary performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night.

Disturbing, yet brilliant

Since Sunday, Cyrus’ performance has been described by major media outlets as “desperate,” “unacceptable,” “raunchy” and “really, really disturbing.” But the critics seem to have left out the most important adjective of all: brilliant.

Cyrus has been criticized and berated in a social onslaught that she will never be able to come back from. But she doesn’t intend to come back from it. For better or worse, Hannah Montana is now gone and Miley Cyrus holds the key to her own future, no matter how dangerous it may be.

Shock and awe campaign

Cyrus’ shock and awe campaign, while coming unexpectedly from the former Disney Channel star, has actually served as a dazzling kick-start for her rebranding project. Sidetracked by all the condemnation of Cyrus and MTV, people have failed to recognize the strategy behind her gutsy performance.

Cyrus has fully embraced two distinct benefits of earned media following her Sunday spectacle: brand awareness and social media buzz. According to, Cyrus’ performance spurred roughly 306,100 tweets per minute. It also led to over 10 million registered Google searches on Sunday alone. And let’s not pretend like she didn’t know her performance would cause an uproar—she did. And she was counting on it.

Cyrus now has featured articles from LA Times, Examiner, CNN, NBC, TIME, USA Today, Rolling Stone, MTV, and just about everything in between – not to mention owning the top five hottest articles on BuzzFeed and the top four from Huffington Post. At this point, the only people who aren’t aware of Cyrus’ rebranding are most likely living under a rock. Such is the power of earned media.

Goodbye, Hannah Montana!

Cyrus’ shock factor hit the digital world so hard that it was measured on the Richter scale. Yet while lewd and undoubtedly offensive to many, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Cyrus’ performance finally got her point across; she’s not a little girl anymore, and she’s definitely NOT Hannah Montana.

An earned media marketing strategy, when executed properly, is unparalleled in its ability to resonate with your target audience in the digital space. 90 percent of web traffic comes from unpaid earned media, and if you haven’t hopped on the train yet, your competitors will soon leave you at the station. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, a brand new start-up, or a superstar searching for your identity, an earned media campaign can be the answer to all your marketing problems. Check out our Guide to Earned Media and learn how to get started today!

Photo credit: Forbes, BuzzFeed