According to a recent interview with Doug Edwards, Google's first director of marketing, back during its start-up phase the company received a greater bang for the buck from earned media coverage than they did from advertising. That's a major insight about a company that generates most of its revenue through ads!

According to Edwards, Google was always a big believer in PR. The company felt that generating a credible user experience was the key to adoption, and the best way to get people to use the software was for them to discover it through news stories, word of mouth and earned media. This is a key point - if you have a truly valuable product or service, it should sell itself.

As Edwards notes, people usually feel that advertising means that a company is trying to sell them something. This immediately puts them on the defensive. However, if they come across a product or service because a friend told them about it, they saw a positive review or read a positive article, they tend to have a more open point of view.

In Google's case, people heard about the company through an article or friend, checked it out for themselves, and fell in love. Edwards calls this process the "joy of discovery." Instead of being told to like something or buy something, one finds out about it and then "discovers" it for themselves. And once they like it, they tell their friends!

Whether a company is just getting started or has been established for over one hundred years, a good strategic earned media relations campaign can bring more "discoverers" to a company than any ad campaign, just Google itů