What is the difference between paid, earned, and owned media? Do you really need all of them in your marketing strategy?
Anyone who has ventured into the world of online marketing has certainly come across the terms paid, earned and owned media. While sometimes you can tell what they mean within the context, everyone looking to market their business should spend some time to learn exactly what each of these terms mean. More importantly, they should learn how each of these terms play a vital role in a digital marketing strategy.
The Tripod of Online Marketing
Think of each type of media as a specific branch of your online marketing strategy. When they work together, they prop up your brand and allow you to accomplish your business goals. Each of these branches will support you in different ways.
- Owned media. This term encompasses all of your web properties that you directly control. Your website, blog, mobile site and social media channels are all encompassed by this term. They are an extension of your brand and create different ways for people to interact with your company. As a general rule, as long as you’re able to keep up with maintenance, the more owned media, the better.
- Paid media. As the name implies, this term describes all types of media that is paid for. It encompasses retargeting campaigns, social media ads, pay per click, paid content promotion and any other technique that requires you to shell out some cash. Paid media is an ideal way to spread your brands name with the goal of increasing revenue or lead generation. Much of paid media exists to drive people to your various owned media outlets.
- Earned Media. Easily the most elusive type of media, earned media is customer reviews, social media shares, likes, mentions and reposts. While pouring money into developing your social media profiles and developing great content can help, nothing can guarantee true earned media. Paid media and earned media can overlap when it comes to sponsored social media posts, but the most valuable earned media occurs organically. (Think Viral!) Successful earned media is usually a mix of informative and entertaining content. It can be perpetuated by answering any questions left in the comments, thanking people for participating and resharing any user-generated content that’s related to your brand (such as a dubstep remix of your video).
Each type of media plays a continuous role in developing your brand online. Successful companies are constantly re-investing revenue into each of these types of media, whether that means launching new owned media channels, using paid media methods or developing content with the goal of becoming earned media. Combine each of these types of media when you develop new marketing strategies.