Building Earned Media vs. Paid Media vs. Owned Media

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In order to generate quality website traffic and efficient ROI for your business, you already know you need content that’s compelling and useful to your target audience. But website content creation is not enough. A great strategy combines different types of media for optimal performance.

Let’s talk about earned media vs. paid media vs. owned media, starting with a quick visual.  

digital Marketing media types

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media refers to word-of-mouth exposure and publicity earned through SEO and content marketing, customer experience and PR efforts. Earned media includes positive reviews, PR/press mentions, reposts/tweets, recommendations, etc. 

  • How to get earned media (a few quick Oneupweb tips):
  • Help your writers produce articles, blogs and resources that rank well in search engines and contribute to your industry.
  • Participate in trade shows, conferences and other events to cultivate business relationships and brand trust in person.
  • Try some link-building tactics to fuel your SEO performance, traffic and leads.
  • Promote your content and strengthen your network on social media. Influencer marketing is another potential path to more earned media.
  • Encourage employee advocacy on social media and by word-of-mouth.

What Is Owned Media?

Owned media is the content you create and control, including your company website and social media accounts. While owned media can take on a variety of forms (blogs, case studies, white papers, etc.), the primary goal of this content is to continue providing value to website visitors as they move down the funnel.

Get the most out of owned media:

What Is Paid Media?

Paid media includes ads and other paid tactics you use to promote your content and drive brand exposure. Paid media can be used to amplify owned media and help win more earned media.

Avenues for successful paid media marketing include:

  • Use social media advertising platforms. LinkedIn is an especially effective B2B platform, and other platforms are great for B2C advertising. At the end of the day, it really depends on where your target audience is most active and engaged.
  • Create search ads in Google and Bing. If you’re looking for support, check out our paid media services.
  • Strategically use different types of display ads in various display networks.  
  • Read our paid media FAQs to nail down a plan.
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The Value of Earned Media vs. Paid Media

While paid media is a great way to quickly build brand recognition and get leads, earned media is more likely to benefit you long term, no matter how your audience is finding you. The main difference between earned and paid media – besides cost, obviously – is the amount of resources required over time.

Paid media marketing, such as PPC campaigns, require ongoing spend and consistent management. Earned media, on the other hand, is like a snowball on a hill. It tends to build itself after you get it rolling. For example, if a few authoritative publications create a buzz about a piece of your content or one of your products, other publications are likely to pick up on that and create more backlinks to your website. Another example is great customer service: If you impress a large enough customer base, word will get around that your brand rocks.  

Does This Mean Paid Media Isn’t Worth It?

Definitely not. Our agency still 100% recommends leveraging paid media to amplify owned media and gain more earned media. It’s the perfect trifecta.

Have You Heard of Shared Media?

We just said “trifecta,” but maybe we should have said “quadfecta”… There’s a fourth type of media called shared media, which is essentially social media and other user-generated content. Together, the four media types make up the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model.

We have details about the PESO model here, including examples of using it to elevate your marketing strategy and meet your revenue goals.

Putting the Pieces Together

Making paid, earned, owned and shared media work together is easier said then done. How does it all fit into your various marketing channels like organic search and email?

If you need a partner to help you figure it out, consider bringing your business goals to the Oneupweb team. We’ll tap into more than two decades of digital marketing experience to help you pursue your biggest ideas. Give us a call at (231) 922-9977 or reach out online.

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