What are owned, earned and paid media?

Digital marketing, like many industries, has its own jargon and this can lead to confusion.  Here, our digital marketing team take a look at the differences between owned, earned and paid media and how you can make sure your opportunities are being maximised.

Owned media is the content that you create and publish on any channels you own.  This could be your blog, your website, your own e-newsletters, white papers, case studies and social media channels.  This is the place where you create and place your own content and share it through social media.  It’s where you can maximise your exposure and where you can really make your brand come alive.

Earned media, on the other hand, is largely out of your control but where you can have an influence.  It consists of all the content and conversations around your brand or product that has been created by someone else and published on other media rather than on those you own.  It comes about as a result of your efforts in paid and owned media.  It becomes like an amplification of your own activity as news media and social media users pick up your themes and articles and help to spread the word.

Earned media typically involves press coverage, social media mentions you others, likes and shares, company reviews, external blogs…all these things increase the visibility and reach of your content.  In many cases they are seen as being more credible than owned media as they are being generated by a third party, for example a newspaper or magazine.  A strong PR campaign can help to enhance Earned media coverage. It is impossible to completely control Earned media – and you probably wouldn’t want to, as this would make it less authentic.  Think where you go when you want to know if a hotel or tourist attraction is worth a visit – Tripadviser with its independent reviews is usually the best place to start!

Paid media is the most straightforward to understand.  It refers to any marketing that you pay for, whether that be traditional magazine, TV, radio or print adverts or online advertising.  The growth of online advertising has been astronomical in recent years.  PPC (Pay Per Click) adverts are the most popular type of paid media. Advertising on search engines such as Google gives companies the opportunity to bid on keywords that appear above organic search results.  Every time someone clicks on the advert then the advertiser pays and the user can be directed to a website or product page.

Sponsored social media posts are a growing area of paid media.   Facebook and Linkedin sponsored posts are becoming increasingly popular as brands pay to boost the number of people exposed to their adverts.

So which should you be using and why?

Well it’s back to the guiding principles of marketing and the Marketing Mix.  It’s not one single activity that will make the difference but a combination of doing all the right activities at the right time.  This is certainly true of Earned, Owned and Paid media.

The most obvious place to start is with Owned media.  Here you can make the quickest and biggest difference.  It is relatively easy to ramp up your content marketing on blogs, social media and on generating fresh website content or podcasts.  Especially if you work with a dedicated PR and digital marketing agency like Dragonfly PR, where we can take care of generating fresh content that is keyword enriched, on an ongoing basis.

Earned media – this works much better if you take an active approach.  By bringing in the skills of our PR team, who have excellent contacts with both online and traditional media, you can encourage a positive voice for your brand on Earned media.  We identify the outlets with the highest domain authority and then target them with authoritative content that is relevant and tailored to their audience, therefore guaranteeing a higher level of coverage. 

Increasingly clients are adding Paid media into their marketing mix.  We can help manage PPC campaigns through Google Adwords or via social media PPC.  Both offer an affordable way to reach out to a wider audience and to potentially generate some lucrative sales leads and a great return on investment.  The beauty of PPC is that it can be switched on and off for short or longer campaigns.  Although it doesn’t have the longevity that is generated by Organic SEO activities, which can raise a website’s ranking to the top of page one and keep it there for quite some time if a website is constantly updated.

For more details of how you could make the most of Owned, Earned and Paid media, please contact our digital marketing team by email hello@dragonflypr.co.uk or by calling 0114 349 5341. We are a Sheffield based dedicated PR and digital marketing agency that specialises in the business to business and industrial sectors.

As a dedicated Sheffield-based Public Relations and digital marketing agency, we have extensive experience in creating online content for business to business companies working in the construction, manufacturing, rail, food and technology industries.

Call us on: 0114 349 5341