TECH BYTE: Knowing the difference between earned, owned, and paid media

March 19th, 2018 | | industry

Combining earned, owned, and paid media will help you attract, nurture, and close leads, but what do these terms really mean? And when it comes to your company’s content strategy, how do they fit into the equation? While all three media efforts are important to your overall goals and should converge in your strategy, there are still distinct differences.

Earned Media

Quite simply, earned media refers to media exposure you’ve earned through word-of-mouth. Whether it was the fantastic content you’ve distributed, the influence of your SEO efforts, the customer experience you’ve delivered, or a combination of all three, earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result. You can earn media by getting press mentions, positive reviews, reposts, recommendations, etc. You can also facilitate earned media by helping journalists and content writers author their articles, or contributing your own thought leadership content to industry publications. Thanks to the rise in popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Quora, it has become easier for content writers and journalists to reach out to your business for quotes and insights to mention in their articles. This type of accreditation helps build trust around your expertise. So whether you’re earning mentions on external sites or you’ve earned an opportunity to contribute to them regularly, this type of media helps to fuel the top of your funnel and introduce you to new leads.

Owned Media

Owned media is content you’re in full control of. Think of content for your company website, your blog, and your social media accounts. While owned media content can take on a variety of forms – blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. – the primary goal of this content is to continue providing value to leads as they move down the funnel. These assets offer a more controlled — but not overly promotional — message about your company. So if you’re looking to warm up leads that you’ve generated with earned media or win over some more, it’s important that you’re focusing on producing these educational, valuable resources. At the end of the day, this content can help leads determine whether or not working with you is the right choice for them.

Paid Media (see below)

While today’s digital media influx may make it difficult to get your company’s message heard organically, it also brings with it an influx of methods to promote it. Paid media serves as a method for promoting and driving exposure. And there are variety of paid techniques you can use to amplify your owned media and help you win more earned media. We’ve (Edit. at The Byte) have found that eDMs and Blog postings are the most effective promotion platforms for our audience of B2B marketers, but you can utilize any strategy. It all depends on where your target audience is the most active and how engaged they are with your brand.

Source: Hubspot

Paid Media Channels Include: TV, Online Video, Online Display, Mobile, Direct Email (EDM), Search (SEM), Social, Brochures, Magazines, Press (newspapers, maps & guides), Radio, Cinema, OOH (Outdoor), PR/Activiation, Categlogues. Well produced, appropriate and targeted paid media can deliver sales in spades and should be thought in conjunction with earned and owned media, not instead of. Plus a variety of paid media is better than one, better not to put all your eggs in one basket.