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What is Paid, Earned and Owned Media?

What is Paid, Earned and Owned Media?

Every online presence can be separated into three distinct categories. Here's our overview of what you might have at your disposal.

As social media and online PR play an increasingly important role for brands, the three main media types - paid, earned and owned - need to be reviewed and reevaluated on a frequent basis.

This is particularly important in today's climate, where owned and earned media are gaining more prominence than paid, which dominated in the past. 

What is owned media?

Owned media consists of any web properties you are in full control of. These could be your websites, blogs, social media channels and even your mobile apps. 

The more owned media you have, the better your chance for a broader online presence, provided you look after and maintain each channel. Owned media is driven by your content strategy, which means it’s important to make it valuable, informative and engaging for your target audiences. 

In order to maximise the impact of your owned media, you need to promote your content and distribute it far and wide. This is where you might find paid media to be useful. 

What is paid media? 

Paid media is the advertising you pay for in order to drive traffic to your owned media. Whether you choose pay per click, display advertising, influencers, social media ads or something else, paid media provides a way to promote your content, which should lead to more exposure, reach and recognition for your brand or product. 

At PerformanceIN we produce regular articles on two of the most dominant forms of paid media: paid social and paid search.

The benefits of using paid media are the immediacy and scale this type of investment can have on your brand. It can be controlled and used as needed. A caveat is that paid media is arguably less credible than earned media…

What is earned media?

Earned media describes the non-paid publicity and exposure your brand has gained from audiences. This consists of all content and conversation around your product or brand, created outside of your owned channels.

Think mentions, shares and reviews across different platforms, which all come together to give you a boost in exposure.

Often a result of a well-managed owned and paid media strategy, earned media drives traffic and engagement for your brand, although the results are harder to measure. 

Earned media is also high in the credibility stakes, because it comes from users and unbiased parties, although a lack of control over what gets generated can also create issues when negative reactions get taken into account. 

Do I need all of these?

Individually, owned, paid and earned media are key to any content strategy. These three elements influence each other in different ways, and to truly make the most of them, it’s key to integrate two or more into your campaign.

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Got a question or comment – tweet Richard @RichToweyPI or comment on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

Read more from Richard

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