What are Earned, Owned and Paid Media?

What are Earned, Owned and Paid Media?

Within the digital landscape new concepts are continuously emerging forcing us to learn if we want to stay ahead of the game. Concepts like ‘earned media,’ ‘owned media’ and ‘paid media’ have been more commonly used by enterprises to describe how they keep up with dynamic marketing. Today we are seeing these terms more widely used, hence, this article will explore the differences and their meaning.

Understanding Earned Media

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Has your business increased through recommendations, referrals, or simply word-of-mouth by means of your existing customers? If it has, then this is a clear case of earned media.

This concept involves the role played by satisfied customers in driving the reach of your business. Earned media also applies when the content of a brand is shared on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

While content can spread like wildfire on social platforms, search engines have proven to be more effective in expanding the reach of your work. For instance, your website is bound to get more visitors if it shows up on page one for your keywords.

This explains why businesses of varying sizes spend so much money on their SEO strategy. And considering how hard it is to rank on search engines, you might want to get started as soon as possible, if you are still sitting on the fence.

It’s worth emphasizing that you can’t have shareable content if it is poorly created, so if you’re serious about gaining business through earned media, then high quality content is non-negotiable.

What is Owned Media?

The word ‘owned’ says it all – your media channels belong to you giving you full control over their success. This could be your business blog, vlog, YouTube channel, Twitter handle, or other mediums that allow you to spread the word of your business.

The catch with owned media is that no one knows you exist. You need some reach to get your content and services seen by potential customers. Your YouTube channel, Facebook page, and others help to spread the word to those already aware of your business, but fail to capture new followers and leads – unless you optimize for search engines (see where earned media comes in).

What is Paid Media?


Paid media means that you are paying others to help increase the reach of your business. For example, you can work with influencers or various advertising platforms to get your content and business service to those that really need it.

Considering the reach of influencers, your business could see a significant jump in traffic and conversions. Also, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer advertising services to assist companies to expand their reach and get more clientele.

Moreover, your business can take advantage of advertising services offered by search engines like Google and Bing to reach customers whenever specific search terms are used.

Which of these media should you prioritize?

You should capitalize on all three types of media if you want to grow your business and ultimately reach your goals. Many businesses start out only using owned media and later regret this decision. Simply relying on owned media often stunts your business growth. For instance, a YouTuber creates fantastic video content but does nothing to improve his subscribers; views will remain the same, especially if he fails to optimize his videos for search.

You can’t just limit your attention to earned media and owned media either as the reach would still not meet your expectations. Customers can certainly spread the word in their circle; but what happens to those outside their circle? And remember that getting customers to speak to their friends and family about your business isn’t something that happens immediately.

With earned media, you need to spend time growing your social media channels and doing this without the support of paid media can be challenging. Plus, you need to keep your customers engaged in your brand otherwise they will move on to the next one that captures their attention.

Paying advertisers and influencers to expand your reach might not be something you are particularly excited in doing, but you should – if you are serious about growing your business.

Owned and earned media will only take you so far, but paid media will bridge the gap. You will get access to customers you never knew existed; some could go on to spread the word about your business. It’s like the final piece in the puzzle, fitting nicely where the input of the others terminates.

Final Thoughts

The trio of earned, paid, and owned media can take your business from ‘zero’ to ‘hello’ if you don’t go and break the special bond that exists between them. Each depends on the other to thrive, so find the best way to utilize each to reach your business goals.

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