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How Paid, Owned and Earned Media Differentiates a Brand

Author: ADMIN
Jan 10, 2024

If you are looking to promote your business online, you might have come across the trifecta of owned, earned and paid media. They are one of the most important components of digital marketing strategies. Here we will not only explain the terms, but also suggest which one is best suited for your brand.

Owned: According to the Harvard Business Review, owned media is anything under companies’ direct control such as websites, newsletters, catalogues, and blogs.

Earned: Earned media, is any material written about you or your business that you haven’t paid for or created yourself. The commonest example is the word of mouth or viral content.

Paid: Paid media refers to marketing that you pay for in order to gain sales or drive traffic to your owned media pages, according to the Oxford College of Marketing. The commonest examples are advertisements and advertorials.

Find your pick
Now every strategy that you pick from the pool of digital marketing will need you to plan and budget for it. So it is always best to pick something that will not only be cost effective but also serve your need. Besides the ROI must be high. We’d suggest you first take advantage of earned media. It includes:

  • Influencer marketing (Will cover Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.)
  • Press releases (news coverage/tabloid, etc.)
  • Customer reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, Quora and other platforms.
  • Word of mouth done through referral marketing, influencer, or affiliate marketing.
  • Reddit discussions
  • Search engines
  • High views on Quora

The reasons we opted for earned media over the other two options are:

  • If you are starting out and nobody knows you, the content you generate will have no traction without marketing. And brand-building on basis of organic likes and shares will be both slow and tedious.
  • Paid media is as its name suggests, paid and industry experts say that ads are always expensive whether it is mainstream media or online media.

Advantages of earned media

  • Free
  • Increases trustworthiness
  • Always positive
  • Reach a wide audience
  • Improves conversion of sales
  • Establishes reputation and credibility

How to leverage earned media

Earned media is largely the result of media relations and influencer outreach, which are usually managed by public relations (PR) consultants.

Your PR consultants can create the content and customise it depending on the target audience. They will be responsible for dealing with your influencer marketing, handling the journalists and other media relations and outreach. So they will be creating the content and ensuring its dissemination using all positive avenues.

Now let’s look at an ideal example: You network with an Instagram or Youtube influencer with a large following. He or she posts a content featuring your product or service (never forget to incentivise these content, like by adding a discount coupon for those who watch the video and opt for the product or service).

It is most likely that those who like the video will explore your own social media handles (owned media) and perhaps even in turn speak about it to other people, says mention you on a Quora or a Reddit conversation thread and the next thing you know is that, mainstream media like BuzzFeed has picked up your content.

Being featured in a reputed website like BuzzFeed will have a huge impact on your brand image, popularity, traffic on your website etc. – your ultimate goal.

As we mentioned earlier, industry experts say that paid media like ads is always more expensive than either owned to earned media. So if you are starting out it is imperative that you opt for earned media. You can piggyback on already reputed personalities or brands (newspapers/websites) to grow your own brand. Once you start to expand your business then you can take a call on opting for paid media.

If you are still confused or apprehensive then you can always opt for agencies, which have prior experience in this field such as MensenTock Communications, which has years of experience in ensuring great ROI to its clients through the efficient use of earned media.

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