The difference between earned, owned and paid media.

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The idea of paid, owned and earned media has been around for quite some time now. By relying heavily on one marketing stream, you leave yourself defenceless and exposed should an unexpected change reduce its productivity. One of the most important things when it comes to multiple marketing streams is to get a balance of sources.

Combining the right balance of paid media, earned media and owned media can take your business from nothing to quite successful, fast. When the right balance is combined with a solid content marketing program, you are sure to grow your business. All three forms of media are important for your business, but you need to have an understanding of the differences, which will become key to your success in realising your goals and it will in turn have a positive return on your assets.

We have put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand what the three types of media are and how to best utilise them.

What is paid media?

Paid media is the simplest to understand of the three medias and consists of any marketing/tool that you actually pay for. Conventionally this would include televised, radio and print advertising.

However, when it comes to online or digital marketing, there are a few subsections. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) adverts are some of the most a widespread form of paid media, and in PPC the most common is the Search Engine advertising. Advertisers can make a proposal on keywords that will be displayed above the standard search results whether it be in Google or any of the other web-platforms. As the name suggests, each time someone clicks on your advert you will pay for the client or visitor to be directed right to your website.

Another form of paid adverts that falls within the paid category is the banner advert. A banner advert entails embedding an image-based advert into a web page with the intent of redirecting the website visitor to the advertiser’s page. This paid media is decreasing in status and effectiveness as banner adverts are being blocked caused due to ad-blocking software. Within this category you also have a retargeting ability, as you can present customers/visitors who would have been bounced off your site with your adverts elsewhere online.

A fairly new scope of paid media is sponsored social media posts. The procedure changes and new algorithms implemented by social networks have resulted in reduced visibility and standard reach of your site. Paying to improve the number of people exposed to adverts has increased consequently.

Paid media, being the most common form of marketing can start to decrease in popularity over time, but it helps you to ensure clients and visitors see your content by increasing your search ranking. You also need to keep in mind that this can also affect the cost of your marketing because as your marketing campaign receives more clicks you will start to pay more but it can nevertheless keep you a step ahead of competitors.

What is owned media?

Owned media encapsulates the content you create and publish on a private channel that you own. This includes your websites, blogs, eBooks, articles you publish, and of course the content you distribute on your social media channels.

Owned media is mostly determined by your content marketing strategy. If you have a strong and well managed marketing strategy, that provides valuable and informative content, then your owned media will be supported and successful. However, you want to ensure that your content is not excessively self-promoted. Promoting content on social media is key to distributing it efficiently and allowing it to gain a far reach. Even though most of us use social media in our day-to-day lives, it can be complicated in terms of marketing so you can manage your social media promotions personally or better yet, by a social media management professional that knows the tips and tricks to get your content promoted and engaged with.

What is earned media?

Lastly, earned media comprises of all the content and discussions, around your brand or your products, that has been created by another party involved and published anywhere other than your owned channels. Earned media is an extension based on your efforts in paid and owned media channels. You can distinguish it as the amplification of your marketing activity. News sites and social media users pick up on your campaigns and boost your media in order to spread the word-of-mouth in public and online marketing terms.

Earned media can include media coverage, social media references, shares and retweets, product and company reviews, and posts through blogs and other social media devices – these are all authored outside your establishment. Earned media boosts or increases the visibility of your brand or products, and clients can reach your content through social media engagement, which in turn will increase your earned media. The social media aspect of earned media brings the your audience’s voices and suggestions into your marketing strategy, and this will give an indication as to the importance of increasing social media engagement. As you may know social media is no longer just an unprofessional form of communication amongst youth generations but rather it has evolved and become the most simple yet effective form of marketing.

Earned media is valuable as it tends to be more trust-worthy and credible. Its increasingly popularity boosts the potential for the standard reach on a social scale and it is also why brand promoters and influencers have become such an important part of the marketing world.

Monitoring paid, owned and earned media

Monitoring paid, owned and earned media will give you an understanding of how the popularity associated with your brand is created and where you can influence it beyond its original range. This might not sound like a big deal but never before have you been able to monitor and influence your brand with relative ease. Using a social analytics tool can help you gain a more detailed understanding within each media channel you own or make use of. That information can then be fed straight into your processes and procedures moving forward in your marketing strategy. This will help to expand your communication, increase your engagement and strengthen your content reach further than ever before.

An effective content strategy doesn’t ever rely on only one method and one approach. Generating actionable leads means that you have to regularly publish and distribute captivating, authentic and valuable content. It also requires exploration into using guest blogging opportunities, identifying marketing campaigns that can benefit both companies, and devise a strategy for promoting said content.

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