The Value of Earned, Owned and Paid Media


Promoting your brand on any level, is a great thing. Traditional marketing methods are generally focused around brand recognition and awareness. Hearing or seeing your brand over and over again can keep you top of mind when your product or service is needed.

Earned Media: What others say about you. Brand presence without paid advertisement.


  • Facebook Likes and Shares
  • Twitter RTs and Mentions
  • Pins/Repins from Pinterest
  • LinkedIn Endorsements
  • +1’s from Google Plus
  • Inbound links to your website from other domains
  • Reviews on 3rd party websites like Yelp and Google +
  • PR

Earned media can be viewed as the most valuable of all. Essentially, its a 3rd party endorsement of your brand or message. This carries more weight than a paid advertisement. Imagine standing in a room and telling everyone how wonderful your company is. Now image one of your clients telling everyone how wonderful your company is. BIG DIFFERENCE. Earned media adds credibility to your brand. In fact, many search engines, like Bing and Google take your credibility into account when determining what placement you’ll receive in their search engines. Often times, search results will be “optimized” based on what others like and recommend.

Owned Media: The message you control.

  • Website/Blog/Content Marketing
  • Mobile Apps
  • Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc.
  • Newsletters/Emails
  • Organic SEO
  • Speaking Engagements/Workshops/Community Relations
  • Collateral Material/Sales/Media Kits

Owned media is any message about your brand that you control. Owned media is most often referred to as content marketing. This media can be valuable to a brand because it engages customers and cultivates relationships.  Owned media can provide long term growth benefits, without the higher cost of paid media. The downside is, it takes time to scale.

Paid Media: Visibility you pay for.

  • Print ads
  • Sponsorships
  • Paid Search (PPC)
  • Paid media placement (infomercial, advertorial, etc)
  • Traditional advertising/marketing: (TV, Radio, Print, etc)

When it comes to paid media, the biggest benefit can be it’s immediacy. You don’t have to earn your spot, you just have to pay for it. Over the years, the value of paid media has declined with lower response rates and clutter.

Mix up Your Media

Ultimately, this trilogy of media works best when combined. Combining owned, earned and paid media expands your reach. Next time you think about increasing your visibility or reach, don’t settle on just one tactic, like blogging. Think about the value each media brings and learn how to combine them.

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