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Paid, Owned, And Earned Media – Why Each One Is Reliable and Awesome

Your target audience is looking for your business online.

If your brand does not have an online presence, you’re missing out on some serious opportunities.

Paid, owned, and earned media needs to be a huge part of your digital marketing strategy if you want to get noticed.

Traditional media outlets like print ads and direct mail are still relevant today, but digital media channels like paid, owned, and earned are powerful channels through which you can reach your target audience.

Organic search (SEO) has a much higher close rate (14.6%) when compared to traditional forms of marketing like direct mail or print advertising (1.7%).

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But is SEO the only way to go?

Certainly not!

There are other types of media channels that hold tremendous potential when it comes to marketing your business.

In this post, I will introduce you to the most popular types of digital media marketing: owned, earned, and paid media.

Paid, Owned, And Earned Media – What Are They And How Can They Help Your Business Grow?

Owned, earned, and paid media are the three types of digital media that businesses use to accelerate growth.

If you are planning to grow your business, there are certain aspects you need to focus on:

  • Creating awareness of your brand among your target audience,
  • Building your brand reputation and authority in your niche,
  • Driving traffic to your site, and
  • Converting that traffic into valuable leads and customers

Paid, owned, and earned media have unique roles, but when you include them in a comprehensive marketing strategy, they begin to work in harmony.

From the Venn diagram above, you can see that although all types of digital media (owned, earned, and paid) have their strategies, you can combine them to create a comprehensive marketing strategy.

To understand how you can leverage paid, owned, and earned media for businesses, let’s first learn more about each of them.

Paid Media

Paid media involves paid promotion on websites other than your company’s. These could be social media sites, other websites, or blogs. 

Paid media marketing allows you to reach audiences you never could reach through other media.

Although paid media requires investment, the returns can be very profitable. 

According to Statista, the search ad spending is expected to reach US$171,641m in 2021.

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And search ads are just one type of paid media. Depending on your business goal, you can pick and choose which types of paid media you want to invest in.

Purpose of Paid Media

The main objective of using paid media is to bring awareness to your brand, product, or service. 

Paid media allows you to reach a wider audience faster than if you were using owned or earned media. This is helpful when you start your company and need people to know what your brand is about.

Types of Paid Media

1. Paid Search Ads (Search Engine Marketing/ SEM)

Search ads appear at the top of the SERPs. Search engine marketing is a popular marketing method for companies who want to get placed at the top of their competition in search engines for their target keywords.

There are two kinds of search ads, pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

Here are some examples of paid search ads:

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2. Paid Social Media Ads

The advantage of social media ads is that the ads blend in with other posts and do not affect the user experience. It’s no wonder why companies invest so much in paid social media ads.

You can choose to run in-feed ads, promoted posts, or search result ads and are usually charged as PPC.

Here’s an example of a sponsored post on Instagram by WPengine:

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3. Display Ads

Display ads have been around for a long time now. Examples of these ads are banner ads, pop-up ads, or even video ads on websites.

The cost of display ads depends on which websites you want to place your ads on and where you want to put them. They are a great way to remarket or retarget (appear on sites on your visitors’ browsers if they visited your site in the recent past).

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The Pros And Cons of Paid Media

Pros:
  1. You get to see immediate results from your paid marketing efforts.
  2. You can track the performance of your paid media marketing and do what works best.
  3. You have complete control over the message you put out to your audience.
  4. You can use paid media to target customers who may be interested in your business.
Cons:
  1. You will need to invest quite a bit at the beginning to see significant results.
  2. As the competition in your niche increases, paid media marketing will become more expensive.

Paid Media and Business Growth

Expanding your visibility and reach means that you have the potential to drive more traffic to your website or business. 

With this increased traffic, you also can grow your business by converting prospects to buying customers.

Paid media is associated with high conversion rates when compared to earned and owned. Although paid media can lead to a high conversion rate, it only runs for a certain period, depending on your media budget.

Once paid media advertisements have ended, you have to rely on other media such as owned and earned media to engage your audience long-term. 

Unlike paid advertising, other types of media will always be available for your target audience.

Owned Media

Owned media is the media you own and control. It includes owned channels such as your organization’s website, social accounts, blog posts, and email.

Although you do not own your social media profiles, you do own the content you post on these channels.

Your marketing plan should ultimately drive traffic from paid and earned media to your owned media.

Purpose of Owned Media

Owned media keeps people interested in your brand and alerts them to new services or products. 

Owned media is also a means by which you can educate your audience about your brand. It is a great way to control the messaging associated with your company.

Create content and publish it through your owned media to engage your followers and reach other potential clients. 

Every day millions of people search the internet to gather information on products, services, or to find how-to guides.

The more targeted your content strategy, the more traffic you can generate for your business. With this increased traffic, you will have the potential to convert your audience to buyers.

Types of Owned Media

1. Website/ Blog

Your website is one of your most valuable assets in the online world. It is the means through which your audience learns about you and what you do.

A website helps you establish your authority and build strong relationships.

These days almost every business is investing in content marketing through their blog. A blog helps you educate your audience on your niche and provide valuable content for them.

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2. Email Marketing Campaigns

Your email campaigns are another type of media channel that allows you to connect with your audience and build your relationship with them.

Email marketing helps you establish trust, provide valuable content, build relationships, and increase your conversions.

You own your email list. You have complete control over who you send emails to, what content you send them, and when.

3. Social Media Posts

As a marketer, you should be completely aware of the benefits of social media marketing. Social media marketing is one of the media marketing channels that you should pay attention to if you want to grow your audience.

Through social networks, marketers can reach a huge targeted audience.

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The Pros And Cons of Owned Media

Pros:
  1. You have complete control over these media types.
  2. Owned media costs less than other types of digital media.
Cons:
  1. Your content is shown to a limited audience.
  2. You need to manage and maintain your own media channels.

Sell Without Selling

Owned media provides a medium by which you can help people with useful content.

You get to persuade them to purchase your product or services without sounding salesy. 

People do not want to feel pressured into deciding to purchase a product or service. 

Your target audience is looking forward to getting value from you before you sell to them. The content marketing process you implement for your company will help boost your earned media strategy.

Schedule Information Flow

Many advertisements bombard people on television, social media, and websites. 

People tend to become overwhelmed with all the sales tactics and advertisements and only trust sources geared towards providing helpful content.

Aim to keep a consistent flow of content to your audience through owned media channels such as your social media channels. 

If someone is interested in the content you share, they will always want to follow you to get more of it.

Consistency is vital with owned media, as it will keep your audience engaged. If you do not provide consistent content, you risk losing your audience.

Owned Media and Business Growth

Owned media allows you to increase traffic. It also allows you to retain customers to increase your sales. 

Having a sound content marketing strategy will enable you to control your image and be seen as an expert in your field. 

Being an expert and providing useful content is ideal for customer retention.

Do you know what is better than you showing that you are an expert in your niche? 

Having other people endorse you!

Earned media is the next tool in your digital marketing arsenal.

Earned Media

Earned media includes reviews and word of mouth. 

Search engine optimization has a significant role in earned media. SEO allows your business information to populate in internet searches when someone searches for a specific keyword.

If you cannot be found on search engines, there is a lower chance of getting the attention and reviews you need to bring awareness and build trust.

Purpose of Earned Media 

The word of mouth scenario is essential to build trust and to drive your business growth. 

Watching an advertisement brings awareness to a product or service; however, hearing a friend or a trusted person review a product or service will make a potential customer more in tune with you.

Types of Earned Media

1. SEO

SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies out there. Almost 50% of marketers agree that organic search is the digital marketing channel with the highest ROI.

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Creating a content marketing strategy with the right target keywords can help increase traffic to your site through high search rankings or even a featured snippet.

SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy that you need to invest a lot of time and effort in. The returns on SEO are significant and can do wonders to grow your business. 

A single blog post can continue to bring in valuable traffic and leads for years.

2. Online Reviews

Reviews on sites such as G2 or Capterra can build your credibility. User-generated content has a way of building your reputation through word-of-mouth.

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3. Social Media Shares and Engagement

A social media site can get you great engagement. Some examples of social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social media is suitable for sharing user-generated content such as reviews. You can also share owned content like a blog post or a press release.

Social mentions, shares, and likes can give that much-needed boost to your visibility.

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4. Guest Blogging

Guest posting is another type of earned media. When a third-party website (with preferably a higher authority than yours) accepts a guest post from you, you earn a backlink from them.

Backlinks are links back to your website from other websites. These can boost your SEO and push you further up the search results.

The Pros And Cons of Earned Media

Pros:
  1. Earned media boosts your credibility.
  2. It makes people more aware of you.
  3. Earned media helps you reach the right people.
Cons:
  1. There is a possibility of negative publicity through bad reviews.
  2. Earned media takes a lot of effort to grow.

Be the Talk of the Town

People tend to listen to those they can trust and may be more likely to purchase based on trusted information, guidance, or reviews. 

All reviews are not equal. If someone is paid for a review, your audience may be skeptical.

If a regular user freely gives a review, it may seem more credible since people trust third-party information.

Earned Media and Business Growth

Earned media allows for your business to be more visible to potential customers. Having the voice of another customer endorse your brand is robust and encourages conversions. 

Your company has the potential to grow with the increase in traffic due to other people advertising your products.

Your business may also experience increased traffic from being visible on internet searches. Although the internet search is vital, positive reviews and word of mouth from existing or former customers can seal the deal for leads who may be doubtful.

What is The PESO Model For PR?

Paid, owned, earned media are not the only types of media. 

Gini Dietrich, the founder of Spin Sucks, founded the PESO model. According to her, the model takes four media types – paid, earned, shared, and owned, and merges them to establish your authority.

Shared media is your social media accounts where you get mentions, shares, and likes.

Establishing your authority helps others, including your competitors, see you as an expert in your niche.

Paid, owned, earned media, along with shared media, can be used to grow your business and boost revenue.

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Final Thoughts

Although paid media allows for high conversion rates and awareness, earned and owned media builds trust and allows for customer retention. 

Owned media, paid media, and earned media can grow your business through increased traffic, conversions, and retention when used together.

Your marketing strategy should include the marketing mix of owned, earned, and paid media. Every media channel contributes to enriching your customer journey, so find that sweet spot between the three.

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Tracy Jackson

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