HOMEBlogEarned, Owned, and Paid Media: Which Is Best for Your Brand

Earned, Owned, and Paid Media: Which Is Best for Your Brand


Promoting your business or brand on any level is a fantastic thing. Typically, traditional marketing methodology is focused on increasing brand awareness and recognition.

Seeing or hearing your business or brand over and over again will keep you top of mind when your service or product is needed, but the question is which media strategy will give you the best ROI. In this blog post, Dreamweaver Brand Communications explains the difference and value of earned, owned, and paid media and the different impacts it can have on your brand or business.

Earned Media is any publicity that your brand or business has not paid for and created by a third party. It is brand presence without paid advertisements. Earned media is the most influential, trusted and elusive source of B2B and B2C company information.

Earned Media Offline Examples:

  • Word-of-Mouth, conversations about your brand, products, services, including referalls and advice.
  • Fellow consumers are demonstrating or showcasing products to one another. An example of this could be a mother showing an expecting mother the benefits of a stroller.

Earned Media Online Examples:

  • Instagram likes and shares
  • Facebook likes and shares
  • Writing an online review of your product on Amazon
  • Taking photos and writing a review of your restaurant on Yelp.com
  • A third-party product review through public relations outreach. (a negative review can be devastating to a brand or business, so it is essential that your product be market ready for this type of PR outreach and potential review.

Earned media is the most valuable and powerful of the three types, and it is also the most elusive. Essentially, either online or offline, it is a 3rd party endorsement of your brand, services, products or message. A review from a mommy blogger or an endorsement from an influencer can fall under this umbrella if the review is earned (not purchased).

Earned media adds credibility to your brand both offline and online. Search engines like Google take your credibility into account when determining your search ranking if the story or review backlinks to your website from a trusted site. In other words, public relations benefits SEO. Also, more and more consumers are taking to Yelp, Facebook, and Google to read reviews before making a purchasing decision so positive earned media is powerful.

Owned media is the brand or business controlling the message. While still important, earned media activity is generated by the brand or business by an integrated marketing and PR agency or through in-house marketing teams.

Owned Media Offline Examples

  • Press release released by a company
  • In-store visual merchandising
  • Speaking Engagments
  • Brochures
  • In store Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays

Owned Media Online Examples:

  • Company or brand website
  • Company or brand blog
  • Content Marketing through a marketing agency or in-house marketing teams
  • Orgnic SEO

There are many benefits of earned media. However, the main advantage of earned media is that the company or brand controls the message, content, and the content delivery platforms.  Integrating an earned media strategy into your marketing mix is valuable to a business because when executed properly it engages customers and builds relationships. Earned media takes time to scale, however, when compared with paid advertising, operating and curating a company’s Facebook page or an Instagram page for a B2B company, is much more cost effective.  Earned media allows businesses to reach and engage with niche audiences while keeping marketing spend at a minimum.

The only downside of owned media is the fact that you own it. Since it is your Instagram feed, Twitter feed, Facebook page, or company blog, consumers do not expect you to be objective. Expert content marketers and PR experts utilize social media and content marketing strategies to build trust with your audience and convert owned media to earned media; thus achieving your brand or company the well-deserved credibility you deserve.

Paid Media: is exactly as it sounds, media that you pay for. It is online and offline paid media activity that related to a brand or business generated by a marketing agency on behalf of a client or purchased internally through an in-house marketing department.

Paid Media Offline Examples:

  • Traditional Advertising
  • Television Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Print Ads
  • Billboards
  • Influencer & Celebrity Event Apperances
  • Direct Mail
  • Advertorials

Paid Media Online Examples:

  • Display Advertising
  • Banner Advertising
  • Search Advertising (Google AdWords)
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Email Marketing

 Media Mix Up:

Ultimately, optimizing this triology of media performs best when combined. When combined, owned, earned, and paid media expands your reach and impressions. Do not settle on one marketing tactic like blogging to increase your visibility, reach and impressions.  Evaluate the value of each different media and learn how to combine them. At Dreamweaver Brand Communications we can help you find the right mix of owned, earned, and paid media to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness.

Contact Dreamweaver if  have questions about which type of media blend is right for your company!


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