How owned, earned and paid media work together

The media can be leveraged to create a presence that is consistent and serving your brand’s purpose, and then there’s the choice of what to create and what to pay for. We take a look at how these types of media work with each other.

What is owned, earned and paid media?
Owned media refers to the use of a channel you create and control, like your company’s website, blog, Facebook page or YouTube channel. You don’t strictly own the latter two, but you do control them in terms of what you post, and you don’t have to pay for basic usage. Earned media refers to the trend where customers, the press and other members of the public share your content (i.e. when it goes ‘viral’). Paid media is when you pay to advertise your brand on a third-party site. One type of paid media is native advertising where the ad follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed, i.e. it doesn’t disrupt the user experience. The most common are those that you see on social media, referred to as ‘Sponsored content’ on Facebook for example.

How do I manage these forms of media? Is any one better than the other?
Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell advises that it is important to have channels that you own, but these are not enough. Your website could have excellent information and resources, but perhaps doesn’t enjoy a lot of traffic. You may not have time to regularly update your blog or YouTube channel. Paid media will extend your reach, she says. ‘To be successful you need to amplify and scale your owned media channels.’

What about costs?
There is a cost to every media type – whether it’s time or money. With owned media, these costs may be ‘in-house’, for example employees who create content (videos, infographics and stories) or ‘external’, like the developers who fine-tune your website, or SEO services that drive traffic to your website. There is a cost to earned media, too, as you need to, for example, build your social media profile, engage with customers, engage with influencers and guest bloggers, and do all these things fairly often. So, while you may think paying for advertising is going to cost you, it’s important to think of total costs. And consider the value of your and your employees’ time. Your content strategy should look at all three types of media so you can effectively allocate resources and budget.

How do I leverage these channels for best results?
Campbell advises using a combination of owned, earned and paid media. ‘Use one channel to amplify or extend another. They need to work hand in hand,’ she says. This is when you get converged media, which is significantly more powerful than any one on its own. The one element that links each type of media is the opportunity to tell a compelling story to your audience. Campbell suggests a few examples of how to combine the efforts:

  • Produce content for your website (owned), share it on Facebook (earned), and then extend the reach for wider visibility with a sponsored ad (paid).
  • Employ influencers (paid) to create content for blogs on your website (owned), and share it extensively on social media platforms (earned).
  • Engage your customers in a survey (it could take the form of a ‘life hacks’), compile this content for your website (owned) or present it in e-book format and share it with all those who contributed to it. Most are likely to re-share within their community on social media (earned).

Content agencies can guide you to develop and maintain an effective content marketing strategy that leverages all three types of media – owned, earned and paid. Get in touch with us to discuss your business’ needs.

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