Catherine on 'Paid, earned and owned media'

C3 Cheat Sheet: Paid, owned and earned media

Every digital marketing strategy rests on three pillars, together enabling a brand to execute a successful digital strategy. These three pillars are paid media, owned media and earned media. Balancing these three distinctive media pillars is the challenge.



Owned media

A branded website, blog, Instagram page, Twitter feed (the list goes on) all make up owned media. Any outlet that a brand controls fits into this pillar. A variety of owned media will increase a brand’s online presence. The content a brand produces is valuable and it is important to promote this content on a variety of social media channels to increase the engagement you receive from your audience which ties back into earned media. Social media and the analytics you can view from the content you produce has allowed brands to gain even more insight into how well their content is received instantly. What works and what does not work can easily be discerned through analytical data from your owned media and amendments in your strategy can be made immediately.

Paid media
The final pillar is paid media which involves paying to promote content, which in turn drives earned media. In the past, paid for media consisted heavily of TV, radio and print advertising.. The rise of online has dramatically altered paid media to encapsulate PPC (Pay Per Click), banner adverts and Facebook advertising to name a few. Investment into paid media can increase web traffic, visibility, engagement and sales.

Paid social is an effective way to target your audience as you can zone in on your target audience with customer data. Paid social strategy, along with the right choice of content and targeted audience, helps to push brand paid content in front of target consumers through their social news feeds.

Earned media
For all brands, word of mouth to spread their message is essential and earned media is how this is carried out online. Any website or social media site is redundant if no one is seeing it or interacting with it. This interaction is carried out via mentions, shares, re-posts and reviews from your target audience. What is important here is that this interaction is organic, leading to strong rankings on search engines and thus driving traffic to your website.
Earned media is content created by somebody other than the brand. Earned media demonstrates how effective strategy within paid and owned media has been. If well executed, content will be shared and reviewed to amplify the brand message. With the rise of online and social media, earned media has become increasingly valuable. It is seen as a trusted information source amongst consumers. Audiences are increasingly likely to turn to social media for real life reviews and images, such as checking a venue location tag on Instagram. This has accelerated with the rising popularity of influencer brand collaborations.

When all three pillars work alongside each other, brands can gain a deep insight into how often your brand is talked about. Capitalising on this knowledge can be used to drive content and future campaigns more effectively towards a powerful marketing strategy.

Louise Rumball