Owned, Earned, and Paid Media – What is the Difference and Benefit?

In the big wide world of online and inbound marketing, a marketer is constantly confronted with different terms. It is essential to keep track of the jungle of technical jargon and to know the most important terms. For example, the three media types, owned media, earned media, and paid media, also play an important role in marketing. 

If owned, earned, and paid media are combined in a marketing strategy, you have the perfect mix to optimally reach the buyer persona. In this article, we will show you what exactly is meant by the three media types and how they can be used in inbound marketing. Differentiation of owned, earned, and paid media 

Owned Media – your own content

This media type describes all in-house channels and their content. This mainly includes the company website, the blog, and the newsletter. The company is the “sole ruler” of its own channels and can independently determine how it should look on these platforms.

However, in some cases, the term owned media is also used for social media (on a Facebook page or a Twitter account, for example). Here you don’t have complete freedom like on a website, but to a certain extent, you have to adhere to the rules of the site operator (for example, with the topics, the size of the images, and the length of the texts). 

Owned media has the advantage that you can largely decide on the content yourself – i.e., which content is published in which way and on which platform. False reports or negative information about the company have no right to exist with this type of media.

However, if the content is only published directly by marketers or the company, owned media can quickly appear quite implausible. Does the company know its way around as they promise? 

Earned Media – the content earned.

Earned media is when the content has been “earned.” Usually, journalists, bloggers, or private individuals write about their own company and report their experiences. Be it via comments, testimonials in forums, or directly on the website of the provider. 

“Word of Mouth” means word of mouth that posts on the social web can have a good reach and are particularly credible. Because here, “real” people give their experiences and even recommendations.

For many interested parties who research before making a purchase, this is a decisive factor in buying a product or using a service. There are no additional costs for companies because users share their opinion of their own free will. 

On the other hand, a bad experience report can lead to a non-purchase or even completely change opinions. Earned media is difficult to control, and negative messages can spread as quickly as good news.

As the saying goes: what is once on the internet stays on the internet. That is why you should pay certain attention to earned media and always observe what other users report about your own company and react to it.

Paid Media – the paid content

The third type of media in the group is paid media, i.e., paid content. This includes, for example, social media ads, banner ads, or paid Google search ads.

The advantages are obvious: In contrast to earned media, control over the company’s campaigns remains. Marketers can decide individually which content they want to display for how much money, period, and platforms. This content distribution makes paid media a sensible way of attracting new interested parties and convincing known users if necessary. 

However, paid campaigns can arouse suspicion. The credibility is low compared to earned media because users are shown content generated by the company. Does the question arise whether the offers and services are as good as advertised?

Application in inbound marketing

In order to draw the line to inbound marketing, let’s briefly remind ourselves what the exact goal of inbound marketing is: namely, to generate leads and to qualify them.

Leads are won through relevant content, among other things, which is published on the website in the form of content offers (white papers, webinars, or checklists). This is where owned media comes in.

Because the in-house content leads (or in the best case should lead to) that the buyer persona is convinced of the company’s know-how and connects with it, articles worth reading and interesting content offers are all well and good but readers must also be made aware of them. 

Paid media is a good way to play content to the buyer personas and direct them to the company.  

What owned and paid media have as disadvantages, earned media benefits from them. Because with earned media, the content is not produced by the company, but by the users. The credibility is, therefore, high and so you shouldn’t lose sight of this type of media as a purchasing factor:

But how do you win earned media?

1. Turn customers into satisfied customers

Set yourself the goal of not only meeting your customers’ expectations but also exceeding them. No company wants to hear negative reports about itself. So try to approach your customers preventively and to meet them as best as possible. Discount campaigns or fast and reliable customer service can often make a big difference.

2. Ask for a review

Negative opinions spread quickly; positive experiences usually fall by the wayside and are not even communicated. Perhaps your customers don’t even have it on their radar that they can write a positive review in portals or forums? Ask satisfied customers to write down their experiences with the company and publish them in a legible way for everyone. If the customers are happy with you, there’s nothing wrong with a small favor.

3. Use interactions

Do you communicate with your users via social media? Potential reviewers who can draw your attention to your company cavort on the platforms. As the name social networks suggest, social media thrives on human interaction – and you can benefit from it too.

It’s all in the combination!

The question is not whether owned media, earned media, or paid media should be implemented in the marketing strategy, but how the three media types can best be combined with one another. Because the mix of all three is the best way to combine the respective advantages. Stay tuned is worth it!