There are three types of media used in traditional marketing: Owned, paid, and earned media. It gets really interesting when you apply those concepts to your digital marketing strategies. Especially when you start looking at what happens to your bottom line.
Here we outline the differences between owned, paid, and earned media, their goals, challenges, and how each can best be leveraged to your benefit.
Simply put, owned media are all outlets you own and can control in full or partial ways. Fully-owned media are things you have complete authority over, such as your website and blog. You can change a word here and there, or completely reorder its very core structure – it’s up to you. Partially-owned media include social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. These sites are customizable but keep a constant foundation that you can’t fully alter.
Owned media is the bulk of your communication with customers. It’s essential to present a unified front here. Why? Customers want to see a solid, consistent brand across website, blog, mobile site, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and anywhere else your company has a presence. Owned media offers unlimited control and can be a lower cost compared to other media types. Take full advantage of that! Long-term, established customers will appreciate the clear-cut communication and updates, and new customers will be able to get to the heart of your company’s culture and product or service.
Challenges: Without bringing in paid media, it can be tough to get new customers to visit your owned media outlets. Especially when you don’t have an audience to talk to. Owned media channels are also seen as biased, and for good reason! Why would anyone looking for new customers speak ill of themselves? The challenge is to overcome that by proving you’re as good as you say you are.
How to leverage it: One of the quickest ways to become a recognized expert in your field is to find out what your potential customers most want to know about your field and talk about it. If you provide thoughtful, quality content on your blogs and take the time to speak in the media or educational outlets, people will recognize you as a valuable, trustworthy source to go to for the latest information. Education is a non-threatening way to build up a relationship with potential customers that very well may end in a sale. If you’re interested in knowing more about this concept, we’ve got an article on Thought Leadership that might be right up your alley.
Paid media, also known as bought media, is all the stuff you commission: ads, sponsorships, paid search campaigns, etc. Given the name, it makes sense, right? This is one way to get potential customers aware of your company. Ads on social networking sites are making it easier than ever to target the kind of customers you want – make sure you know who they are!
Challenges: Competition is tough in paid media and depending on the medium, it can get pretty pricey. Customers already have their attention divided a thousand ways, and many times that ad can be seen as more of a nuisance than a help.
How to leverage it: Having a solid strategy around your paid media will help to alleviate excess strain on customers. Take the time to research and learn who your target customers are, this will save both time and resources. Then once you’ve gathered an audience from a paid media channel, don’t let them just sit there - deliver the amazing (we say amazing because we believe in you!) content you’ve created on your owned media spaces to keep them interested.
Earned media is arguably the most valuable type of media, but it also happens to be the hardest to win. This is where you let the customers do the talking for you, for better or worse. Earned media has been around forever in the form of word-of-mouth recommendations and cautions. Today there’s also viral campaigns and digital buzz that are created around unique, noteworthy, or controversial companies and campaigns. Customers trust earned media above owned and paid for the simple reason that it’s coming straight from other customers. Don’t believe us? Think about how often do you check a review site before doing business with someone new.
Challenges: Earned media can just as easily be bad as good. If it’s bad, you can only respond to it, put out the fire, and recoup as much as possible. It’s also tough to measure how many of your leads are coming from earned media. Not to mention, if you’re not doing something worth talking about, no one is going to talk about it.
How to leverage it: Whether the earned media is good or bad publicity is up to your customers, but that doesn’t mean you have no control over it. Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, earned media isn’t really “free.” Strong earned media campaigns are often the result of careful planning and upkeep of both owned and paid media. Building up your brand universe to be a consistent, dependable, innovative source of information will help spark your earned media campaign and ensure its positivity.
How it all comes Together
At Rise we specialize in helping you build your digital universe through all three types of media. Our goal is to extend your brand’s knowledge to your owned media spaces and then promote the heck out of it. Sometimes that means paid media and sometimes it’s just about hustle. The point is: if you made or did something amazing and no one knows about it, then it’s probably not going to help your business. Right? Right!
Then through those efforts and a little dash of Rise Secret Sauce, we encourage the generation of positive earned media. And once that starts rolling in, we take good care of your audience to make sure the earned media channel stays happy and active.
Let us turn our years of experience and proven results into solid outcomes for your company.