Digital Strategy: Earned, Owned & Paid Media
When developing a digital marketing strategy, you may have come across the buzzwords ‘earned media’, ‘owned media’ and ‘paid media’. Whilst the three have their own distinct definitions, it is important for a digital strategy to incorporate each to form a singular, cohesive marketing mix.
Owned media refers to any web property controlled entirely by you – such as websites, blogs, social media channels, etc. – and that is unique to your brand. Owned media can be thought of in terms of extension: your social media channels and blogs are extensions of your website, and all three are extensions of your entire brand.
Each piece of owned media you control provides different opportunities to communicate online and extend brand presence to different audiences and communities.
Earned media refers to the online social commentary surrounding your brand, usually taking the form of mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, or content picked up by 3rd party sites.
If the goal of a digital strategy is to drive traffic towards a brand’s owned media, then earned media is the vehicle that helps people get there. No matter how much effort has gone into owned media, it’s pointless if nobody is seeing or interacting with it.
The biggest drivers of successful earned media are organic search engine rankings and original brand content.
Rankings – When your owned media sites are ranking on the first page of search engine results, your brand is in a great position to receive higher engagement and shares, which is why a solid SEO strategy is important.
Content – This includes blogs, infographics, videos, press releases, webinars, ebooks, and more. When it comes to content, it needs to be engaging and informative and needs to be worthy of sharing and positive social commentary – this is why it is also important to develop a content strategy.
Earned media can be difficult to amass organically, so it is a good idea to utilise paid media in their digital strategy. Not only does paid media drive earned media, but it can also directly navigate traffic towards owned media properties.
Paid media generally takes two forms: promoted content and influencer campaigns.
Promoted content – Social media platforms offer advertising which allows brands to extend the reach of their content. This can be a great way to get the ball rolling, but it is important that you brush up on the platform(s) you decide to advertise on, and develop a digital strategy specific to each platform.
Influencer campaigns – With established followings, influencers are trusted voices, and are a great way for brands to connect with audiences. If you’re interested in building your online presence with an influencer marketing campaign, get in touch.
Using All Three in Your Digital Strategy
The illustration below outlines how the three types of media work together in a digital strategy:
Credit: Titan Growth
- Owned media, earned media, and paid media are all important elements of a digital strategy. Whilst all should be considered, it is dependent on the brand and its goals to decide where to allocate resources amongst the three.
- Owned media sites are an extension of your brand and, as long as you can keep up with the maintenance, the more owned media channels, the more opportunities people will have to interact with your brand.
- Earned media is the equivalent of online word of mouth and is the vehicle that drives traffic, engagement and sentiment around a brand. While there are different ways a brand can garner earned media, good SEO and content strategies are the most controlled and effective.
- Paid media takes the shape of promoted content and influencer campaigns, and is a great way to generate more earned media and can also be used to drive traffic directly to your owned media properties.
Need help with your digital strategy? Get in touch!