Prioritizing Owned Media, Paid Media and Earned Media

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Are you utilizing a branding and content marketing strategy? Because no two strategies will work equally well for any two businesses, it is important to first understand the difference between the most common three types of media channels. Also, because good branding and content marketing strategies rely heavily on using media channels of varying types, it is a good idea to next ask yourself where your should focus be. Here is how our Austin area SEO firm, and most digital marketing experts, define these channels and how to best use them.

Owned Media

Owned media is the term we use to describe your own media properties – as in, the media that you or your brand personally own. Examples of owned media include your primary website, any microsites you have to highlight specific promotions, your internal blog, any external blogs you maintain, and all your social media pages. You own them, you maintain them and you control the content that goes on them at all times. The roles of your owned media channels are to establish your web presence, reach out to existing customers, acquire new customers and give prospects somewhere to go when they respond to your paid or earned media.

Paid Media

So, what is paid media? It refers to some of the paid methods companies use to get brand recognition and drive traffic: display ads, banner ads, paid search, and many traditional advertising opportunities (print, TV, radio, and out-of-home, or OOH). When you’re in need of traffic to “feed” your owned media, paid media can be the catalyst that provides immediate results. It is certainly not without its challenges, though: Many brands find their paid media efforts are suffering from declined response. On the other hand, a well-executed paid media campaign could put a brand on the faster track to earned media. And why would you want that?

Earned Media

Because earned media is free! It is the result of good brand recognition. When defined as the exposure you gain on channels you do not own and did not pay for, earned media is essentially the equivalent of free advertising. For instance: a mention in a trade magazine? That’s earned media. An unsolicitedbacklink from an industry blog? Also earned media. The granddaddy of all earned media may be a feature in a television segment, particularly if the show reaches a large audience. Those morning show segments that suggest specific products to viewers – those are great examples of earned media that any brand should covet.

When Media Channels Collide

There are times when these three marketing channels will overlap. One example of this is the Facebook check-in, where owned media and earned media are both utilized. The consumer checks in to your business, which is earned because it is free publicity you did not solicit. However, your Facebook profile is being linked to on the check-in; that taps into your owned media as well.

When you consider that owned, paid and earned media can easily converge in a number of scenarios, it makes it hard to determine which of the three is “most important.” To decide how you should allocate your budget to these marketing channels, first consult with an experienced SEO provider, such as the Austin area SEO professionals at Crest Media. We can analyze your previous and current strategies, to determine which channels are the best investment for your brand.


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