Defining Paid, Shared, Earned, and Owned Media

You may have heard the saying, “all press is good press.” But not all media is created equal. What makes the difference between a national headline story, and second-rate media coverage? Read below to learn more about the different types of media, their advantages and disadvantages, and how you can best utilize them in your public relations efforts.

Earned media

Earned Media is free coverage from an independent media organization. Typically, a company receives earned media coverage for something significant they do in their community — such as a charity event, community project, or major company announcement. Of course, poor publicity, like the announcement of an environmental accident or public scandal can also earn you media attention – just not the kind you want to aim for.

The pros and cons of earned media: Because earned media comes from an independent party, consumers are more likely to believe it. If a reporter or journalist writes a positive story about you or your business, consumers feel that they can trust it. However, if someone writes poorly about you, consumers are much more likely to believe the bad press over your brand messaging.

Owned media

Owned Media is the content you produce and share with your audience. This includes your website or blog, and any white papers, books, brochures, social media accounts and other marketing materials under your name. Owned media is part of your marketing mix. You use these materials to build a brand image, and educate your target audience about your products or services. Owned media can also serve as a tool for reputation repair after a crisis event.

The pros and cons of owned media: You control all owned media, so it shares the most positive aspects of your brand image. You show consumers what’s most important to your brand – your mission, vision, values and the work you do. Unfortunately, many consumers assume that your owned media is nothing more than subtle advertising, and so it has less weight than earned media.

Paid media

Paid Media is just as it sounds – the media you pay for to share information about your company with your target audiences. Paid media includes contributor marketing, sponsored social media posts, and pay-per-click ads. Paid media is easy to obtain and consumers typically see a lot of it. Paid media is a little different than pure advertising because the messaging in paid media is typically is focused on developing a brand rather than selling products.

The pros and cons of paid media: Earned and owned media can only get you so far. If you’re in a highly competitive business, you’ll need to add some paid media into your communications efforts. While paid media can be very targeted, you might have to spend some significant dollars if you are going up against large, established companies.

Shared media

Shared Media is the coverage you get through word-of-mouth. Even if a journalist didn’t cover your news story, people may be sharing positive messages about your brand online and in their peer groups. You can inspire consumers to share your owned or paid media through social media engagement and grassroots marketing efforts.

The pros and cons of shared media: Shared media comes from the consumers, and is therefore most believable to other consumers. Peer groups and online communities are more likely to trust recommendations and reviews from those they know. Shared media is difficult to achieve because it’s in the hands of your customers to do it and all you can do is encourage them.

A mix of paid, shared, earned and owned media can develop long-lasting benefits for your brand. You should look into each of these strategies with your PR consultant to decide when to tackle each, and how to best implement these strategies for maximum results. To learn more about public relations campaign development strategy, contact Tucker/Hall today.