If you’re just getting started in the PR world, you have probably heard the terms paid, owned, and earned media, and you might be wondering what the heck they mean. Here’s a quick guide to what each type of media means and how you can maximize it for your PR efforts.
- Paid media. Paid media is just that – media exposure that you pay for. You can leverage paid media in the form of banner ads, sponsored blog posts, event sponsorships, paid search, social media ads, automatic press release distribution,… the list goes on.
- Owned media. Owned media includes all the media properties that you own and control. This includes your website, social media profiles, your blog, as well as any content you create. White papers, slide decks, infographics, and (online)press releases also count as owned media.
- Earned media. Earned media happens when your customers talk about you, whether in the form of retweets, social shares, press mentions, blog posts, or old-fashioned word of mouth. It’s the hardest kind of attention to get, and arguably the most valuable, because you can’t buy it and you can’t create it for yourself.
How to maximize it ?
- Paid media. Paid media is often very expensive, and if you aren’t careful, you can wind up spending a lot of money for minimal (or even negative!) return on investment. To make the most of your paid media buys, be very targeted with your spend – choose your audiences and publications carefully, put tracking mechanisms in place so you understand your cost per new lead, and most importantly, make sure you have a solid strategy in place to follow up with any leads you collect.
- Owned media. There are two big advantages to owned media. First, you have complete control over the content. Second, it’s usually more cost-effective that other forms of media. Use your owned media presence to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Create helpful, high-quality content on a regular basis (a blog is one of the best and easiest ways to get started), and use both owned and paid media channels to distribute this content to your target audiences. If your content is truly valuable, it will also help you gain earned media.
- Earned media: Leveraging earned media is actually pretty simple – do a great job with your owned and paid media properties, and the earned media will take care of itself. I said simple, not easy ! It takes time and resources to build a brand worth talking about, and you can’t rush it or force it. Start by investing in delighting your customers (underpromise, overdeliver). Build a reputation for solving problems and creating valuable resources, and over time, happy customers will evangelize your brand to their friends and colleagues, and ultimately impact your bottom line.
How do you leverage paid, owned, and earned media to help your business? How does that affect your PR strategy ?