Earned Media & Paid Media in 2021: Definition, Difference & How To Use Them

If you work in a marketing agency or as an in-house marketer for a larger corporation, you’re probably familiar with the terms “earned media” and “paid media.”

Small business owners, on the other hand, wear several hats. Marketing is only one of the obligations you have. As a result, words like earned and paid media might be unfamiliar to you. Regardless of the size of your business, these principles can be critical in developing a marketing plan with maximum scope.

Let’s take a look and see what’s all this about. We’ll also look at using earned and paid media as part of a small business’s marketing strategy.

Earned Media vs. Paid Media

What Is Earned Media?

Customers, the press, and the general public share your material, talk about your brand by word of mouth and otherwise discuss your brand in earned media. To put it another way, the mentions are “earned,” which means they are granted willingly by others.

  • Earned media is simply defined as when customers become the channel for your brand.
  • Typical examples of earned media would be word-of-mouth from existing customers, user-generated content, buzz about your brand among existing and potential customers or any form of “viral” media with which your brand is affiliated.
  • Your role in earned media is to listen and respond.
  • Earned media often results from well-coordinated and well-executed owned and paid media.
  • Earned media finds benefit as the most credible, transparent form of media that remains alive. Hence, it plays a key role in most sales
  • One of the main challenges of earned media is that you can’t control it. Other ones include difficulties in scaling and measurement and the chance of earning negative media.

What Is Paid Media?

When you pay to use a third-party outlet, such as sponsorships or ads on third-party platforms, you’re using paid media.

  • Simply defined, paid media is when a brand pays to leverage a channel.
  • Prime examples of paid media include running advertisements, paid search and sponsorships.
  • The role of paid media has shifted from a foundation to a catalyst that feeds owned and creates earned media.
  • Paid media is scalable, completely under your control, in demand and has a tinge of immediacy attached to it.
  • However, response rates to paid media soon start declining. It also has poor credibility and results in clutter.

Using Earned Media & Paid Media to Your Advantage

Earned media and paid media are often discussed in the context of businesses. Case studies and recommendations mostly concentrate on Fortune 1000 firms with enormous marketing budgets.

However, small companies will benefit as well.

Content is at the heart of earned and paid media. Small companies, fortunately, are becoming more adept at producing and curating content.

Here is how you can use earned and paid media to your best advantage.

Avoid Myths Concerning Earned Media & Paid Media

The trick to grasping the idea of “earned media” and “paid media” is to avoid believing these two myths:

Myth 1 | Owned Media Is All You Ever Need

It’s undeniably important to have your own platforms and content. However, they are insufficient by themselves.

Reach and size are two things that many small companies overlook when it comes to their own outlets. You have a great website with great case studies and tools, but it could use more visitors. Your brand’s Instagram account does not yet have a large number of followers or shares of your content. Your company has a blog, but you don’t have time to update it regularly. And even if you do, with so much content available online today, getting people to read your blog can be difficult.

Here’s where earned media and paid media come in. They broaden your horizons. You must amplify and scale your owned media outlets to be effective.

Myth 2 | Paid Media Is the Most Expensive Form of Media

Time is money, right? Recognize that each channel has a cost — time, money or both.

Take, for example, owned media. You also have to invest time, money or both in improving your website, writing blog posts for your blog, commissioning costly infographics to get people talking, editing videos to share on YouTube — or paying for SEO services to get more traffic to your website.

When it comes to earned media, the situation is the same. At any size, developing and leveraging earned media takes time and effort. You must invest time and effort into building your social media platforms if you want your content to spread across social media and for social conversations to emerge around your products. You’ll need to build social media accounts, interact with customers and curate content. You must also do it regularly, week after week, without giving up. It won’t help much if you only check your Twitter account once every five months.

If you want to have your latest infographic shared by influencers, you may need to reach out to bloggers or social media personalities via email. To get more people to pay attention to you and your brand, you will need to guest blog on third-party sites. Again, you must do it regularly over time. One guest blog post may be beneficial, but it’s not quite enough to make a significant difference.

Consider all of the costs before assuming that advertising is more costly than the other two media types. Consider the importance of your time, as well as your staff’s.

Most small business owners undervalue the expense of in-house marketing, in which they spend valuable resources.

Combine Two or More Media Types for Best Results

Today’s best practice is to use a mix of owned, earned and paid media. Use one form of media to amplify or expand another. They need to be well-coordinated.

The best way for a brand to achieve success is for the professionals that manage paid, earned, owned and social media channels to work together to develop an integrated and effective content strategy.

The ability to tell a compelling story to your audience, according to industry veterans, is the key connection between these various types of media. When you combine these different approaches, you get converged media, which can be far more efficient than either of these methods on their own.

The trick to ensuring that your message doesn’t get lost in the noise is to amplify content through organic social networking, conventional public relations outreach, and online advertising opportunities. PR is usually in charge of social media networking and media outreach, but marketing can help provide paid opportunities and email marketing.

When it comes to small companies, there is one difference in that definition. Smaller businesses have often relied heavily on owned and earned media. They have historically had less of a single-minded emphasis on paid ads than their larger counterparts.

This is a positive sign.

It implies that convergence occurs spontaneously. You never became too dependent on ads as small business owners. You’ve gotten into the habit of doing more with owned and earned media.

How Do You Combine Earned Media, Paid Media & Owned Media?

In a small business sense, below are four examples of how to combine owned, earned and paid media to create a more effective marketing strategy:

  1. Create content for your blog. Generate earned revenue by sharing it on Facebook. However, organically reaching a large portion of the fan base is difficult. Make it a sponsored post for $40 or $60 to increase its exposure.
  2. For an ebook on your website, crowdsource some tips and tricks from your customers or loyal community members. Then post it to your company’s Slideshare channel. Also, send an email to each community member who sent a tip to give them a copy of the ebook. Most people will share the ebook with their social networks because they are proud of what they have accomplished, and you will get more earned mentions.
  3. Hire some influencers to create shareable and interesting content for your company blog. Then, to create earned mentions, heavily promote it on social media.
  4. Create exclusive Facebook-only discounts by paying. People must “Like” your page to benefit from them. According to studies, discounts are a major motivator for people to adopt and engage with brands on social media. You have their attention when they “Like” your page. That also means you’ve developed the beginnings of a partnership with them, potentially leading to earned media.

When you combine owned, earned and paid media, you will reach a wider audience. You get a broader scope than if you only used one channel.

As a result, don’t think of a particular marketing strategy, such as blogging or becoming active on Twitter, in isolation. Consider if you can blend strategies instead to form a combined content marketing strategy.

Formulating an efficient combined media marketing strategy can be difficult when you’re just getting started. For this reason, we at prMEDIA REACH offer brilliant plans combining earned media, owned media and paid media that’s tailor-made for your brand.

Visit us at https://prmedia.prreach.com/index to learn more about what we offer and how it can benefit you and your brand.

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