Updated October 27, 2022

In today’s ecommerce landscape, there are numerous media forms you can leverage to grow your site’s traffic and brand awareness. The different media forms can generally be classified into three types:

  1. Earned media
  2. Paid media
  3. Owned media

In this article, we’ll share what each of these media types are and offer insights on how to take advantage of all three for a holistic marketing strategy.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is content covering or promoting your brand that you have not paid for or created yourself.

Sometimes referred to as “word of mouth” marketing or free media, earned media includes content like reviews, mentions, shares, and reposts. This can come from third parties, influencers, or simply happy customers, and is often tied to PR (public relations). From product reviews to retweets, most of us have participated in earned media without realizing it.

What Is Paid Media?

Paid media is content that is paid for to promote your brand.

This includes pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, display ads, paid influencers, paid social media ads, and other sponsored content. PPC ads are one of the most popular forms of paid media and can be applied to a range of sites, from search engines like Google to online retailers like Amazon.

Paid media comes in various forms in the digital arena, from product placement in a sponsored social media post to video ads appearing before other video content on platforms like YouTube.

What Is Owned Media?

Owned media is content you own that is unique to your brand.

This includes any web property that you own and control, like your website, mobile site, mobile app, or blog. It also includes any extensions of your site, like social media channels, newsletters, and email marketing. A huge benefit to owned media is that you can publish this content for free directly, unlike paid media which requires a budget, or earned media which requires a third party.

How Earned, Paid, & Owned Media Work Together

Each of these media types work alongside one another, contributing to a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Ultimately, owned media is the destination that paid and earned media work to point people to, and there are a multitude of ways to get there.

Leveraging Earned Media

In addition to high-quality content garnering backlinks from other quality sites, other types of activity and engagement around your brand also help bring traffic to your site.

An excellent benefit of earned media is that it’s often regarded as more credible, making it great for building trust in your products or services. With consumer trust in brands on the decline, leveraging earned media can help your business acquire new customers and increase your customer lifetime value by establishing an authentic connection with shoppers.

Leveraging Paid Media

Like earned media, paid media also drives engagement around your brand and traffic to your site. The major advantage of paid media is that it can instantly boost exposure and gain traffic overnight, as opposed to owned and earned media, which are more long-term strategies. Another key benefit is that paid content allows you to more specifically target audiences and thereby drive more qualified traffic to your site. Paying directly for promotional content is a great way to see immediate results and get the ball rolling with your target audience, which can in turn propel more earned media.

Leveraging Owned Media

Search engine optimization (SEO) and content strategies can help set your owned media up for success. Leveraging your owned content on your website and properties can strengthen your brand presence and boost your site’s exposure from the source. Ensuring that your website can be properly crawled by search engines and rank well on search results pages is one of the key ways to gain visibility.

Moreover, because your brand oversees the content it creates, owned media is a great way to convey your unique brand voice to your audience and connect with them. The nuances of brand tone and language can be trickier to capture with paid or earned media as they aren’t controlled directly by your brand. However, putting out quality owned content can in turn garner earned media. Helpful or interesting web pages or blog articles can accumulate shares and backlinks from other websites.

Tying It All Together

Earned media, paid media, and owned media are each an important part of the whole pie that is a complete digital marketing strategy. Investing in one of these media types often complements another, and they all work together to widen the reach of your brand’s content, products, or services.

Reach out to our expert team to learn more about how partnering with ROI can help your brand exceed your growth goals through all forms of digital advertising.

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