Owned, Earned, and Paid: How to Use Media to Grow Your Business

A computer screen displaying growing business results.

In a world where social media has all but replaced traditional media sources, maintaining an engaging online presence is more important than ever. It’s one of the most straightforward ways to connect with an audience in your target area.

With a little strategy, it’s easy to create a compelling media presence that directs leads towards your site, and by extension, your business. But with so many different options for creating content online, what’s the most efficient way to create content that converts? Well, it all comes down to three basic things.

When it comes to quality content that converts leads, you want a variety of owned, earned, and paid media types.

OK, But What Does That Mean?

Basically, when you advertise online you’re probably creating content. Content is the cornerstone of your online presence. Good content—that is, content that’s engaging, entertaining, and informative—is the best way to advertise your services and demonstrate your qualifications to potential clients.

When it comes to promoting your content (and reaching potential leads with it) you have three options: owned, earned, and paid.

Owned Media

These are all of the channels that you own and run. Think: your website, Facebook account, Youtube channel, or blog. You manage and “own” this content, and you don’t have to pay for basic usage.

While it’s important to have your own channels of media and content, it’s not enough to grow your business successfully. To drive traffic to your site, and more leads to your inbox, you have to make sure you’re reaching the right kinds of audiences. And to do that, you’ll need to make sure the content you produce gets promoted by other businesses, websites, and accounts. That’s where earned media comes in.

Earned Media

A group of young professionals laughing at the content displayed on a tablet.

Let’s say you wrote a great blog about how to buy a home in your city. The blog is classic evergreen content: it’s chock-full of valuable information that’s highly relevant to your audiences.

It’s such a well-written blog, in fact, that a local news account shares it onto their Facebook page. As more people read your blog, more people share it on their own social media feeds. This is earned media. It’s when your content speaks for itself, and earns mentions, shares, and word of mouth exposure.

Earned media is different from paid ads and sponsors because it happens organically—without you even trying.

Paid Media

When you pay a third-party channel to promote your content, you’re paying for media exposure. This also applies to Google and Facebook ads, as well as radio spots and event sponsorships.

As with the other two kinds of media, paid media has its own specific advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you can easily control the scale of your paid ads, as well as create hyper-specific guidelines for who is going to see it.

On the other hand, however, paid media tends to have declining response rates and less credibility than owned and earned media.

The Trick? Using a Combination of Owned, Earned, and Paid

A man sitting on the ground with his smart phone and his laptop in front of him, smiling at what he's seeing.

It’s not enough to simply rely on one kind of media. Every type of media is going to have its own specific costs, advantages, and disadvantages.

While paid media may seem too expensive in the short-term, it can have valuable long-term effects. You may not want to spend hours creating high-quality content for your owned media channels, but it demonstrates to your clientele that you are knowledgeable in your field—and an asset in your industry.

Don’t Want to Come Up with a Media Strategy?

We can help you with that. Our account coordinators and media specialists have an in-depth knowledge when it comes to creating comprehensive and results-generating content campaigns using the specific kinds of media we wrote about in this blog. Want to learn more? Reach out to us today.

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