Paid, Owned, Earned Media: Simplify Your Digital Marketing Strategy

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When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, there seem to be a million and one resources out there, all of them appearing to say different things. For someone who is new to the digital marketing world, all these resources can feel overwhelming.

Who do you listen to? What is essential for an effective strategy? What are the best ways to draw people to your product and turn cold leads into sales?

The important thing to note is that, while each source might use different words and different approaches, the media and channels they are talking about can typically fit into one of three categories: owned, earned, and paid media.

Let’s define these terms so you can use them to simplify your digital marketing strategy.

Owned Media

When we talk about owned media, it is simply that: media that you own as an extension of your brand. Your website, your online store, and your social media channels are the most common forms of “owned” media – you own that corner of the internet, and it is unique to you and your brand.

When we talk about a marketing strategy utilizing owned media, we are talking about branding, SEO, content marketing, and organic social media strategy. Building landing pages that convert, communicating clearly your unique value proposition, optimizing your website for search – all of these are fully under your control.

Posting often and with the right content gets your brand in front of more of the right people, and helps you build your online presence organically. Being visible and top-of-mind in every stage of the user journey is what gets you results in the end.

Earned Media

Earned media is somewhat of a precursor to your owned media – it is what gets people onto your owned media: your site, blog, store, or social channels. A great way to think about earned media is the online version of word of mouth.

Earned is all of the exposure that you get by leveraging or renting the audiences of other influential people, who also have access to your target market. Things like guest podcasting, guest blogging, influencer marketing, link prospecting, and PR activities get you earned media audiences.

What this basically boils down to, is shares and people engaging with your content. The practical step to utilize this kind of media in your digital marketing strategy is to create shareable and engaging content that will prompt your specific target demographic to interact.

Not only will likes, comments, and shares help your content reach more people organically – most search engines and social media algorithms favor content that gets more interactions. In return, they will boost the number of people the algorithm will show your content to.

Paid Media

Finally, we have the well-known paid media. You’ve all heard the saying, “you have to spend money to make money,” right? The digital marketing world is no exception to this adage.

While organic growth is possible with some nose to the grindstone work, the easiest and quickest way to gain some online traction is through paid media.

Google ads, Facebook and LinkedIn ads, lead gen ads, app store campaigns – any vehicle you use to get your product or service in front of people by use of money can be classified as paid media. This is always a good investment when the right prep work and research are done.

All performance marketing is driven by return on ad spend and ROI. Target the right audiences with relevant ad content and well-researched keywords, and watch your leads pile up.

Put It All to Work

So we’ve defined all the terms of paid, owned, and earned media – now what do we do with this information? Every successful digital marketing strategy has clear and defined goals and plans for each one of these kinds of media; that’s where the rubber meets the road.

Use these three definitions to start building your own plan, and simplifying your digital marketing framework. For more resources on focusing and streamlining your digital marketing strategy, check out the other resources we have to help business owners like you scale your profits through digital marketing.

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