Earned Media: What it is, how to get it and why you need it

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Earned Media:
What it is, how to get it and why you need it

Understanding the differences between owned media, earned media and paid media and which one is the right fit for your business

For any B2B business to grow, it needs to increase exposure, brand awareness and credibility. To do this it is critical to understand the pros, cons and the options available to you today. Breaking up the content you create and distribute into three basic categories of paid, owned and earned media can help ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing and communication strategy.

What are paid, owned and earned media?

Paid media, owned media and earned media are basically the three ways you can distribute your brand messaging. In its simplest form, paid media is something you pay for, owned media is something you own and earned media is something you cannot buy or own – you have to earn it.


To explain it a bit further, think of paid media as marketing tools like advertising, sponsorships, pay-per-click (PPC), influencer marketing and really anything where you pay to have your brand messaging disseminated. Owned media would include items a company might own like its website, brochures, blogs, newsletters and even email campaigns.


Earned media on the other hand requires you to produce something newsworthy, interesting, trending or educational so that the mass media in a specific, targeted industry will run it without you paying for it.

Earned media, owned media, and paid media; which one is better?

While earned media, owned media and paid media are important, earned media is the most difficult to generate, but produces the most impact. The reason is that earned media can’t be bought and this delivers credibility in the eyes of your target audience.

What is the disadvantage of owned media?

One major disadvantage of owned media, much like paid media, is that because it is coming directly from the company instead of an independent voice like the mass media, it is often less trusted than earned media. While, it is critical for every organization to have items, like a website, to inform and educate prospects, research shows they are not enough to convert a sale in most cases.


A major advantage to owned and paid media is that both offer complete control over your marketing message, allowing you to articulate and share just about anything you want. You also control when and where it will be seen.

How do you get earned media?

With earned media, a company will often hire a PR agency to write press releases or full feature articles and disseminate them to the media. PR agencies can leverage their relationships with editors, journalists and influencers to increase the likelihood of the materials being published.

Is earned media really free?

While with earned media there is no money being exchanged between the content contributor and the media, it is not exactly free. To garner earned media you have to spend time and resources to create content that is worthy of being published.

Does earned media work?

Earned media is extremely effective in generating qualified leads and increasing brand awareness, especially if it is part of an ongoing campaign.

Research shows 25% to 40% of all traffic and lead generation comes from earned media.

Rankin PR is a PR agency that creates feature length articles that increase brand awareness, credibility and sales leads.

Cameraman

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