Earned Media: What It is, Why You Need it and How to Get Value Out of It

Earned Media value

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 earned, paid and owned media can help ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing and communication strategy. Here are a few tips to help you understand the differences between owned, earned and paid media value and which one is the right fit for your business.

Understanding the three types of media

Paid, earned and owned media are basically the three ways you can distribute your brand messaging. In its simplest form, paid media is something that can be bought. Owned media is something that belongs to (owned by) the company. On the other hand, earned media is something you cannot buy or own – you have to “actually earn” the placement.

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

Media that is earned on the other hand requires you to produce something newsworthy, interesting, trending or educational. This enables the mass media in a specific, targeted industry to run it without you paying for it.

Owned, earned and paid media value:
Which one works best?

While earned, owned and paid media are important, media that is earned is the most difficult to generate and delivers the biggest impact. The reason is simple. Due to the fact that it can’t be bought, it is more credible.

Why owned media is less trusted

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, it is less trusted. It is critical that every organization have items like a website to inform and educate prospects. However, research shows they work better when supported by unbiased, outside content.

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

How do you generate earned media value?

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

Is it free?

While 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 it 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 media that is earned.

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