Owned, earned and paid media

Owned, earned, paid media

In today’s globalised and digitalised world, an integrated approach to marketing is increasingly important for businesses large and small. This means engaging owned, earned and paid media streams to get the very best results. 

So, what exactly do each of these encompass and what are their benefits and challenges?

Owned media

This is any media channel that your business owns and that is managed and controlled by the business. This includes your company website, blog, email newsletter, YouTube channel, and organic social media posts. Your app too, if your business has one.

Earned media

Earned media is when others spread news, feedback or awareness about your company. The most notable example of earned media is media coverage which includes news stories, bylined articles, interviews and features in newspapers and magazines (print and digital), as well as news coverage on radio or TV, which you don’t pay for. Essentially, this is free coverage – you haven’t paid for it, you’ve earned it. Other channels include word of mouth, reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google or Amazon and shared or reposted social media content.

Paid media

As it reads, this is media you pay for to promote your message on an external platform.  Examples include sponsored featured content or advertisements in media outlets, exhibition/event sponsorship, advertising on digital, outdoor, print and broadcast platforms, Google ads and social media advertising.

Benefits and challenges

Understanding the pros and cons of each discipline will help you make the right choice for your business.

Owned Earned Paid
Benefits Builds customer relationships

Full control

Low cost to maintain

Low risk

Enhanced credibility

Wide reach

Cost effective


Builds brand awareness

Full control


Usually measurable

Challenges Less credible

Takes time to build a loyal audience

Potential limited audience reach

Requires regular time/maintenance

No direct control

Difficult to measure

No guaranteed results

Can be high risk in terms of ROI


Less credible

Taking an integrated approach is much more effective than using siloed marketing tactics.  It all comes down to good planning, budgeting, implementation and evaluation.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to take an integrated approach to your marketing please drop us a line.

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