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Earned Media VS Owned Media for Growth Marketing

This Article focuses on earned & owned media foremost, identify their differences and benefits to see how each of them contributes towards growth marketing.
customer engagement

Brands nowadays are massively exposing themselves on various online channels, staying active on Instagram, gathering customer feedback, and paying for advertising on Facebook. 

While it may seem like vital components of a single marketing strategy, they all have different names and are known as owned media, paid, and earned. They are powerful and essential tools for the brand to raise its awareness, improve consumer retention, and increase the company’s market influence. All types of media are great ways of distributing a brand’s message across a number of different channels. 

In this article, we will focus on earned and owned media foremost, identify their differences and benefits to see how each of them contributes towards growth marketing regardless of whether you are developing a new tech product or looking to promote a retail shop. 

A few words on paid media

You may wonder why we omitted paid media, a third type used for growth marketing as well. The reason is that paid media is simultaneously a simple and complex topic. Its simplicity lies in the common understanding: paying for Facebook advertising or in the media falls under the term ‘paid media’. Meanwhile, ways of obtaining paid media opportunities and the types of those opportunities explain the complexity of paid media. And this requires a separate guide.

That’s why it’s more valuable for you to focus on understanding earned and owned media principles and benefits to. Let’s start with the definitions.

The definition of earned and owned media

Owned media is a unique company’s channel that it controls. 

Company’s website and blog, profiles on social media, email newsletter,  – all refer to this type. Brands use such channels to communicate with potential customers and deliver messages in their preferred way and under the brand’s terms. As a result, the more owned media, the better the chances to establish a solid brand presence, attract potential leads, and convert them into loyal customers. 

An example of owned media (Image Source)

Earned media is a brand’s exposure through external media (other’s blogs and social media, magazines/newspapers, podcasts, and other marketing channels). 

It’s never enough to create a blog. A company should ensure that people know them. The more viral a social media post or mention in a magazine becomes, the better for the brand. Earned media has its own unique drivers that are the combination of organic rankings and distributed content.

Also, people who use the brand and eagerly share their opinion about it become one of its channels. All of their reviews and shares are the perfect examples of earned media. The latter is often referred to as the means of getting to a successfully recognized owned media. 

An example of earned media (Image Source)

Another example of earned media is when influencers who have thousands of followers share their opinion on your product. 

Whenever a popular blogger shows your product or gives feedback about your services on their Instagram stories, you, if you’ve collaborated with the right influencer, get quite a few new followers which are to become your customers in the future. However, such a tactic often falls under paid media type and is considered advertising.

Owned media benefits for growth marketing

The major advantage of owned media is full control. The company decides everything starting from the way a website will look and feel to the type of offered content. 

Based on a chosen strategy, a brand decides how often they release new information, what the topics will be, and how customers might interact with it.

A brand controls all the outgoing connections along with the incoming ones. Besides, it is possible to see problem areas and resolve them faster.

Another benefit of owned media is the fact that it is free. Not actually free since in order to attract people and enable them to see content, a company needs SEO at least. It will allow a brand to play Google search engines and Google ranking. 

When a company gets on the first page, its website will get increased traffic. As a result, more exposure, leads, signups, purchases, etc.

Earned media benefits for growth marketing

Earned media is something that can make your brand go big, make a single post go viral, and massively increase brand visibility and awareness. Earned media is absolutely free yet not controlled, which makes it more credible among customers. 

With earned media, brands endorse their content by recognized online resources and increase their exposure. Also, as a number of platforms and channels share your content, you receive an enormous lead generation opportunity.

When used in the correct way, earned media can bring more results than owned and paid media altogether. 

Ways to use owned and earned media for better engagement

When utilizing owned media to increase customer engagement, there are a few tips to follow:

  • Connect all online platforms to one another. For instance, whenever a customer gets on a company’s website, they should always be able to see links to social media channels and vice versa. If a brand’s Instagram page does not have enough information, there should always be a link to the website, visible for every person who gets to know the brand through social media pages. 
  • Offer relevant and useful information. If you decide to start a company’s blog, it should always be updated. You need to deliver interesting and valuable content to keep customers engaged and encourage them to visit it more often.
  • Establish constant interaction. Regardless of the amount of information you publish on your website or any other communication channel, people will always have questions. It is important to interact with customers, answer their questions, reply to their comments and thank them for using your products and services. It shows them you care and are always there to help and assist. 

As for the earned media, brands can follow a few useful steps to improve media impact and its frequency: 

  • Offer content worth sharing. Whenever you publish a valuable guest article, it has more chances to go viral and make a good impression of your brand. Things you share should spark emotions and resonate with people’s needs. 
  • React to negative feedback. There will always be people who are not satisfied with your brand. It’s rather important to acknowledge and respond and do it not only on your website but also on other resources where customers mention you. 

You need to give honest and compassionate replies and address customer concerns in the most professional way possible. Who knows, you might not only change their opinion about your brand but show other readers how much you care. 

Combining different types of media 

At this point, you might have already guessed that different types of media hardly ever work without one another, and if they do, the result is always better when used together.

Let’s say you want to promote your email tracking tool. You’ve prepared the basics and created a great website with top-notch UX design (owned media). Now you need the fastest option to drive potential consumers to the newly released website. You collaborate with a blogger who has 5000 subscribers and prepares for you a fantastic advertisement about your tool (paid media).

You start getting first customers, positive reviews and decide to start a blog with how-to guides, useful tools to accelerate existing features, market statistics, etc. One of your blog posts becomes viral, people are reposting it in social media and you share this experience in a contribution to an external blog (earned media).

As a result, you get more leads and customers, as well as increased brand awareness. Are you able to do it with owned media only? Probably. However, different types of media always work better when combined. 

To sum up

Earned and owned media are fantastic channels when it comes to digital marketing. While owned media allows the brand to take control over everything they show to the public, earned media results from well-executed owned media.

When leveraging both of them, brands can experience a solid boost in their growth marketing efforts.

Main image: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

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Dmytro Zaichenko
Dmytro Zaichenko is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Railsware, a product studio helping people build great products. Apart from writing and networking, he’s a huge NBA fan.

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