When building a brand it is important to understand how your message is resonating in the market. This resonance is dependent not just on the message you deliver, but also on whether those that receive the message further amplify it on your behalf. From sharing press releases on social media to someone else quoting parts of your story in new, original content, owned and earned media is a cornerstone for building a great company narrative. What is the difference between earned and owned media and how do you leverage one with the other? In this post, we will detail the difference between owned and earned media, how each plays a part in your marketing success, and what you can do to use each to your advantage.
What are Owned Media and Earned Media?
Owned media is the content that you create. It is any type of content that you publish on your own blog, website, social media channels, etc. This is the content that other people see when they visit your media channels or when they search for you online. Owned media can be anything from a blog post to a whitepaper to a YouTube video created by you and your team.
Earned media is the content that you receive. This type of earned media can take one of two forms: (i) when others share or promote your owned media on their channels, and/or (ii) when they create original content about you based on information in your owned media. The first form is often referred to as earned media amplification. The second form is often referred to as earned media coverage, which can be in the form of a blog post, TV segment, or article mentioning you and your product/service.
In summary: Owned media is any type of content that you create yourself while earned media are other people's reactions to what they have seen from you.
The Differences Between Owned and Earned Media
Owned media refers to content created by the company itself rather than earned media which is created by journalists. This type of oOwned media includes things like press releases, newsletters, reports, and videos on YouTube or Vimeo. Public relations is the art of managing interactions between an organization and the public. One important aspect of PR is earned media or publicity that comes from third parties. Earned media can come from a variety of sources such as newspapers, blogs, TV/radio programs, and social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook.
These two types are related in many ways but they differ in their origin - earned media comes from outside while owned content comes from within the organization's walls. They also differ in how much control an organization has over them. When earned media is created by an outside party, the organization has limited control over how it will be portrayed. Once owned content is published or aired on TV, for example, there's no turning back - you cannot edit what was just said even if you want to change your mind. Finally earned and owned media differ in their cost - earned media is free while owned media always has a cost.
How to Use Owned Media to Your Advantage
Owned media should be compelling and have a point of view. The Internetinternet is full of content that is as dry as the desert and as boring as watching paint dry. Is the content you are producing interesting? Does it have a point of view or make an argument that asks the person consuming it to stop and think? Does your content create something new or are you simply rehashing information and a perspective that already exists?
In order for an owned channel (e.g., blog) to be effective, it needs two things - quality content and traffic. For example, if you are trying to use your blog (an example of owned media) to your advantage, you will want people to read your posts regularly. This means it is important not just to have new posts but also to make them interesting and engaging enough so that readers will come back on their own accord without being prompted by social channels or email campaigns.
The best way to use owned media channels to your advantage is to be original and consistent.
How to Drive Earned Media
The earned media channels are arguably the most powerful asset that PR and marketing professionals have at their disposal. It is important, however, not to abuse earned media by promoting yourself too much and instead focus on providing value and being a resource for others in your industry. While this includes social posts and emails, earned media amplification is most powerful when it comes from earned coverage from journalists, bloggers, and other influencers. For this, you need to know your target audience well enough that they find something worth sharing in what you're doing. As with your owned media, having a unique point of view or an original story to tell is the best way to attract earned media coverage. Those that would promote your message (earned media) have audiences of their own to satisfy. They are seeking interesting stories, quality content, and a new perspective to offer to their own audience. Make that job easier by creating something compelling that they are driven to share.
Earned Media: Amplification Vs. Coverage
Earned Media Amplification occurs when someone shares or promotes an item of yours that was originally posted to their own account(s). If you post a news article to your Facebook page, and then someone else shares that post on their own profile, it's earned media amplification. Earned Media Coverage is original content about you based on what they learned from your owned channels. For example, if you write a blog post about the "Best Coffee Roaster in Eastern Europe" with information sourced exclusively from your website, earned media coverage is that blog post.
In summary, earned Media Amplification occurs when someone shares or promotes a piece of owned content to their own account(s) and earned media coverage is original content about you based on what they learned from your owned channels.
How Owned Media and Earned Media Amplify Your Message Together
Owned media and earned media each play a key part in growing your brand and your message. On the one hand, owned media gives you or your brand ownership of the message and story being shared with the public. On the other hand, you are unlikely to generate enough attention for that story using your own channels alone. With earned media, you cede control of the narrative and become subject to the opinions and subjectivity of others. However, those third parties can provide the exposure and audience necessary for your message to truly resonate.
By understanding the difference between owned and earned media, you can better leverage one of the most important tools in media. Take care to track how your owned media is resonating by measuring earned media metrics. Doing so will be instructive on what parts of your story are getting attention and creating buzz, providing you the insights necessary to keep moving in the right direction.