Combining earned, owned, and paid media will help you attract, nurture, and close leads, but what do those terms really mean? And when it comes to your company’s content strategy, how do they fit into the equation?
While all three media efforts are important to your overall goals and should converge in your strategy, there are still distinct differences.
Quite simply, earned media refers to media exposure you’ve earned through word-of-mouth. Whether it was the fantastic content you’ve distributed, the influence of your search engine optimization efforts, the customer experience you’ve delivered, or a combination of all three, earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result.
You can earn media by getting press mentions, positive reviews, reposts, recommendations, etc. You can also facilitate earned media by helping journalists and content writers author their articles, or contributing your own thought leadership content to industry publications.
Thanks to the rise in popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Quora, it has become easier for content writers and journalists to reach out to your business for quotes and insights to mention in their articles. This type of accreditation helps build trust around your expertise.
At Influence & Co., we earn most of our media through press mentions with our partners and our own guest-contributed content. For example, our co-founder, John Hall, has a regular column on Forbes, where his contributed content helps to drive both traffic and leads for our company.
So whether you’re earning mentions on external sites or you’ve earned an opportunity to contribute to them regularly, this type of media helps to fuel the top of your funnel and introduce you to new leads.
Owned media is content you’re in full control of. Think of content for your company website, your blog, and your social media accounts.
While owned media content can take on a variety of forms — blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. — the primary goal of this content is to continue providing value to leads as they move down the funnel. These assets offer a more controlled — but not overly promotional — message about your company.
So if you’re looking to warm up leads that you’ve generated with earned media or win over some more, it’s important that you’re focusing on producing these educational, valuable resources. At the end of the day, this content can help leads determine whether or not working with you is the right choice for them.
While today’s media influx may make it difficult to get your company’s message heard organically, it also brings with it an influx of methods to promote it. Paid media serves as a method for promoting content and driving exposure. And there are a variety of paid techniques you can use to amplify your owned media and help you win more earned media.
For example, social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest offer advertising options that can be leveraged to boost your exposure. We’ve found that LinkedIn and Twitter are the most effective promotion platform for our audience of B2B marketers, but you can utilize a similar strategy on Facebook or Pinterest. It all depends on where your target audience is the most active and engaged with your brand.