The Three Stooges: Paid, Owned & Earned Media

Paid Media

Paid media is advertising, banner ads, paid search, paid content (editorials), paid content distribution (white papers), paid press releases, …
The impact lasts as long and reaches as far as is paid for. As the exposure is mainly a function of the amount paid, the more money spend the more exposure obtained.
The influence can last and reach beyond the the campaign depending on the quality and impression it made.
Due to the investment for distribution and exposure, paid media is limited in time and reach.

The disadvantage is that it is a short-lived investment requiring a fast ROI.

The advantage is that it mainly requires money and hardly any creativity.

Owned Media

Owned media is the company website, the company blog, profiles on public, generic or social websites, free press releases, free white paper distributions, published content on social media, newsletters, printed newsletters, …
The impact lasts as long as the content is available for people to find and consume (read, view) it. The impact and reach depends on the quality of the content, the initial controlled distribution and the uncontrolled distribution (if your content is passed on to others or copied in different media and communication channels).
Hence owned media can almost last forever.

The disadvantage is that anyone can create quality content. Creativity is a gift and not completely related to money. Although much time, effort and money is invested in trying to create quality content, the resulting content might not have become quality content.

The advantage is that instead of money, creativity is required. Wealthy companies can pay for creating content. Small companies and start-ups can also create quality content which opens up the competition.

Earned Media

Earned media is Word of Mouth: both physically (verbally or written) and virtual (digital on social media). The impact and reach of the word of mouth can almost be infinite larger than the initial distribution. Leverage will go far beyond the original reach with the benefit of people remembering or remaining findable for almost forever.

The disadvantage is that content needs to be picked up by many and shared, recommended, replicated or forwarded to many which is a gamble creating a risk for engaging in creating content.

The advantage is that nor the size of the company, nor the amount of money of a company can significantly influence the Word of Mouth. If the audience likes the content then the origin doesn’t matter. Moreover the ‘Underdog’ can have a slight advantage over the major player in a market.

The Three Stooges Of Media

In most cases companies have a media mix of Paid, Owned and Earned media as each feeds content to the other media.
Paid media will feed to the Owned media and Owned media will feed to the paid as both help the findability of each other on the Internet.
Earned Media will enhance the Paid and the Owned media, which on their turn will feed the Earned media with new content.
This results in the Three Stooges of media.

What is your media mix Paid, Owned and Earned ?


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