Earned, Owned, Paid, Shared: Horsemen of the Apocalypse or Best Opportunity?
Earned media is often the result of public and media relations efforts to “earn” coverage in industry publications, both on- and offline. In other words, it’s achieving editorial brand presence within media without having to advertise. Although it’s entirely possible and common that a brand would advertise in the same digital publication where they’ve earned coverage. An easy example would be a prominent mention in an article in a magazine, newspaper, or industry website like Fast Company, The New York Times, or our very own ClickZ.
Owned media is about brand control and includes digital media, content, and assets such as websites, blogs, newsletters, white papers, and social media accounts. Brands are increasingly behaving like publishers with editorial staff managing content creation teams. “Content marketing” is the hot topic when it comes to owned media and can facilitate brand information discovery through search and social channels. Content engages customers and fosters relationships throughout the customer lifecycle. Well-implemented owned media provides an opportunity for the brand to provide consumers an earned media experience while maintaining control over editorial. American Express OPEN Forum and General Mills’ Tablespoon.com are great examples of owned media.
Paid media is advertising and examples include display ads, pay-per-click search ads, and sponsorships. The pro for paid media is near on-demand implementation, some degree of control, and scale. The growing popularity of social advertising on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube adds another option for marketers to gain presence in channels where consumers and buyers are spending a lot of their time. The appearance of brand messages and content within paid media can work together with social sharing and organic search. From ads on the right side of Google.com to the horizontal ads above this column, paid media examples are pretty abundant.
Shared media is about the co-creation of content and media between brands and community. Brand social web participation and interaction with consumers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that results in content is “shared media” since it’s a result of a shared interaction. Because of the nature of social sharing and engagement on social media sites, shared media can propagate across an individual’s network to others, and so on and so on. Paid and owned media can inspire shared media. Shared media can inspire earned media. One of my favorite examples of co-created or shared media is Dell’s IdeaStorm community.
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