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Owned, Paid, Earned Media. What are the differences?

16 Dec 2020 | STORIES | 0 Comment
Title News

“Which type of media are these activities categorized into? Is it owned, paid, or earned media?” 

This question often pops up when we are developing a proposal for our clients. In Public Relations, there are these buzzwords that a PR consultant must understand to enable us to give the right consultation to our clients. Different clients have different backgrounds and needs. If you are confused which media you should invest in, this article will explain the differences between owned, paid, and earned media, as well as the pluses and minuses from each of these media types. 


Owned media

Owned media consists of channels that you own and control. You have the full power to determine how you want your content to look and the information that you want to convey to the public. Harvard Business Review contributor, Mark Bonchek explained owned media as any channel under companies’ direct control such as websites, blogs, newsletters, catalogs, etc.

Besides the freedom to control, you also need only a minimum budget to manage owned media. However, the problem with owned media is when no one sees your content, it’s not going to work. Therefore, it will require Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get audiences to see your content in search engines. Be consistent with your content to improve your ranking.


Paid media

The concept of paid media is actually simple, you pay a certain amount of money to get a placement in a form of media for a certain amount of time. One of the main purposes of paid media is to drive traffic to your owned media. Advertisements on Harian Kompas, billboards at Sudirman street, and advertorial on Detik.com are several examples of paid media.

How does ‘paid’ media work that it can give a significant impact to the businesses? Since you have paid the media slot, you have the right to control the ads as you want. You can try a new platform or stop your ads on a certain online media if it doesn’t work. If you nail the execution of your paid media, you will see an immediate return on investment. However, despite all of the benefits, it is obvious that paid media also has a downside. If you stop paying, your content stops being shown to consumers.


Earned media

Different from owned and paid media, earned media is content about you or your business that you get from third parties and you don’t need to pay for. Earned media is the desired result that PR practitioners are targeting. It resulted from the relationship between the publicist and the journalists or influencers. One of the advantages of earned media is that you will be able to generate organic commentary without spending any money. 

Also, earned media is the most credible and cost-efficient piece that a certain company could gain which will also influence its SEO. Your content will appear on the higher rank if you can encourage trustworthy sites to link to your owned media. On the other hand, earned media also has a downside where the publicist cannot control the message directly since there is no investment spent. However, as a PR practitioner we are able to control the message indirectly by developing key messages.

In order  to generate maximum exposure to achieve your target, we need to be able to create a balanced of owned, paid, and earned media. However, if you have a minimum budget and only able to choose one, I would recommend investing in earned media. It is the most efficient way to gain credible exposure. Like what  Chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on Public Relations.” Do you agree with his statement? Share your thoughts on the comment box.


Image source: freepik

Written by: Agnes Maharani
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