August 6, 2014

The advertising mix comprises three primary types of media to deliver content. And because content marketing aims to capture the attention of customers through great content, it is important to consider these strategically as there is power in combining them to engage consumers with what they really want, when they want it.

So what are they? Here is a quick run-down of Paid, Owned and Earned Media.

Paid Media

This refers to traditional advertising, typically referencing paying to leverage an existing channel or media message. Paid media can potentially form the beginning of the customer’s buying journey and is generally executed via print, TV and radio advertisements, as well as direct mail, display ads, retargeting ads and paid search to name a few.

Paid media is an effective way to get the ball rolling on a campaign, gain exposure and boost a brand’s content.

Owned Media

This refers to content that a brand has complete control over, or is the brand’s property. The more owned media a brand has, the bigger its online presence. This then gives a brand greater ability to participate and influence a potential customer’s buying journey.

Increasing the number of touch-points with which to engage customers improves the likelihood that they will come across a brand’s content during the research phase of their buying process, i.e. when they want to, rather than the other way around (which is what Paid Media traditionally seeks to do).

A prime example is when a brand creates its own publishing platform. As brands continue to recognise the benefits of content marketing, more and more brands are becoming publishers. Other examples include websites, micro-sites, blogs and Facebook Pages.

Earned Media

Earned media refers to seeing the consumer as a channel. It’s about people sharing and interacting with content, which essentially then spreads it via “word of mouth”.

This comprises the unprompted coverage gained from shareable campaigns, including mentions a brand achieves through blog posts, customer reviews and social sharing to name a few. Often, the most positive earned media will come from a brand’s biggest supporters, that is, people who already love a brand. It also includes coverage achieved by reaching out to social influencers such as lifestyle bloggers, as well as PR coverage achieved in the traditional media.

A viral video that a user posts on Facebook, which is then shown to his or her network, is an example of earned media. The more influential the person sharing the content, the more valuable that earned media becomes.


The customer’s buying journey continues to evolve. People are doing more of their own research and are forming their opinions on brands long before they step into a store or browse an e-comm site.

A strong content strategy takes into consideration the changing way in which people are making their purchase decisions and by converging paid, owned and earned media, a brand can strengthen the overall impact of its content.


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