FAQ: Owned, Shared, Earned, and Paid Media

Owned media refers to digital media you own. More importantly, it is where you collect email addresses, generate leads, and make sales.

Owned media, such as websites, online stores, blogs, podcasts, video-on-demand, online courses, and virtual events, are how you nurture prospects, build thought leadership and ultimately, convert leads to revenue.

A social media post is not owned media because you don't control the proximity of your message to sponsored content, so you can't optimize for conversions.

Owned media is what others find when they search for your brand. So it is what others use to evaluate you online.

Shared media is text, images, audio, or video shared on a social network.

What you share could be a link to owned media, such as a blog, white paper, webinar, infographic, podcast, or online course.

When owned media gets shared on a social network, others can like and comment.

Reach is driven by how much engagement the share receives.

On shared media, you connect with your community based on popular topics of interest.

In order to connect with the right audience, you focus on problems your potential customers are trying to solve.

Shared media is where you connect with and build community.

Your prospective customers view the attention your shared media receives as a measure of credibility.

After you've established your owned media footprint, building out your shared media profile typically comes second.

If you're unknown online, people take your shared media footprint into consideration when deciding whether or not to do business with you. 

Earned media is media that's about you, but which does not appear on your owned media channels.

It could be an article you contributed to someone else's blog, a TV or podcast guest appearance, or an article about you in a trade or mainstream media outlet.

It's much easier to earn media coverage after you've established an owned media presence and a social media following.

Your owned media footprint and shared media engagement levels are used by editors, journalists, and reporters to qualify you for news media coverage.

Of all three organic media channels, earned media has the greatest capacity to drive exponential growth because the way we receive information is often more important than the information itself.

Paid media is advertising.

Depending on the length of your sales cycle, combining advertising with content marketing can be an effective way to stay in front of past visitors to your website. 

SEMrush is an example of a company that opts to drive traffic with paid media early on.

They start with pay-per-click ads on Google and advance to retargeting display ads on Facebook.

They use text search ads for awareness and display retargeting for consideration.

Organic media is owned, shared, and earned media channels, which can be used to drive sales and increase customer retention.

Owned is your website, shared is social media and earned is digital PR.

Organic media can be used to bring visitors to your website from Google search, content marketing, other websites, email marketing campaigns, and social media.

Organic media generates revenue when visitors from these traffic sources come to your website and buy something.

But organic media is not just for ecommerce.

For higher-priced, considered purchases, organic media is often the first introduction to the sales funnel. 

B2B marketers use organic growth marketing to get email list subscribers, webinar registrations and white paper downloads.

Growth achieved through display advertising, programmatic advertising, native advertising, or by boosting the reach social posts are paid, rather than organic growth business marketing tactics.