Examining Earned vs. Paid Media

earned vs paid mediaBuilding your brand and overall online presence can be hard, which is why many marketers turn to paying for media placements instead of relying on organically earned spots. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between earned and paid.

Defining Both Types of Media

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is when you receive mentions, placements, rankings, and the like all organically through the work you do. In most cases, this is the result of aspects you can control, such as content on your website, social media posts, and more. Earned media is every marketer’s dream, but it always isn’t easy.

Key Benefit: Usually more cost-friendly in the long-term

What Is Paid Media?

Paid media, on the other hand, is any type of media placement that included an exchange of money at any point, whether you paid to sponsor a webinar, ran ads on Facebook, or even rented out a billboard. It is a type of media placement that you didn’t earn organically, and one that you have some level of control over the media.

Key Benefit: Usually has quicker results

Why Earned Media’s Lack of Control Can Be a Good Thing

While some may be wary of earned media because they cannot control how their brand or product will be portrayed, these aspects can actually help your company. This is because earned media can help build trust in the consumer because it is content not distributed by the brand itself, very similar to how users look to reviews on GMB profiles for insights on a business.

5 Ways to Get Earned Media Placements

1. Publish Good Content

The easiest way to obtain earned media is to obtain organic links and mentions from having content on your site that others will 1) find useful and 2) want to link to. This can be from writing posts on your site such as “10 Tools You Need in Your Garden This Summer” that features a product of yours, or doing really great SEO on your product pages so they can be found on search engines!

2. Be Active on Social Media

This one might seem obvious, but be sure to share your stuff on social! And don’t be afraid to tag different accounts that are relevant and might be willing it to share your posts themselves. Also, don’t forget about social media sites outside of Facebook and Twitter such as Reddit and Pinterest, because they can get you traffic too!

3. Write Press Releases

If you publish a press release on your website, you can then also send it out to local TV stations, national and local news sites, niche publications, and more to see if you can get more coverage. Depending on how newsworthy your piece is, you might get some great hits!

4. Become a Source for Journalists

Did you know that there are ways you can obtain earned media by responding to journalists directly? With the help of sites such as HARO and others, along with newcomers like Qwoted and Terkel, you have the opportunity to get earned media that is under your control!

5. Become Newsworthy

One of the easiest ways to get more mentions and visibility is to do something that websites, news stations, and other outlets will want to write about. A great example that I heard about recently was Columbus-based ice cream brand Jeni’s collaborating with Dolly Parton to create a new flavor.

Now, we know that not every brand can work with Dolly Parton, but this should give you some ideas on what other companies do to get in the news. Pro-tip: The more charitable it is, the more likely it will get picked up. 

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