top of page
  • Writer's pictureSarah Peel

What's the Difference Between Owned, Earned, and Paid Social Media?

"When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof." - Andy Crestodina


Not all social media posts are equal! As a business owner, each one of these types of posts -- owned, earned and paid -- are the three main types of media activities that businesses can use to promote their products and services. They are impactful on their own, but super powerful when used together!

With that said, here are the definitions and why you need to use them together for the best inbound ⬅️ and outbound ➡️ marketing strategy.

1. Owned media

Owned media refers to any "channels" that the business owns and controls, such as their own website, blog, email and social media accounts. So, all of the brainpower you put into all those thoughtful social media posts captions, blogs and emails communicates who you are as a brand. You have 100% creative licence to show up with personality and tell the story of your products, mission and the aspirational lifestyle (experiences, not just things!) you and your ideal customer live because your business exists!

2. Earned media

Earned media involves activities that your customers, fans, and followers do to help promote your business, such as sharing and liking your content, leaving comments, tagging your business for "user generated content", posting positive reviews about your products and services, and even influencer marketing. Guest blogging and podcasting is also Earned media (it gives you "social proof" and you can repurpose it into Owned media posts!) This category also includes any press you get through online news media, radio, television, and print that you didn't pay for (this doesn't happen too often, but with a good PR specialist or great Owned social media content, your business may just get the attention of these outlets.)

3. Paid media

Paid media are activities where the business pays for ads and sponsored content to appear on other social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, or paid press via the media outlets. Many business owners think of this as the "hard sell" part of their marketing endeavours, but in truth, when you use paid media at different parts of your funnel (aka, cold, warm and hot markets), along with the synergy of Owned and Earned media, your customers will rarely get that icky feeling of "being sold to".

4. Use them together for marketing synergy!

By combining owned, earned, and paid social media activities, businesses can have a powerful and social media presence, especially if they've developed an authentic "voice" that sounds like a real human being, and they use the three types of media to do build each of the pillars of awareness, sales and loyalty.

Need a video explainer?

8 views0 comments


bottom of page