August 12, 2022

Finding the Right Mix of Earned, Owned, and Paid Media

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B buyers are spending, on average, 33% more time researching products than they did before. This means B2B marketing is more important than ever because buyers are making more thoughtful decisions, and vendors need to ensure their messaging is customer-focused and readily available.

But a bombardment of display ads or social media posts alone isn’t going to provide researchers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. And they likely won’t persuade the buyer to seek more information about a product. 

Venn diagram showing which category (earned, owned, or paid) each type of marketing campaign falls into.

Instead, marketers need to create a healthy mix of owned, earned, and paid media to meet buyers where they are and provide them with the information they’re looking for.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is a type of coverage that’s given to businesses based on their merits. It’s free, and often can’t be controlled by the vendor. It can help build customer trust and build brand awareness outside of your normal audience. However, earned media is probably the most difficult type of digital marketing to obtain because it has a relatively high value.

Examples of Earned Media

  • Customer reviews
  • Referrals
  • Social media mentions
  • Links from/inclusions on other business’s blogs
  • Press coverage of events, product announcements, etc.

What Is Owned Media?

Like earned media, owned media is free, although you could outsource its creation. However, owned media is content that vendors do get control over, typically because they create it themselves. Startups without a huge marketing budget should prioritize owned media because they can create a lot of it and help increase their brand awareness without spending a fortune.

Learn How Content Marketing Done Right Drives Your Revenue Organization.

Examples of Owned Media

  • Company website
  • Blog articles
  • Social media posts
  • Email marketing

What is Paid Media?

As the name suggests, paid media is the only one of the three that is not free, but that also means it’s the easiest to achieve. Vendors can pay to reach a wider audience, promoting their brand on other websites, social media, and search engines. Sometimes, vendors can take their owned media and turn it into paid media, so they don’t have to create new content. For example, social media posts are owned media, but businesses can pay to boost them to a larger audience, turning them into paid media.

Get tips on How to Plan and Execute Your First B2B Display Advertising Campaign.

Examples of Paid Media

  • Sponsored webcasts
  • Sponsored blog posts
  • Display and search engine ads

Which Type of Media Should Vendors Prioritize?

The type of media vendors should focus their efforts on depends on how mature the business is and what they’re trying to accomplish. Paid media is great for brand awareness and getting buyers interested in a product or service, but it does require a budget. Earned media can be tough to achieve but is really valuable — it builds trust in the community and makes owned media more likely to convert.

Owned media is great for startups because it doesn’t require a huge budget and can hit all levels of the funnel. Additionally, owned media is also where most bottom-of-the-funnel marketing lives and where most leads convert. However, it can be difficult to build an audience with owned media alone. It’ll take time, and marketers have to be patient.

Why the Mix of Media Is Important

Buyers currently handle about 70% of the buying journey without ever talking to a vendor. Because they won’t come to you, you have to meet buyers where they are. And each of these buyers will have their own preferences. Some will ignore paid placements, in which case you need earned and owned media. Some will avoid owned media until they’re ready to buy, meaning they’ll never read your blog.

Owned media isn’t enough to grow your audience on its own — you have to use paid and earned to reach more buyers. TechnologyAdvice has avenues to help you grow all three types of media. We can help you create high-quality owned media with our content syndication programs or jump-start your brand awareness campaign with digital advertising that runs to the 100 million technology buyers who come to our portfolio of websites each year.
Got the right mix of media? Now learn How to Reduce Complexity in the B2B Buying Journey.