Your Guide to Paid, Owned, and Earned Media For Startup Business


Uncover the importance of earned, owned, and paid media for your business. They’re the cornerstone of any comprehensive growth strategy; the digital marketing trifecta. If you’re a startup looking to expand your footing in the industry, generating hype and raising awareness for your brand is crucial. The age-old saying stands true; content is king. But, you have to understand how and where to use it. We’ve put together a detailed guide to help your content strategy hit the jackpot.       

[Read more: Innovative Solutions That Help You Manage Your Business Better]

What is Paid Media? 

Paid media is precisely that; media you put spend behind. Think Pay-Per-Click Advertising, promoted posts, and YouTube ads. Paid media is about ensuring the right people see your content. Platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have various tools allowing you to target segmented groups, retargeting to potential customers, and ultimately gaining mass exposure for your brand. These posts will appear as “sponsored”. 

Paid media is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your owned media platforms.  

What is Owned Media? 

Owned media is any web property owned by or unique to your brand. It includes company websites, social media handles, blogs, and mobile apps. Beyond the online space, owned media refers to physical retail stores or brochures and outdoor advertising. The more owned media you have, the better your brand presence in the digital space. Ensure your owned media channels are up to scratch, following the correct best practices at every turn. 

What is Earned Media?

When you think of earned media, think of the content you can’t control completely. Traditionally, it refers to the publicity generated through PR activities. Whether it’s activations, press releases, or media stunts that gain attention, you can’t control the way you’re portrayed. Of course, it’s still a channel worth investing in; it’s the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing in today’s marketing landscape. 

How do they work together?

Think of this marketing trifecta in a Venn diagram. Naturally, they all do a job in their own way. The real sweet-spot for your startup is when they cross-pollinate, working together to tick all the boxes. To achieve this overlap, you need to integrate your campaigns, resources, and infrastructure to ensure they’re talking to each other from the get-go. There’s already a ton of overlap so spend some time understanding how to utilize it in the best way for your business objectives. 

One of the most common misconceptions for small businesses is that you only need owned media. Yes, investing time and money into your website and social media channels is incredibly important, but it is futile if no one is visiting them. Another common mistake startups make, is assuming earned media will generate enough coverage, eliminating the need for any digital budget. If you want to stand out in the online noise, taking on your larger competitors, you have to address all three. 

Learn to use your media channels to amplify and extend your content. Break down the silos of owned, earned, and paid media and focus your attention on storytelling in general. When you use these channels in tandem to tell your brand story, that’s when you’re guaranteed success. 

Tips for combining your media

1. Create your content in the right place

Ensure you create enough content to populate your owned channels. Whether it’s a blog or a social media strategy, ensure you’re producing top-quality assets. Don’t be shy; share the content you create across all your channels. Remember to tweak it, so it’s always optimized.  

2. Sponsor it

Sharing your content across all your channels is a start, but if you want to reach new consumers, you need to invest in some sponsored posts and awareness ads. Allocate some budget to Search and Display along with SEO. Findability is everything.  

3. Reach out to influencers

Find reputable influencers who can add to your content creation, making additional noise for you online. Get them to amplify it through social media, raising awareness, and generating earned mentions.

4. Don’t shy away from PR

Onboard a PR agency or recruit an advisor to help you get your brand out there. Understand the type of content required to earn media attention, giving your business the upper hand against competitors. Whether it’s gifting your product to media presenters or networking with affiliates, it’s vital to increase your exposure.  

Hit the trifecta

Paid, owned, and earned media are the fundamentals of any digital strategy. Understand how each element works, creating additional opportunities for customers to engage in your brand. Your goal is growth, so dial-up your marketing mix to new heights. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here