The Differences Between Paid, Earned, Owned And Shared Media

Published: Apr 29th, 2020

Updated: Jan 08th, 2024

If you are new to owning a business and you’re looking for ways to promote your brand, there is no denying that you will probably turn to some form of media to assist you. When thinking about public relations (PR) and marketing, the term ‘media’ relates to different channels that can be beneficial to business owners and brands in general. 

These days, there are four different types of media that are commonly referred to when trying to promote a brand, product or service and attract new customers, clients and investors. These four types of media are: paid, earned, owned and shared. We understand that this may all be quite overwhelming to anyone new to PR or marketing and, for this reasons, our team here at Sapience Communications have broken down these different types of media. 

Paid media

Paid media is also known as paid advertising, whenever you pay to put a message somewhere then it will fall into this category. Businesses may pay for space in a magazine or to show something or a website but, if money exchanges hands then it is always paid media. 

As expected, paid media can be very expensive and it is actually quite hard to measure. That being said, it is a brilliant way to get your message across to lots of people all at once. If your business is in a very competitive industry, then paid media may be essential for you.

Earned media 

Earned media is also referred to as media relations or publicity and it is an essential part of your public relations. This is where you have earned the chance to appear in other places across all different platforms, it is essentially brand presence without actually advertising yourself. 

There are no guarantees with this type of media and it isn’t always easy to plan or aid. Earned media includes things like mentions on social media, reviews and being in news stories, so in order for it to be beneficial, many people turn to media PR agencies for assistance. 

Owned media 

Owned media covers the things that you have created and distributed yourself. This includes things such as your website content, any blogs that you write and also podcasts. A good rule of thumb is that if you can add, edit or delete the content then it falls under owned media. 

Again, the success of this media is measurable but in order for it to be beneficial, it really needs to be valuable, interesting and informative for your target audience. You want to ensure that your owned media can go on to aid other forms of media for all of the right reasons.

Shared media 

Shared media is everything related to social media. It is essential content that has been specifically designed for social media channels and is uniquely designed for user-generated circulation. This is probably the most modern form of media too. 

This type of media is known for being very cost-effective and there are numerous platforms to choose from, so there is something that works for every business. But, in order for shared media to be effective, it is essential to know your target audience and how to capture their attention.

Would you like to work with a PR company?

Hopefully, this break down will help you to get your head around the four different types of media used in PR and marketing. To ensure that these types of media are benefiting your business as much as possible, many choose to turn to media PR companies to take control. The professionals in this space will have the expertise and knowledge required to make the most of each media channel. We work with all forms of media to implement powerful communications programmes to support our clients’ business objectives.

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