Every company needs a marketing plan, and every marketing plan needs a marketing strategy, and every marketing strategy needs three key elements: Owned, earned and paid media.

According to investopedia, a market plan is an operational document that outlines an advertising strategy that an organization will implement to generate leads and reach its target market. All of the specific and logistical items that make up the marketing plan come from the marketing strategy.

Simply put, a company’s marketing strategy consists of all the elements that it will use to achieve its marketing goals. Some aspects included in a marketing strategy are budgets, key messages, research, objectives and tactics. Our three topics for the day fall under the tactics category.

Owned, earned and paid media refer to traditional and nontraditional forms of media content that should be an integral part of any company’s marketing strategy. Before being able to fully utilize these tactics, it is important to understand what they are, how they work and why you need them. Let’s start by breaking them down one-by-one.

Owned Media

Owned media refers to the content and assets that are controlled or owned by a company. These assets include blogs, websites, apps, videos and graphics. Although companies do not directly own Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn or Twitter, they do have control over their pages, making these social media sites a type of owned media.

Owned media is great for building and maintaining long-term relationships with clients and customers. Owned media allows you to keep existing customers up-to-date on your company’s happenings, new products and services and announcements. Owned media is a good way to engage your customers and build their loyalty as well.

We recommend interacting with your customers on your social media pages by replying to their comments and direct messages, posting polls on your stories and reposting photos that they have tagged your business or product in.

Besides retaining customers, this type of media can also attract new customers through Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is the process that companies engage in to make sure their websites and other media content are high up in the Google index rankings. Simply put, the more pages, blogs and posts that your company has generated, the more likely you are to climb in SEO ranking and potentially appear on the first page of a Google search.

There are many benefits to using owned media including cost-efficiency, control and longevity, but one big disadvantage is that it is time consuming.

Earned Media

Earned media is content that is created by customers such as posts, comments, tweets, videos, online communities and reviews. It can also be any media that has come from PR efforts. Earned media is crucial because it is viewed by consumers as the most reliable source of information about your company. Earned media is essentially word-of-mouth reviews because it is customers sharing their thoughts and feelings about your brand.

An effective way to increase your company’s earned media is by encouraging customers to share and repost your information on social media sites. Another method to gain earned media is using social media promotions such as “To be entered into a drawing to win this gift card, follow us and repost this image on your story.” It can be as simple as that.

Although earned media can increase sales and raise awareness of your brand, you also have no control over what people say and post about you. So in some situations, earned media can be a double-edged sword.

Paid Media

Paid media is a form of advertising that can be done through traditional or digital channels. Unlike the owned and earned media, paid media costs money and can become very expensive very quickly. Paid media can range from a newspaper ad to a Facebook ad to a Google ad. Through this form of media, you are paying to have your brand and its message placed in front of a targeted market segment.

This type of media should be a significant part of your marketing strategy because it almost always produces immediate results. It is also a proven way to build your brand’s awareness and reach new customers while having complete control over the advertisement.

Despite the previously mentioned benefits, paid media has a couple of downsides. The biggest challenge is the cost. Paid advertisements can become expensive quickly, so it’s important to build a budget for it beforehand to keep you on track. Paid media is also the least credible form of content in a consumers eyes. However, if you use the media properly, it could generate some beneficial earned media for you.

Each of the three types of media have their pros and cons, which is why you should not focus on just one of them. Using the three together is the most effective way of using media to build your brand, increase awareness and stimulate sales. However, it can be tricky trying to find the perfect balance between them and that’s where we come in. At Inner Spark Creative, our social media and marketing experts can help you set up an effective and efficient marketing strategy that includes these three types of media.

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