If you are a brand then there’s some new vocabulary you need to understand to navigate Social Media -Paid, Owned & Earned Media
What’s the difference between Paid & Earned Media?
Traditionally brands used two main types of media for marketing:
Paid Media and Earned Media.
Paid Media was the remit of the marketing manager, advertising agencies and media buyers. Earned media fell in to the remit of Public Relations as it was ‘earning’ your publicity - usually in editorial.
When Web 2.0 came along there was an evolution of Earned Media. All of a sudden the general public could more easily publish and share their opinions and the category of Earned Media expanded. (Sparking still unresolved issues of who owns Social Media?)
In short, Paid and Earned Media is like the difference between Paid Search Results and Organic Search Results – one can be bought and the other has to be earned via editorial or independent content.
In Social Media terms, Earned Media could be counted as:
- Contributions / UGC
What is Owned Media?
Owned Media is as it sounds, a media property owned and managed by a company themselves. Traditionally brands had very few media platforms that they owned, they might’ve had a corporate website, they may have branched out into publishing an in-house customer magazine, or if they owned a physical space (like a billboard on the side of a building, or the side of a taxi cab) they could use or resell that space generating Paid Media revenue. Some early online adopters set up web communities to market to as well.
With the proliferation of Social Media though brands are setting up a host of Social profiles, and in the new vocabulary, they are growing their Owned Media – usually with the objective to increase Earned Media opportunities.
What does the increase in Owned Media mean?
Well firstly all brands should be aware of where they CAN and SHOULD own their media. For example, from what I’ve heard Facebook is now trying to make the distinction that Pages are to be run by the brands themselves as an official brand page. Groups or alternative/unofficial pages are more suitable for the domain of fans to run.
Who owns your Twitter / Facebook / Flickr / YouTube names etc? Head over to http://www.namecheck.com/ now and find out. Your brand is your identity and you should own it across the web in the same way you own your domain name.
Secondly, you need to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your Owned Media destinations as an extension of your brand. You wouldn’t let someone come down to your store and set-up camp, dropping trash everywhere. DON’T let dormant profiles sit online being spammed or inactive. Likewise, you wouldn’t leave your store open and not put any staff in there so that customers wander around aimlessly asking for help.
If you’re not in a position to manage a profile that you own then take it off public settings until you’re ready to do so.
Finally, and here’s the fun bit, USE your media assets. Coming from a PR background I’ve heard brands say for years “we’ve got something to say, can we convince the media to publish it?” Ha! Now you’ve got the opportunity to self-publish. If you’ve got something to say there’s a host of channels you can own and manage to communicate your views and key messages. Better yet, if you really do have something interesting to say you may earn additional media exposure from fans and customers who may rate, rank, endorse, contribute and distribute on your behalf.
Getting real about using the Media mix
Earned Media sounds great doesn’t it? You generate a bit of content or media, then a load of other people go and add to or promote it.
Yes, but you have to EARN IT.
A truly integrated campaign draws on the best and most relevant mix of Paid, Earned & Owned. For your communications to work within Social Media think about owning and running effective media platforms, you may need to pay for media to drive awareness of it, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll earn back what you deserve. Meaning if you want a community to develop, promote you, and buy your products, you have to take the time to develop and support a community, not forgetting to give them a product they like and trust.
Ignore them and they’ll ignore you.
McKinsey thinks this is wrong
Global management consultancy McKinsey thinks the Paid, Earned & Owned media model is out of date. Towards the end of last year they added two additional categories of Hijacked and Sold in response to new media.
It’s simplicity (like evolving Sold from Paid) might belie some very smart observations on how the media mix has changed and the choices brands now have. Or I could just be a sucker for McKinsey and pretty drawings. I’ll leave that up to you.