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Owned, Paid, and Earned: The Social Media Trifecta

The current environment requires all businesses to have an online and social media presence. However, simply being present online or on social media does not do anything to improve the reach or recall of the business or the brand. A strategic digital marketing plan is needed to achieve maximum reach for the advertising or brand message.

The more diverse the digital marketing plan, the more successful the digital marketing campaign. They say don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, it holds true here as well. When all three types of digital media viz. owned, earned and paid are employed, the reach increases manifold. This strategy also changes the way customers engage with the brand. The respect and engagement for the brand increases, thereby increasing sales.

Owned Media

This is the digital media that the brand owns and maintains on a regular basis. These would include – the brand’s website, mobile site, blogs, social media websites and ebooks. All these digital assets need to be optimized for search engines so that the brand is available where the potential customers are looking for related products and services. The authority of the brand increases as its owned digital assets increase. Brand engagement and respect of the audience for the brand also increases, thereby increasing the rank results for the brand in search engine results pages.

Owned media is where the brand can control the conversation it is having with its potential customers. The brand must ensure that the content it publishes is of value to the potential customers. If the content lacks value, people will lose interest in the content and eventually in the brand. Hence, the brand must endeavour to keep the content fresh and relevant to retain and increase audience engagement with its digital properties.

Earned Media

Earned media is the most valuable media for any brand. When the brand produces great shareable content and it becomes viral or receives a number of shares, mentions, reviews, recommendations, link backs from other blogs and websites or gets picked up by a major third party, it is known as earned media. In other words, earned media is like a vehicle for owned media which is the destination. Earned media gets a number of people to arrive at owned media.

Earning media requires two important things. First is the search engine rankings of the brand and its landing page. Second and most important is the content itself. Both these factors are interlinked as well. Even though search engine optimization improves the organic rankings for the landing pages, the content has relevance in the rankings. Apart from the search engines doing their own organic research of content, especially for plagiarism, good content drives more and more people to share the content. This further improves the rankings in the search engines. Hence, it is important for brands to maintain a great content strategy as well.

Paid Media

The most commonly used among the three types of social media paid media is what brands pay for. Advertisers purchase such media to promote their content and to drive traffic to their websites, videos, ebooks or social media pages. There are several paid media outlets online, basically, they provide clickable banner ads which either have the brand message and a link to the brand’s landing page or a video of the brand’s content, again linked to a landing page. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all provide online advertising facility to businesses and help promote brands on their platforms.

Marketers can also pay influencers on social media to promote their content. Influencers are people huge following on social media. These can be celebrities or people who have successfully created a large social media following. Influencer marketing can help increase the reach of the brand several times. Another way is to use retargeting through Pay-Per-Click or display ads which again link back to owned media of the brand.

Using all Three

The best returns for the brand are when all three kinds of media are used in balance. It has been observed that about 80% of the media used by the brands is paid media. Though paid media provides enhanced reach to the brand, it does not do much to enhance the value proposition. Only owned media can enhance the value proposition of the brand organically. It is through search engine optimization and regular production of great relatable content that the brand interaction and TOM recall for the brand can be organically increased.

Earned media is a huge support and adds to brand value. It works like word-of-mouth online and acts as a driver for increasing brand interaction. Having a controlled and planned SEO and content strategy helps in increasing earned media for the brand. Earned media creates a sense of authority and respect towards a brand and thus, helps drive traffic top owned media as well as sales. For marketers looking to create great digital marketing strategies and plans, doing an online digital marketing course from platforms like Hubspot, LinkedIn, Coursera or even Google can be of great help.

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