The Marketing Triple Threat: Paid, Owned, + Earned Media

Digital Touchpoints

Balance (in all things) is an ever-evolving skill, and its marketing is no exception. Adapting to changes in the way we buy, sell, communicate and relate has kept marketing professionals on their toes. 

But the best campaigns, the ones that really met customers wherever they were, are the ones with balance. 

As audiences rely more and more on social media for education, entertainment, shopping, tips, tricks, and more, how we find balance in branding needs to work three main touchpoints to weave together successful communication:

  • Paid
  • Owned 
  • Earned 

What is Paid Media?

Paid media is exactly that … 

It’s everything from ad space to ad reach that is paid for or isn’t executed for free. Paid media drives an intentional focus on who is reached, where, when, and why. 

Working with paid space helps to guarantee a certain level of reach, particularly through advanced targeting and demographic programs and applications. 

Paid Media also lets you keep your finger on the pulse of what works and what doesn’t through brand survey tools providing real-time insights into audience responses.

Measurable results are a critical component of paid media, guiding the timing, messaging, and outlets for brands to connect with consumers. Paid partnerships with aligned brands, creators, and influencers can also pump up the ROI by connecting businesses with new markets and demographics.

Paid Media Examples

  • Print, radio, and TV ads
  • Paid search retargeting
  • Display advertising
  • Paid social ads
  • Sponsored content

Tips for High Performing Paid Media 

  • Work with platforms and pages that clearly display ads without confusing clutter or mixed messaging. 
  • Use clear, straightforward language, graphics, and CTAs to connect 
  • Use unique, catchy visuals and headlines to grab attention 

What is Owned Media?

Owned Media is the bread and butter for many brands in 2022. 

It’s all content that brands independently create, distribute and control on their own channels. Owned Media is essentially free (outside of platform operating costs) and also empowers brands to control their own messaging and aesthetics. 

When done correctly, owned media has launched many, many-a brand into wildly successful businesses. Owned media can span across a multitude of platforms, creating succinct messaging that reaches a wide demographic of uses. 


Owned Media is a long-game strategy and truly takes time, effort, and consistency to pay off in reach, frequency, and conversions. 

Owned Media Examples

  • Branded website
  • Blogs, Vlogs, Product Demos
  • Social Media
  • Google My Business

Tips for High Performance Owned Media 

  • Link everything on your owned content back to your brand’s website. Shamelessly. 
  • Mix four pillars of content to give a well-rounded experience of your brand: a little sales, information, funny facts, and amazing graphics – make it interesting. 
  • Be consistent

What is Earned Media?

Earned Media is any kind of external promotion through word of mouth, testimonials, and user-generated content that your brand earns organically. And it’s free. 

Contrary to paid and owned media, there is no control of messaging or outcomes. However, earned media is known to help build trust with your customers through a sort of third-party, objective support. The ultimate goal of earned media is to maintain a positive overall opinion of your brand and connection to trust. 

And trust … well, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family, which sort of speaks for itself. 

This is easily measurable through a sentiment analysis tool.

Earned Media Examples

  • Media coverage
  • Reviews
  • Search Results
  • Social media shout outs

Tips for High-Performance Earned Media 

  • Respond to all feedback and comments from potential and current customers. Be professional, honest, and helpful, which will help generate positive feedback and positive earned media
  • Nurture connections with social media, email, customer service, and UX
  • Share your content on as many media channels as you can blog posts, news releases, and other related, engaging content. 

Why Your Brand Needs All Three

There’s no sugar coating it … people have very, very short attention spans these days, so being consistent in an everywhere-they-turn sort of way, keeps brands at the top of mind awareness.

If your brand is recognized, easy to follow, and quickly communicates a strong message across multiple platforms, posts and ads, it becomes more and more memorable. 

Through a multi-prong approach to branding, using paid, owned, and earned media, brands can now attract the audience they want with targeted ads and then support the brand through consistent trust and brand messaging on owned platforms. 

As we said before, the best brands … have balance. 

Ready to get balanced and multi-faceted in your messaging? Get at us at StellaPop – we love a good, clear, succinct plan!

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