If you’re new to the world of marketing you’ll soon learn that buzzwords are king. The industry specific jargon you’ve seen referenced time and time again will inevitably become standard issue within a couple of weeks of working “in the industry”. Unfortunately, buzzwords are not entirely progressive forms of communication– and eventually certain terms lose their relevancy and are replaced by newer concepts that often times mean the same thing as the term it replaced with a few more facets/implications attached to the definition. A prime example of this is ‘earned media’ and ‘owned media’. Before continuing, let’s make sure the definition and differences between ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media are clear.
‘Earned media’ can mostly be attributed to Public Relations, or simply ‘PR’. If you’re working in the field of PR you probably spend quite a bit of time focused specifically on marketing the brand. The breakthroughs come when stories or advertisements are placed in a major publication or news outlet on national television. This is the type of accomplishment that prompts people into checking out your website because they spotted your brand name on something that is accessed by millions of people on a daily basis. When this occurs, you can consider the work you’ve done a success. This is the truest definition of earned media.
‘Owned media’ is the area of focus where social media reigns supreme. Owned media places a focus on content that you control such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The benefit of owned media is that you have complete control over the themes and messages that the brand you represent gives off to the general public. Though more risk is associated with owned media in comparison to earned media due to the owner taking full responsibility for what is being published about the brand he or she is trying to promote, the payoff can be valued at a much higher rate because it was self-generated and holds no obligations to other forms of media/outlets for its’ exposure. If owned media goes viral. The accomplishment is celebrated by only those within the company/brand. There is no need to thank or pay tribute to anyone outside of the immediate circle/union of developers/marketing team.
Though the differences between earned and owned media are apparent– the dividing line that separates these two forms of marketing has slowly begun to dissolve. The way in which the field of marketing has been developing so far in 2015 shows that no aspiring brand can reach the pinnacle of publicity without both earned and owned media. On top of that, good strategists must be able to differentiate what is working for their brand and what is not in a much more efficient manner than ever before. If even two hours a day are spent cultivating a network through a medium that has yet to produce any sustainable/profitable results, that medium must be severed from the brand’s overall marketing strategy so the time spent on that approach can be delegated to something that is proven to be more useful/efficient. While the overall goal of a marketing team is fairly cut and dry, the approach in which they take in order to achieve success is one with many twists and turns. The bottom line: adaptability is one of the most crucial traits in developing a successful team that can adequately market a budding idea. Otherwise, publicity will always be an uphill battle.