Paid, Earned and Owned Media

Digital Strategy Communications Video
5 mins


No one channel can reach all of your customers.

A successful digital marketing channel mix involves selecting a combination of channels, and leveraging their strengths and characteristics, to reach your desired target audiences.

Investment in the media is usually grouped into three categories, and each element of the paid, owned and earned media model (POEM) is important. They should all contribute to your marketing strategy.

Heard these buzzwords flying about but not sure what they mean? This video will help you uncover the meaning behind POEM and how using a variety of these channels helps mitigate risk.

If you have any questions you would like answered as part of our 'So' series, please get in touch and let us know.

Our podcast, 'The Digital Marketing Podcast' is in video format on our YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe for a brand new video podcast every week!




So, what is paid, owned and earned media?

So essentially, it's referred to as POEM for paid, owned and earned media. It's a way of categorizing together our digital channels – grouping things together. And it's got some advantages and disadvantages, but we can go through and talk about the different areas.


So should we start with paid media?

Yeah, so paid media is probably the most obvious, it is our paid for channels. It could be paid for advertising, but it also would include paid social media. And this is where you start to getting into some discrepancies of like, well, it's social media? But it fits into paid. So yeah, we're going to say paid social media advertising goes into the paid category.

What we're looking for is normally to have a blend of these three going on at any given time, and then we decide where we're going to weight them differently. It's one of those models that's fairly arbitrary, but we need to try and work out where it kind of fits together.


So what about owned media?

Right. This is where it gets interesting. So owned very obviously is your websites, because you own those, you've got control over them and your emails, because you own those and you've got control of that. But actually, the general argument is that your Facebook page or your LinkedIn profile is owned, because you have control over that.

Now I would argue, to some extent, you don't. Because at any point, the social media platforms can change things. It's how you define owned, isn't it?

Like if I own something, I have complete control of it. I do not have complete control of everything that happens on LinkedIn or TikTok or any of those platforms. But then some people even argue, well, actually your posts on those platforms are owned because you control those.

It's a little bit of a risky way of thinking about it because you might lose control of it at any point. Earned with a lowercase E.


So what about earned media?

So earned is your social media mentions, comments, your reviews and all those kinds of things. So definitely that part of social media. You may argue that actually your social posts go into your kind of earned area as well. So you can kind of categorize it that way.

I think it's useful because you can't rely on one area. And there's a lot of strategies where people are relying on one area that it's all about paid or it's all about their search optimization. And I think it just shows you that you need a blend. To have the maximum impact, but also to mitigate risk.

They're not all equally as powerful either. You know, if I've got earned media, like other people saying amazing things about my brand, my brand soars on that because they don't have a hidden agenda. But everybody knows a paid ad is, you know.

I think that's where like the earned stuff is particularly powerful, because generally it comes from genuine advocates who are, you know, fans of your brand or your service. Therefore, it has a lot more cut through when people come across it.

What I would say is that your owned is kind of a bit of a hygiene factor. You need to get it right. You need the best websites, the best emails, the best content. Your earned is where it's really at in terms of, you can make sure that you're getting that engagement, those reviews, that's the harder to get stuff. So that's really important. And then paid, well, if we can't really get visibility, then we're going to use that, but in an ideal world, you wouldn't do any paid at all because you wouldn't need to.

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