Paid, earned, shared and owned media – what’s the difference?

Using multiple media strategies across different media types is a great way to raise your brand’s awareness and credibility – and to reach wider audiences. However, understanding the difference between types of media strategies is the key to utilising them effectively.

PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned) is a media model strategy which categorises the various media types available. Originally, PR companies would focus on ‘earned’ and advertising companies focused on ‘paid’ media types. This meant that little attention was paid to the other two types of media.

In our current business climate, there is very little distinction between paid, earned, shared and owned. Many media types now cross the boundaries of two or more categories. Using a combination of these approaches has now been highlighted as imperative for brands’ communication success.

So, what do the different media types mean?

1. Paid media

As the name suggests, paid media involves an element of financial investment. It’s often cited as the best strategy for close control over who sees your content.

Paid media can include a number of things, such as purchased advertising spaces, spend on influencer marketing or investment into SEO (most commonly, PPC).

However, paid media is declining in trustworthiness and effectiveness as audiences become more critical. It’s important to consider how this can link to different media types. Whatever you’re posting will most commonly link to owned or earned media – depending on the type of content that you’re looking to put directly in front of your audience.  

2. Earned media

Simply put, earned media refers to any exposure – online or offline – for your business, that isn’t paid for by your business. This media is always published by a third party. This not only refers to editors/journalists, but also to influencers and bloggers.

Earned media often arises as a result of other marketing efforts, with news outlets, bloggers or even customers sharing reviews and positive content about your business. According to a recent study, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. This is only going to increase further, highlighting the importance of this media type in modern business.

two speech bubbles with star reviews

3. Shared media

Shared media refers to content posted on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s often considered as part of owned media, as your brand owns the individual platforms it posts on. This is another media type that is only growing in importance, as the average internet user now spends 145 minutes a day on social media.

However, shared media is important in its own right as each platform has particular nuances, which require different content strategies and/or approaches in order for your activity to make the most of each platform.

An image of a phone with a series of social media apps

4. Owned media

Owned media refers to media that a company has complete control over, including their website, blogs or social media channels.

Owned media allows businesses to have complete control over their content, tell their story and control their messaging, in the way they want to, without payment.

The PESO model – how effective is it?

The PESO model demonstrates how effective campaign plans should combine all four of the above-mentioned media types in order to be effective.

Dietrich (founder of the PESO model and CEO of Chicago based digital marketing agency Arment Dietrich) discusses the effectiveness of the PESO model with Obi Creative:

“The idea behind [the PESO model] is you have four media types that, when used together, create authority, build awareness, and generate qualified leads. You may lean more heavily on one or two of the media types, but don’t want to forget about the others.”

The PESO model offers a flexible approach that can be adjusted for the user’s needs. Each media type can be used together in different ways to form a desired outcome, tailored for your company.

For advice on how your brand can benefit from paid, earned, shared or owned media, get in touch with a member of the Kinetic team.

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