Strategic Media – What’s Best?

Written by Haley Brown

When conducting a social media audit for a client, the final piece of the plan is recommendations for the client moving forward. Recommendations involve suggesting a variety of combinations of paid, owned, and earned media. There are pros and cons of using all of the types and there are many opinions of which is best. One article concludes that for each client a different strategy is necessary, but most campaigns will include a mixture of all.

The breakdown of the three is:

Paid Media

Paid media is something that is paid for, like search advertising, advertisements on social media, and sponsored content. With this type of media, a thorough plan is necessary along with a “compelling call-to-actions driven largely by customer benefits,” according to Daniel Newman.


  • Declining engagement
  • Overlap and repeating ads
  • Lack of credibility

Owned Media

Owned media is something created and owned by your business, like your social media, your website, and content you create. When using owned media it’s important to have strong content and be aware of your audience.


  • Needs to be a trusted company
  • Takes time to create strategies and build relationships with customers
  • No guarantees

Earned Media

Earned media is what steers people to your content, like blog mentions, media coverage, and social media conversations. When thinking about how engaged your audience is, earned media is a great way to gauge that.  Earned media often turns consumers into brand influencers. Earned media works best alongside owned and paid media.



  • Do not have control
  • Possibility of being negative
  • Hard to evaluate and measure


Using all three types of media can help to engage all types of consumers and display content that reaches the overall goal. The best mixture of all three types of media will allow a client to have not just a large fan base, but an engaged one that shares and interacts online with the brand. Distribution of content will have a strategic reach and won’t overcrowd consumers with advertisements, owned media, and influencers. Content can be placed thoughtfully to intrigue newly-interested consumers and different content can be produced to turn a consumer into a brand ambassador.

It is clear that the use of all three is crucial for a well-rounded brand to grab its audience’s attention and keep it. To turn interested people into people that actively want to endorse a brand says a lot about the content produced by that brand.


Twitter: @haleybrownUO

LinkedIn: Haley Brown

This Article Has 2 Comments
  1. Ani Clifford says:

    It is interesting to see how companies need owned, paid and earned media in order to be successful. I agree that it is important for a company to incorporate these three aspects to create a well-rounded brand. Earned media is very interesting to me because it definitely shows how and why people interact with a company. It shows how consumers appreciate authenticity over anything else. In the society we are in now with brand influencers, it is interesting to see how earned media is changing and more people are representing their favorite brands in different ways.

  2. Jeanne Schneider says:

    You make an interesting point here about paid media. There is definitely a lack of credibility, but the recommendation of including a benefit to a consumer can help increase credibility of paid media posts.If there’s a benefit to your end consumer in the paid post, they likely won’t even notice it’s a paid post – they’ll think it was tailored specifically for them.

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