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Christie McDougall

Christie McDougall

Paid, Owned and Earned content marketing: what’s the difference?

Content marketing, although not exactly the new kid on the block is arguably one of the harder online or digital marketing strategies to get right. Not actually because it’s technically difficult but because there are so many different avenues and types of content available for businesses to use.

In a nutshell, you can whittle these avenues down to 3 types of content marketing: Paid, Owned and Earned.

media content

1. Paid

Paid marketing is often referred to as “traditional marketing”because it includes everything from paid search campaigns and retargeting ads to professional video content production and sponsored posts. It can be costly, but when used as part of an overall marketing strategy is highly effective and gives marketers control over the content and creative elements. This can go a long way to essentially setting up your brand and what people see of you online.

2. Owned

Owned media is content that is created and managed in house. It includes your website (and blog pages) and social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Owned media can often get left by the wayside or not deemed as important as Return on Investment (ROI) is not as easily measured as with paid media. This is a huge mistake though as it’s an invaluable asset and should be updated regularly.


3. Earned

Earned media is one of the most undervalued assets in modern marketing and is often misunderstood. Earned media can include traditional word of mouth, but also customer success stories in the form of blogs, reviews, and testimonials. There is abundant research that suggests buyers will favour the opinions of their peers when making purchasing decisions (as opposed to a company telling customers their products are great) so the value of earned content should never be underestimated.

The conclusion

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to take a holistic approach and utilise all forms of media available, and not in an ad-hoc fashion either. Having some paid media, and owning a website and social media page is not going to automatically create success. Having a website and landing designed for conversions that has paid advertising pointing to it, in combination with a social media strategy specifically promoting social sharing and engagement, on the other hand – well that will see your business be a clear winner.

If your business needs help with creating a cohesive and high-converting content media strategy then give us call – we’re experts and would love to help!


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Christie McDougall
Christie McDougall

Christie is our Digital Strategy manager and looks after our playbook process. Although she is most skilled in Social Media and PPC and helped TheOnlineCo. achieved Facebook Marketing Partner status, she has a comprehensive and thorough knowledge of marketing in a digital world. She uses her talents in strategy and planning to help clients understand exactly how to grow their business online and have all their marketing efforts pulling together in a collaborative effort, thereby achieving scale and cost efficiencies.

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