Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes

Owned, paid, earned, and shared media explained

Episode Summary

If you do your own business marketing, or even if you hire someone to do it for you, the terms owned, paid, earned and shared media will surely come up. But the big question is, how familiar are you with what they actually mean and all the content options that go with them? In this week's podcast, I break down these terms so you can understand their individual importance, but also how they all work together to help your business attract new customers and keep the ones you already have! Listen in now for all the details.

Episode Notes

Hi everyone, thank you for joining me again. 

In today’s episode, 'Owned, paid, earned, and shared media explained', I break down these four media channels so you create more strategic and integrated content.

Understanding these four media channels, knowing when to use them and how they work together is critical, whether you do your own business marketing or whether you pay someone else to help you.

Owned, paid, earned, and shared media explained: 

02:07 What is owned media?

03:08 What is paid media?

04:19 What is earned media?

05:27 What is shared media?

06:51 How all four media channels work together

07:23 To recap

Remember to listen to the full episode for all the details.

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Enjoy the rest of your day. I'll see you in the next episode.

Simone 🌸

Location: Gold Coast, Australia.

Episode Transcription

Owned, paid, earned, and shared media explained

We all need to create content to promote our businesses if we want to attract new customers and keep the ones we already have. 

The most successful business owners don’t rely on just one media channel to distribute their content.

To build brand awareness and generate more business, they count on the compound effect of all the different channels working together.

These are known as owned, paid, earned, and shared media.

Understanding these four media channels, knowing when to use them, and how they all work together is critical, whether you do your own business marketing or whether you pay someone else to help you.

So, if you’re ready to improve your content and your online marketing, keep listening.

Hi, I’m Simone Cunningham, a content marketing and public relations expert with more than 20 years of industry experience. Every week I share actionable tips in content, marketing, video, interviewing and public relations. So you can attract customers, develop a reputation as a thought leader, and take your business from invisible to in demand. 

To learn more, visit me at If you want to chat with me about my business marketing services or online training courses you can book a call with me. The link is in the show notes.

There’s no doubt that content marketing has become one of the fastest-growing marketing tactics.

It’s complex, for sure.

To make it a little easier, today we’ll break down the different types of content we use in our business marketing by grouping them under the four main channels: owned media, paid media, earned media, and shared media. 

So, let’s get started.

What is owned media? 

This is simply any content that you create, have control over, and maintain.

This type of content has three main goals: to engage prospects with valuable content, drive conversions, and build customer relationships.

Examples of owned media include:

It’s important to remember that the more owned media channels a business has, the greater its digital footprint and the more likely it is to reach new customers and followers.

Owned media is your little piece of public relations paradise, where you’re in complete control of the messaging, the content you create, the audiences you’re targeting and how you distribute it.

It can never be taken away from you.

What is paid media?

Paid media is any type of content or marketing channel that involves payment. Otherwise known as advertising. No doubt you’re very familiar with this. 

In digital marketing, paid media is used to direct traffic to existing content and encourage earned media (which we’ll get to later). 

Examples of paid media include:

Paid media is essential for building brand awareness and amplifying your reach across various platforms. 

Paid media strategy

Generally, you should consider allocating a dedicated amount of at least 20% of your overarching campaign budget to paid media.

In recent years, it’s also become your best strategy for better targeting and controlling who’s seeing your content. 

It’s also how you get your owned content noticed in a very busy online landscape. 

For example, your social media ads can directly link to a piece of content you want your audience to read, download or watch—such as your website landing page, lead page, blog article, or video.

But unfortunately, it’s also become veerrryy expensive for businesses to compete in this environment, with the cost of advertising on social media and pay-per-click becoming increasingly unaffordable for many.

What is earned media?

This brings us to our next channel, earned media. Earned media is any media, brand mentions, or conversations that come voluntarily from others. 

A third-party endorsing your brand or product is something you’ve achieved organically or ‘earned’ and for this reason, it holds greater value not just for you, but also in the eyes of your audience.

This is the type of media you can’t pay for, but it’s my favourite type because it’s priceless exposure. It’s also known as public relations or publicity.

Examples of earned media are:

Earned media is the flow-on effect of your owned and paid media performing well. It’s your reward for all your hard work.

How to get earned media coverage

That being said, you’ve got to be extremely proactive in the early days to build momentum to secure that earned media coverage. As the name suggests, you must earn it.

So, how do you do that without appearing, desperate or too in-your-face?

Well, it comes down to relationship building, and also, being nice goes a long way. 

If you want to get noticed by online publications, podcast hosts, video channels and bloggers who will promote your brand, start by reaching out to those whose work you admire.

Contact them via social media, leave comments on their posts and email PR story pitches that are relevant and well thought out. 

Remember to check out my very first podcast - 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted to learn more about this.

Lastly, you also need to actively check out platforms that connect you to journalists, bloggers and podcast hosts such as SourceBottle, HARO and Podbooker

I give you my full list and show you how to secure earned media exposure for your business in my online Publicity Boss training courses. The link is in my show notes.

What is shared media?

This brings us to our last media channel, shared media.

Shared media is the newest addition to our channels. Essentially, it’s, as the name suggests, the content that’s shared on your social media platforms.

Examples of shared media include:

You might be thinking, “wait, what?” Don’t I own the content I’m posting? 

Well, you do, but you share it with the owners of those social media platforms. 

Remember when in February 2021, Facebook blocked Australian users from sharing news content on its site?

It was very clear then that at any time we could lose anything or everything we’d built on social media, including our content and followers. So, yes, indeed it is shared media.

What makes shared media different from earned media or public relations, is the combination of content marketing and social media marketing in order to generate it.

Creating a positive brand image in shared media and content marketing is where many businesses are spending the majority of their time and financial resources.

How your owned, paid, earned, and shared media strategies work together 

That being said, you also need to develop an overarching strategy where your owned, paid, earned, and shared media strategies are working together. 

You need to see the big picture, so you know what content you can share across all four media channels.

The right balance depends on your industry, your budget, your goals, and how much time you want to spend implementing them. 

The best strategy is one that leverages the benefits of each channel while cross-promoting all your content to reach a wider audience.

To recap:

What is owned media?

What is paid media?

What is earned media?

What is shared media?

I hope you found today’s episode valuable. 

If you’re ready to take your content to the next level and need a real plan to get there. Get in touch with me. 

In a free 30-minute session, I’ll help you to identify content opportunities in your business so you can attract more customers through organic marketing strategies. If you’d like to take me up on the offer I just mentioned, I’ve popped the link in the show notes.

Also, remember you can join my Facebook Community, Media and Content Strategies for Driven Business Owners for more tips on how to generate free publicity for your business. I’d love to see you in there.

To learn more about my business services and 1:2:1 online training courses visit my website: