Before we can determine which form of media is most effective, we need to understand where these types fit into the publicity game at large. 

Media Tracks describes the media types as a three-legged stool, explaining that the different kinds “often work together, sometimes one pulls more weight than the others.” However, when synchronised, these efforts can accelerate a brand’s reach. 

As a PR pro, understanding these types of media is important because you need to know how to secure media coverage for your clients. 

Here, media update’s Taylor Goodman takes a deeper look at the different types of media: 

Let’s get into it:

What is earned media? 

As the name suggests, earned media is coverage you, well, earn. This means that you do not pay for or own this media (it’s free!) and that it’s generated organically

This kind of coverage could be word-of-mouth recommendations, customer reviews, mentions in interviews or influencer mentions. 

What sets earned media apart from the owned and paid types is that the customer is in control, and this is a major advantage for any brand managing to secure it. 

Why? Well, if you hear a product recommendation from a friend or family member, it’s likely to resonate with you because it comes from someone you trust. In the digital sphere, this is intensified because of how fast information spreads and how easily you can connect a large group of people. 

It is important to note that 83% of customers trust recommendations from people they know, as this highlights what makes earned media so powerful: Credibility

So if you’re trying to grow brand awareness, build a positive reputation and present your client’s brand as authentic, this may be the type of media for you! 

If you want to gain a clearer understanding of any mentions your brand is getting in the media, why not give a media monitoring service a try? 

What is owned media?

Although owned media often falls by the wayside in the debate of paid versus earned media, it shouldn't be! After all, why not use what you’ve already got to get ahead? 

Understanding this kind of media is pretty straightforward, as it is any form of media your brand owns. This could be anything from your client’s website or blog, to newsletters and its social media content on sites like Facebook or Twitter. 

Although a brand’s social presence usually counts as owned media, this isn't entirely true. Yes, a brand may have its own social media profiles, but it doesn't have much control over the discourse taking place on these platforms. 

Harvard Business Review aptly explains this stating that “most social media is rented, not owned. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are your landlords and you just lease the space.”

Social media aside, utilising owned media can help your clients take back the reins of their brand messaging — allowing you to put the business’ distinct voice out there. 

Take, for example, a client’s blog. If they consistently create high-quality, relevant content, they can gain media coverage based off of this.

What is paid media?

Yes, you guessed it — paid media is coverage that a brand has bought. I bet you didn't see that coming, right? 

Gartner expands on this, explaining that “paid media is an essential component of revenue growth and brand awareness for online businesses.” 

This could be anything from influencer integration, Google Ads or social media ads. Additionally, paid media could take the form of adverts in traditional media formats like television or radio. 

This form of media coverage is popular because it is tried and tested and promises results. Paid media is an easy approach to garnering exposure, as you pay for the ad software to do the work for you. Additionally, this kind of media is easy to track — meaning PR professionals can monitor performance and adjust their strategies based on what’s working and what isn't. 

Despite the many benefits of paid media, it is key to note that it’s the most expensive type of coverage to obtain. 

Understanding the different kinds of media coverage can help you make a more informed decision on which is best suited to your client’s brand. 

So, whether you pick one kind of coverage, or go with a combination of different types, remember that each brand is unique and you should tailor your approach to your business’ needs. 

PR pros, which type of media coverage do you think is most effective in growing brand awareness? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to learn more about media coverage and PR, then be sure to read Four metrics PR pros need to measure [Infographic].
*Image courtesy of Unsplash