Music Marketing

The Difference Between Owned, Paid, And Earned Media

For any artist, getting media exposure is important to the success of your music, but understanding the breakdown between owned, paid, and earned media is key to navigating the world of music promotion.

Guest post by Sara-Lena Probst of Blackbird Punk

What on is the difference between owned, paid and earned media? Find out in this post, quickly explaining the differences. Read On!

Owned, paid and earned media is the key to any digital strategy. Why? Because it resembles the mix of media forms that will make or break your strategy.

In the first place, simply knowing about the differences can help you a lot. Secondly, once you’ve got the differences you can go ahead and plan much better. After all, solid planning is one of the founding blocks of any success story.

What is more, in case you are working together with a team it’s really important to understand lingo like this. Also, when you yourself work in a music industry setting, knowing the different media types is key.

What are the differences between owned paid and earned media?

All three parts are important. However, there are also differences to them. Before we start, it’s important to understand that we are solely talking about the online world.

Media in the offline world works again in different ways. Just think about print magazines and billboard ads on a highway.

The good thing about online media his that you can have a direct influence in all of them. This means that you can actively use them for your strategy.

Owned paid and earned media

Owned Media

This term refers to all social media channels that you ‘own’ as in the ones where you post. Of course, if you have a Facebook profile, you don’t actually own it. However, this terminology is used in order to explain the level of access you have to it.

You can choose what to post, when to post it and how often to post something. Owned media also means any website you run or blog you are writing. Also, if you run a Newsletter then this is also called owned media.

The next best thing after access is that it is for free (most of the time). Yes, running a website costs money. However, not as much as running ads.

Paid Media

Here we are mainly talking about advertisements that you run on social media platforms. Again, with paid media, you have a great deal of independence. Technically, you can run as many ads as you like.

Also, you decide when to run an ad and what asset you’ll use. Asset means the photo for the Facebook post, for example. Or the video on YouTube for YouTube True View Ads.

However, you need to take this with a pinch of salt. Social media platforms that allow you to run ads also decide if they let the ads run. There are many guidelines on most platforms as to what you can run an ad on.

For example, if your music video shows a lot of naked skin, Google Ads might not let you run an ad on it. Likewise, if you violate Facebooks ads guidelines they can also punish you for this and not let your ad run.

At the end of the day you can be pretty sure that if you comply with any guidelines, you can run your ad. Moreover, you don’t need huge amounts of marketing money to run ads. This is also great because it means that you can get started at any time.

Earned Media

Here we are talking about media that is out of our reach or influence. For example, if you release a new album and somebody writes a blog post about it for free then this is earned media. You literally earned the media coverage.

This also leads to the best thing about earned media, is for free! That is why fan engagement is os important. The more your fans share and interact with you on social media, the more likely press people will catch up.

By all means, if a fan supports you and shares a great deal, then they become a tiny media outlet themselves. The term ‘something went viral’ comes straight out of the earned media corner.

However, the tricky part about earned media is to keep feeding the organism. That means that you need to be on top of your content schedule. Also, engage with your fans as much as possible. Answer every last comment and talk with your fans as much as you can.

Frequent data analytics in the backend can also help you understand your fans more. The more you understand your fanbase the more you can activate them help you earn media!

Owned paid and earned media is important for your digital strategy

Here you have it, a quick explanation about owned, paid and earned media. It is really important to understand those words. Even if you don’t work in online marketing yourself.

Being able to hold your team accountable can really make or break your career and success story. On the other hand side, if you work in the music industry as an expert it’s super important to know those words.

Even if you just work in publishing or accounting. Social media has become a huge thing for running successful music releases. Make sure you are up to date!


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