Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Traditionally PR has concentrated more on earned media than paid media. We’ve used paid media for branding and positioning with advertorials or sponsored content.  We placed ads to tell the brand’s side of a story when it was not getting covered by the media.

Now we have owned media: we publish our content on blogs, Facebook pages and online newsrooms. Brands have indeed become the media. Some brands and agencies are going one step further – hiring journalists cut loose by the media layoffs and publishing industry news sites (brand journalism.)

Earned media has morphed too – apart from the traditional mainstream media there are bloggers and industry influencers on Twitter with a large following who have to be included in your media relations plan. As Chris Elliott, blogger and writer for National Geographic, said to me recently: the public decides who has credibility and they choose where they get their news and information.

Paid media is definitely a shifting landscape. Branded content or native advertising is much more than the old advertorial. Wikipedia calls it a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing valuable content in the context of the user’s experience.

Where does paid media fit into Digital PR?

  • promoted videos
  • images
  • articles
  • promoted stories published on mainstream media sites alongside editorial recommendations
  • promoted tweets
  • Facebook ads and promoted stories
  • Tumblr’s promoted posts

Where is all this headed?

Twitter has signed an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating”for the US market. Under this agreement, Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter, slated for commercial availability at the start of the fall 2013 TV season.

“Twitter has become the world’s digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time. Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media.

Twitter has also closed deals with BBC America to display in-stream sponsor videos and Starcom MediaVest Group, a division of advertising giant Publicis.  According to AdAge the implications are clear: it’s both a big vote of confidence in Twitter and a sign of how seriously marketers are now taking the platform.

The Next Web says it’s possible that the agreement is part of an effort by Starcom MediaVest Group to take advantage of Twitter’s increased presence in the media scene, which I wrote about in a recent article.

The Role of Digital PR

Native advertising is based on storytelling.  Who better to tell brand stories than the PR people?  We know how to tell stories well. Now we need to learn how to:

  • Present stories digitally
  • Tell them in 140 characters
  • Add the right visual assets
  • Distribute them online to best effect
  • Track outcomes

Just as the lines between journalists and bloggers are blurring, so are the lines between advertising marketing and PR.  PR is not only about earned media anymore.  Learn to master owned media and paid media too.

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