The Difference Between Paid, Owned and Earned Media
By Pete Winter

The Difference Between Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Make the most of your inbound marketing campaign by learning about the differences between paid media, owned media and earned media.

Inbound marketing is proving to be extremely successful for a wide range of businesses, and it can deliver great results for you too. But if you want to succeed, you’ll need to build a cross-channel engagement strategy. Each of the channels can be paid media, owned media or earned media. You need to know the differences between the three, the strengths of each, and how they can work together to meet your marketing objectives. Because when these three click into place, what you get is an inbound campaign that’s bound to succeed.

By focusing exclusively on paid, owned or earned media, your marketing campaign won’t achieve its full potential.

  • Paid-only carries limited authority
  • Owned-only may struggle to find an audience
  • Earned-only provides you no control over the message or the final goal.

But when you have a campaign that’s finely balanced to use paid media to find a targeted audience, earned media to gain authority and build relationships, and owned media to set the goals and message, you’re set for success.

Because when owned media, paid media and earned media work together, you’re going to meet all of your lead generation goals.


  • Owned media allows you to set the agenda, but can struggle to find an audience alone.
  • Paid media can reach a targeted audience, but carries no authority or impartiality.
  • Earned media provides authority, impartiality and an engaged audience, but you have no control over the message.
  • Balancing paid, owned and earned media removes the weaknesses each channel has.

To learn more about creating an effective inbound marketing strategy that leverages owned, paid and earned media, download “How to Create a Conversation Audit to Drive B2B Marketing Success

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