Paid Media vs. Earned Media

Understanding the Value of Media Placement

You’ve heard it all before

We have all heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” right? It goes without saying that putting your brand out there for people to see will inevitably provoke some type of response, whether big or small. Even if only one person happens to see your ad that is one more potential customer than you had before.

Know What You Pay For… Or What You Don’t Pay For

While it is good to get your brand out there, it is equally as important to understand what type of advertising is the best fit for your business. In the world of advertising, there is paid media, and there is earned media. While these are both effective methods, the impact and objective of each are very different. With paid media, it means simply what it says. A business pays to have an ad of their choice featured in the media vehicle of their choice. Earned media, on the other hand, is publicity written or produced at no cost which promotes a particular business, product, service or brand.

Paid Media vs. Editorial Mention

There are many pros and cons to both paid media and earned media. When it comes to paid media you write the check for it and, therefore, you call the shots. There is a nice sense of freedom with being able to leverage your advertising positioning in a publication or negotiate added value in addition to your media buy. The downside of paid media is people know that you’ve paid for placement which may not have as much impact as perceived unbiased mention which comes with earned media. With earned media, it is free but the editor/producer calls the shots and you can end up on the cutting room floor at the last minute as publications, shows, etc. come down to last minute editing. Readers are often more influenced by earned media than paid because mention from a famed editor or producer without being paid to play so to speak, gives the product, service, business or brand a sense of being “discovered” by said expert.  This instantly builds credibility with the reader and at no cost to you. The catch with getting editorial mention is that it can be hard to do. It is often said that the value of earned media is equal to three times that of the paid media rate. The reason for this is because editors/producers are bombarded constantly with new products, brands, etc. and making the cut to be featured puts your business in rarified air.  Your best chance at getting an editor to feature your business is by using a professional advertising agency who can forge the way to developing media relationships.

Find the Right Fit

It is important when considering your advertising and public relations budgets to think about your overall objectives. Paid media is often a necessary and highly-effective component to a comprehensive branding strategy.  Investing budget dollars towards earned media can be a little tough to swallow because the results are not always immediate and there is never a guarantee of earned media mention. That said, editors and producers typically frown upon hearing from the company itself in a vein of self-promotion and results are much more likely when represented by a public relations professional.

We’re 24 Communications, an advertising agency in Montgomery, Alabama. If you are looking for award-winning creative design and strategy for your paid media placement or public relations services to help land earned media exposure, we’re here to help. If you would like to learn more about our comprehensive list of advertising agency services, please let us know.

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