If you’ve ever received a positive review of your products, had your brand mentioned in an article, or had a celebrity endorse your product (for free), you’ve experienced earned media.

Even if you haven’t been so lucky (yet), there’s lots of ways to encourage this type of free publicity. Here, we explain what earned media is, why it’s valuable and effective, and how to build a successful strategy for your brand.

What is earned media? 

Earned media is any type of coverage or promotion your business receives that you didn’t pay for or create yourself. This includes social media posts, positive reviews, and media coverage from newspapers or other news sources. Word-of-mouth referrals can be considered earned media. 

If your company got a positive review on Google after building a solid reputation, you earned it. Earned media is one of the most powerful ways to grow your brand presence, whether you sell donuts, t-shirts, or financial services. 

How does earned media relate to owned and paid media? 

Earned, owned, and paid media can all look similar—especially on social media. The difference lies in who is creating content for your business and whether you paid for it.

Owned media

Owned media is any content you or someone from your company creates to communicate and engage with your audience. This includes your business website, blog, social media channels, email newsletters, mobile apps, white papers, and ebooks. Even though Meta owns Instagram, the posts you publish to your account are considered owned media because you control the content. 

Paid media

Paid media, known as paid advertising, includes any media coverage or ads you paid for. This includes display ads on websites, sponsored social media posts, influencer brand mentions you paid for, search engine advertising (such as pay-per-click ads), and native advertising (sponsored content that mimics the platform’s editorial content). 

Earned media

Earned media is publicity your brand…

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