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Healthcare Marketing Glossary

Earned & Owned Media

Owned media is content you create and control, like your Facebook page or your website, while earned media is content others create about you, like reviews, external blog content o...

Earned & Owned Media are two distinct methods of communication that brands use to reach and engage with their target audience. Both are critical components of an effective marketing strategy, but they serve different purposes and require different approaches.

What is Earned Media?

Earned Media refers to any publicity or coverage that a brand receives from external sources, such as media outlets, influencers, and customers. It is “earned” because it is not directly controlled by the brand, but is generated through the organic sharing of information about the brand or its products and services.

Earned Media can be highly influential in shaping public perception of a brand. It can come in many forms, including:

  • Digital PR: News articles and mentions in traditional media outlets
  • Online reviews and customer testimonials
  • Influencer mentions and product reviews
  • Word-of-mouth referrals from customers
  • Social media mentions and shares

Earned Media can be incredibly powerful in spreading brand awareness and building a positive reputation. However, because it is beyond the control of the brand, it can also carry risks, including negative press or customer complaints that spread rapidly through social media.

What is Owned Media?

Owned Media refers to the platforms and channels that a brand controls and uses to directly communicate with its audience. This includes a brand’s website, social media accounts, email marketing campaigns, and other digital or offline channels that the brand has direct control over.

Owned Media provides a brand with a direct line of communication with its target audience, allowing the brand to control the message and content it wants to share. Owned Media channels provide a level of control and predictability that is not possible with Earned Media.

Owned Media can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Building brand awareness and reputation
  • Driving traffic to the brand’s website or other online channels
  • Nurturing relationships with customers and prospects
  • Generating leads and sales
  • Sharing important information and updates about the brand or its products and services

Owned Media is a critical component of an effective marketing strategy, as it gives brands the ability to communicate with their audience in a direct and controlled way.

The Benefits and Challenges of Earned and Owned Media

Both Earned and Owned Media offer unique benefits and challenges, and it is important for brands to understand the strengths and limitations of each in order to make the most of their marketing efforts.

Benefits of Earned Media

  • Can reach a large, diverse audience: Earned Media can spread quickly through social networks and word-of-mouth, reaching a broad and diverse audience that may not have otherwise been exposed to the brand.
  • Adds credibility to the brand: When a brand receives positive press or customer recommendations, it adds credibility and legitimacy to the brand in the eyes of potential customers.
  • Can be more cost-effective than advertising: Earned Media is typically more cost-effective than traditional advertising, as it does not require the same level of investment in media buys or creative development.

Challenges of Earned Media

  • Beyond control of the brand: Because Earned Media is generated by external sources, it is beyond the control of the brand, which can lead to negative press or customer complaints that spread quickly and negatively impact the brand’s reputation.
  • Can be unpredictable: It can be difficult for brands to predict or control the outcome of Earned Media, making it challenging to fully leverage its potential benefits.

Benefits of Owned Media

  • Direct control over the message: With Owned Media, a brand has complete control over the content it shares and the message it wants to convey.
  • Ability to reach specific target audiences: Owned Media allows brands to target specific segments of their audience based on demographic or behavioral data.
  • Consistent and measurable: Owned Media provides a consistent and measurable way for brands to communicate with their audience, making it easier to track and analyze results.

Challenges of Owned Media

  • Limited reach: Owned Media channels typically have a more limited reach than Earned Media, as the audience is made up of people who have already engaged with the brand in some way.
  • Requires ongoing effort and investment: Owned Media requires ongoing effort and investment to maintain and grow, making it a long-term commitment for brands.
  • Can be time-consuming: Creating and sharing content through Owned Media channels can be time-consuming, requiring resources and attention that could be directed elsewhere.


Earned and Owned Media are both critical components of an effective marketing strategy, offering unique benefits and challenges for brands. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each, brands can create a comprehensive and well-rounded marketing plan that leverages the power of both Earned and Owned Media.

To maximize the impact of their marketing efforts, brands should consider a combination of Earned and Owned Media, using Earned Media to build credibility and reach a broad audience, and Owned Media to communicate directly and consistently with their target audience.

Earned & Owned Media FAQ

What is the difference between earned and owned media?

Earned media is publicity gained through word-of-mouth recommendation, press coverage, customer reviews, and other unpaid forms of communication. Owned media refers to company-created platforms such as a corporate blog, website, or newsletter.

What are the benefits of using earned and owned media?

Using both earned and owned media can help businesses increase brand recognition, reach new audiences, generate leads, and create valuable customer relationships. It also helps companies to stay top-of-mind with their target audience.

Which channels are best for earning and owning media?

The best channels for earning media include customer reviews, public relations, influencer partnerships, and word-of-mouth marketing. For owned media channels such as a website or blog are effective. Social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter can be highly beneficial too.

What kind of content should I use for earned and owned media?

The type of content you choose for your earned and owned media campaigns will depend on the goals of your campaign, as well as your target audience. Generally speaking, interesting and visually appealing content works best, such as videos, blog posts, infographics, e-books, etc.

How can I measure success in earned and owned media?

Metrics such as engagement rates (likes, shares), referral traffic from websites and blogs, brand impression numbers, sentiment analysis (positive vs negative sentiment towards your brand) can help you track the effectiveness of your earned and owned media campaigns. Additionally looking at sales metrics such as website conversions or lead generation metrics can be beneficial.

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