Let’s be honest, we all love Gary Vaynerchuk and his story of success. His mentality about business and growth is unparalleled. He has said many intriguing and groundbreaking things in his vlogs and #AskGaryVee episodes. One major recurring theme he says on stage as well as one-on-one conversations is “don’t be romantic.” What he means is, don’t become romantic about one way of doing something or building something. Try the other avenues and options as well. The same principle can be applied to the debate over paid vs. earned media.

Owned Media Is A Given

Most articles out there, agencies, companies, what have you will cover paid media, earned media and owned media. Because we’re hot on the topic of growing through marketing and branding, we’re going to cover paid and earned. Owned media is the foundational content you have. It covers what you have existing right now within and around your brand: website, website content, vlogs, blogs, social media accounts, etc.

You have owned media already in one form or another. If you don’t have much or any, then the conversation we need to have with you is around content generation and creation. With those existing pieces of content, the two-sides question becomes: do I grow my business by paying for ads and blasting your name or do I grow organically with non-paid exposure. The former is the paid media, while the latter revolves around earned media.

Paid vs. Earned Media

Paid media is a large umbrella which includes, but isn’t limited to: Facebook ads, Google Adwords, Twitter Ads, Instagram ads, influencer marketing, YouTube video pre-roll advertising, a sales funnel, etc. The list goes on. Earned media is a lot less “on the surface” and a lot less visual. Direct referrals, word of mouth marketing, comments, mentions or tags, organic ranking as a result of posting your content  and SEO efforts. Although SEO is a form of paid media, what it yields would be considered earned. You earned media as a result of paying for exposure.

This falls under your marketing strategy and should be considered strongly. Revisiting your strategy every few months should be mandatory or if you have an agency on board with you, they should sit down with you and discuss monthly reporting to keep you aligned with your strategy.

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