When executing a ground-breaking PR campaign that really gets people talking, given the highly fragmented media market, it’s imperative to have both paid and earned media to achieve true cut-through.  Social amplification, digital integration and a number of other elements make for an epic campaign too.

To understand why both earned and paid media is needed to create an impactful campaign, first we need to know the difference between the two. Paid media, as the name suggests, is any media coverage that you pay for. Think display advertising, sponsored editorial posts, boosted social posts and any other coverage that you put budget behind.

Earned media on the other hand is any coverage that you have earned organically, aka, not paid for. For example, a blog post, a journalist writing up a piece about your brand, or a social media comment that someone has written off their own back in response to your efforts.

As with everything, there’s pros and cons to each:

Earned media – the positives:

Credibility: Earned media coverage comes from a third party such as media, influencer, blogger or a customer and is therefore is unbiased, allowing to build credibility. Consumers are far more likely to trust your message when they read an earned review or write up.

Authenticity: People are more likely to engage with and believe something that has been crafted by a third party, then sponsored and paid for by your brand.

Awareness: Earned media, allows you to achieve reach, at a relatively low cost compared to advertising, and drive your brand’s awareness.

The negatives:

It’s ‘free’: As with everything in life, nothing is actually free! Earned media generally does still come about by paid methods, such as the fee you pay your PR agency.

Paid media – the positives:

Awareness: Boosting posts or advertising online builds brand awareness quickly which is imperative to get cut through during a campaign.

Control: When you have paid for coverage, you have full control over the messaging, which ensures a positive spin on your brand or product.

Target audience: With paid coverageyou can carefully select exactly who sees your editorial by choosing your target demographic.

The negatives:

Trust: Paid media can often be seen as just that. Of course, if your audience is aware that media is paid for, it dilutes your authenticity, message and impact.

Expense: Paying for coverage (or sponsored content) as well as the time and cost associated with setting the right paid campaign can get expensive, fast.  Particularly for small businesses or start-ups, which we often work with here at A99!

Competition: With both display and search advertising working on a bidding process, smaller companies can often be outbid by larger companies with hefty budgets.

Overall, whilst both earned and paid media are integral to really getting your brand’s messaging out there, the most crucial part of any PR campaign is the integration of both, something that we specialise in here at A99. Why not get in touch today to see how we can deliver an integrated campaign that will really put your brand on the map?

Agent Rach