Content Marketing – Paid, Owned, Earned Media

In content marketing, everything is about the customer. After all, the aim is to entertain, inform or convince them. But companies also have their own content requirements. It should be produced efficiently, have a certain “life span” and improve visibility on the web.

Media Types

Customers come into contact with a company’s content via various media. Generally, three different types of media can be distinguished: Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media.

Paid Media

As the name suggests, paid media are media such as search engine ads, display ads or social ads, that the company pays for. The primary goal is to increase brand awareness and reach as many interested parties as possible. Depending on the channel selected, target group-specific targeting is possible.


  • Direct response
  • High range possible
  • Precise control and management (e.g. costs)


  • Rather low response
  • A lot of competition (depending on topic)
  • Low credibility
  • Can be perceived as intrusive

Owned Media

Owned media refers to the company’s own media. This includes own websites, social media channels, blogs, newsletters, etc. The own media form the basis for the entire online communication, to which all types of media can be linked. The aim here is to create a brand experience for interested parties.


  • Monitoring and control
  • Adaptable to the target group
  • CI-compliant design possible


  • Time and resource intensive
  • Medium credibility

Earned Media

Earned Media cannot be directly controlled, but is created by mentions, likes, comments in social media or by organic links, quotes, etc. on other websites. This response must be earned. This is best achieved through particularly high-quality and unique content that is often shared.


  • High Credibility
  • Interactive
  • Long-term impact


  • Can also be negative (e.g. shit storm)
  • No direct control (trial & error)
  • Requires highlights (e.g. product differentiation, price, or creative idea)
  • Difficult to measure
  • Must be built up over the long term

How can the Media Types be Used?

The three media types work hand in hand and can complement or even reinforce each other. The task is therefore to combine them in a target-oriented way and to record or feed them with different content formats. How to make the best use of marketing resources depends on many factors:

  • What is the objective of the company? (e.g. range vs. conversions)
  • How competitive is the industry? (Costs for paid media)
  • How does the target group behave online? (e.g. social media in B2B environment)
  • How established is the company’s website/webshop?

Content Marketing in Practice

The biggest challenge is to understand the users and to use content in a targeted way building on each other via suitable channels. Today, companies often rely mainly on paid media, as the positive effect is directly visible and easily measurable. The importance of Owned Media is well known, but due to the rather long-term effect and the tedious creation of own content often receives too little attention. It should not be forgotten that paid and earned media usually lead to the own channels so there is no way around high-quality content. Increasing organic visibility may be tedious, but in the long run it is the most efficient way to get or stay in contact with interested parties.
It is now known that content created primarily for search engines no longer works. Texts with an excessively high keyword density or purchased backlinks are at the expense of comprehensibility and user-friendliness and have not led to higher rankings in organic search results for some years. Google is constantly working on the algorithm to be as close as possible to users’ needs and to rank the most relevant results the highest.
In lifestyle-oriented brands with a strong marketing focus, it has been clear for some time that content is used with a customer/user-oriented strategy and a lot of resources. The benchmark is Red Bull. Red Bull uses high-quality content in many different media and achieves a very high reach and interaction due to the relevance and uniqueness of the content.

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