4 Different Types of Media You Must Know

I’ve been getting a lot questions from people asking about the different types of media, what exactly do they mean and what must they know about them. Here you go! In the marketing world, there’s four different types of media that gets talked about:

  • Paid,
  • Earned,
  • Owned, and
  • Shared.

For almost 100 years the business world was only concerned with paid (advertising) and earned media (PR). And then the internet matured and birthed social media. Social media created the opportunity for every person in business to become a media company and to create owned and shared content, which businesses are scrambling now to learn, understand, and implement.

1. Paid Media. Paid media is what built big organizations during the mass advertising revolution. It’s advertising. You spend money for limited space in a newspaper or magazine, on a radio, bus or television program, on outdoor media, on websites, blogs, on Google, and even in New York City Times Square.

If you pay to put your message anywhere, it’s paid media. It’s expensive, it’s hard to measure, and it’s one of the few mediums to get your message out to the masses in a very fast and effective way.

If your industry is highly competitive, paid media maybe one of the best ways to communicate.

2. Earned media. Earned media is what you know as public relations (PR). It used to be that you hired a PR firm because of their deep relationships with journalists in your industry or nationally. Today services like HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is changing that by allowing you to develop a deep relationship with journalist cutting out the middle man. These relationships can help you tell your story so it would appear in your top trade publications, in the Wall Street Journal, or on the Good Morning America Show.

Stories told from a third-party perspective are always looked at as credible and trust-worthy. But PR firms are expensive, time intense, and there are no guarantees.

3. Owned Media. Owned Media is all about creating your own platform. This could be a digital property you own and control. It is where your loyal listeners, fans, and readers come together. It can be as simple as a podcast, newsletter, forum, blog or as complex as a self-hosted community. No matter what it is, it’s where you direct all internet traffic. It’s your living, breathing media.

Today the content you create is becoming even more important than the two types of media listed above, especially since the content you create can work as marketing.

I’m not talking about content on your website that talks about you. I’m talking about content that is valuable, interesting, and informational for your audience.

4. Shared Media. Shared media is about creating content that’s remarkable: worth making a remark about. Since most people spend a considerable amount of time on the internet (social media) having share buttons on your platform provides networked word-of-mouth publicity.

The first step to shared media is building contextual relationship with your audience. Lead by serving and people will follow. Spend time in the trenches. That means commenting on other blogs, participating in interest groups, answering questions on Q&A forums, communicating through social media, etc.

Don’t try to be on all of the social networks.  Facebook is most effective for B2C and LinkedIn is best for B2B. Choose the social media tool that best fits your audience (go into the trenches) and start there.

Note: At some point in your business you will need to use all four of these.

Question: Which two are you using in your business?

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