March 20, 2024

Paid vs. Earned Media: What Is the Difference?

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If you are contemplating revisiting your law firm’s marketing strategy to enhance audience engagement, expand brand awareness geographically, or improve the overall performance of your advertising campaigns, then you have come to the right place.

Harnessing the power of paid and earned media to elevate your marketing and advertising strategy will drive results in the right direction. Our public relations agency (Los Angeles) has all the tools and insights you need to make your brand stand out in the marketplace, but breaking through the clutter is where it all begins.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure your brand captures the attention of diverse consumers (i.e., your identified target market), sparking curiosity and driving engagement — this is where paid and earned media play a crucial role.

What Is Paid Media?

Paid media refers to any form of advertising that your firm intentionally pays for to promote content through paid placements. One of the simplest and most common ways to execute paid media is by purchasing ads on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

These social media sites offer user-friendly methods that allow businesses to boost their content and ads to reach a broader audience. By following step-by-step instructions, you can allocate your budget to increase the visibility of your firm or promote tailored messages.

Pro Tip: To achieve long-lasting results, you can reach out to our paid media agency in Los Angeles to guide you through the process with one-on-one assistance.


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Take Facebook, for instance. You can invest in boosting a creative ad designed for a new product launch. Through Facebook’s paid advertising interface, you can select the demographics or psychographics of your preferred audience, target specific locations, and determine the timeframe for your ads to appear.

After entering your credit card details, your ad will appear seamlessly within users’ Facebook feeds, aiming to capture their attention and prompt them to make a purchase or learn more about your brand.

Other examples of paid media include video ads, banner or pop-up ads, billboards, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. With paid media, you can expand your reach, increase visibility, and drive measurable results for your marketing efforts.

Pros and Cons of Paid Media

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Your business has full control over the ad campaign.It costs money and can get expensive. 
You can target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, increasing audience engagement.Many consumers distrust inorganic ads and may intentionally ignore them. 
It ultimately drives growth and revenue. 
It is easy to execute.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is the publicity your firm gains through organic (unpaid) or word-of-mouth marketing. This includes press coverage, social media shares and mentions, product reviews, or any other organic form of brand exposure.

Earned media is more unbiased than paid or owned media because it is an endorsement from a third party. In other words, the brand itself does not create, disseminate, or control it. As a result, earned media is a more authentic way for audience members to learn about your firm from impartial journalists or real people who have experienced your services first-hand.

Example of Earned Media

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Imagine a client who has worked closely with your law firm to resolve a personal injury case. Through dedicated one-on-one assistance from your expert attorneys, the client secures the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Ecstatic by the outcome, they share their positive experience on Yelp, reaching hundreds of potential clients.

The genuine enthusiasm conveyed in the review encourages people to call up your firm to handle their own legal matters. In this case, the Yelp review is a type of earned media. It helped bring in more customers to your business without you having to pay for advertising or offer any incentives.

Pros and Cons of Earned Media

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
It is free of cost!Your business does not have control over the content. 
It is genuine and trustworthy. Negative reviews or feedback can be detrimental to your brand image.
It can reach a broader and more diverse audience.

The Secret to Improving Your Digital Marketing Strategy

While we have covered earned and paid media, there is one more piece to the puzzle: owned media. Owned media is the content your brand creates. It encompasses the platforms and channels you control (or own), such as your website, blog, social media accounts, or email newsletters.

The best part about owned media is that you have the freedom to craft your own narrative. It gives you the power to disseminate the information that you want your audience to see. The true secret to elevating your digital marketing efforts is integrating these three types of media. Each serves a distinct purpose, contributing its own strengths to the overarching strategy.

By strategically blending earned, paid, and owned media, you not only broaden your reach but also maintain a consistent brand presence across various platforms. This integrated digital marketing approach ensures your content resonates with a diverse target audience while maximizing the visibility of your ads.

Reach Out to Us To Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Connect with us to learn more about the differences between earned, paid, and owned media, and discover how an integrated approach can boost audience engagement and yield desired results. Our public relations agency (Los Angeles) can enhance your business’s marketing initiatives and help you seamlessly incorporate earned and paid media into your strategy.

Horowitz Agency ranks as one of the top marketing and public relations firms in Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. Our team has years of experience and the results to back it up. We look forward to hearing more about your earned or paid media needs and discussing the public relations services that will best serve your business.

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