Distinguishing paid, owned, earned, traded, and shared media

Mark these distinctions to keep them straight, and remember the handy acronym POETS.

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So, what is shared media versus earned media versus owned media versus paid media? And what exactly is shared media?

The nuances can be especially challenging for junior folks cutting their teeth at PR agencies. I’ve seen more than a few otherwise bright eyes go full Cookie-Monster-googly when I discuss this topic in meetings.

An easy way to understand and remember the differences within the media landscape is an acronym Matter Communications came up with called: “POETS” (Paid, Owned, Earned, Traded, Shared). There are exceptions to all of these, and some of them can peacefully co-exist within other categories, but this will get you smart enough to be dangerous:

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