Earned media vs. paid media: A 7-point list of benefits

Use this compare-and-contrast checklist to clarify the distinctions for your clients.

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In the process, the line between earned media and paid media is getting more blurred than in the past. Marketing and SEO companies that pay for placement are competing for PR business, and leaving those of us in PR industry explaining why we’re getting fewer media hits.

Though there can be value in going the paid social media route, there’s a clear distinction between paying for play and earning coverage—and the benefits are totally different.

Earned media, for instance, can help bring a client more credibility and foster real conversations with customers. Paid media is a good tool for clients who need to get the word out quickly via a one-way, broadcast model.

At the firm where I work, we use the list below to help our clients understand the different benefits of earned media and organic social media versus paid media and seeded social media:

Earned media fosters authentic conversations.
Paid media pushes information out.

Earned media helps drive consumer engagement.
Paid media is based on a one-way, bullhorn model.

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