Over the years, I’ve heard many businesspeople say, “I’m not sure what PR is, but I know our company needs it.”
When people think of public relations, they tend to associate it with news coverage. This is what PR pros call “earned media.” The dictionary defines earned media as “publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising.”
When your company receives a mention, quote, or feature story in the news, it’s earned media.
You can’t buy or own earned media. It depends on third parties — typically news outlets or social media audiences — to give recognition and gain a following. This can be done through communication channels, such as news outlets, social media, and word-of-mouth. These mass media news outlets tend to be newspapers, magazines, radio, television, websites, podcasts, social media, blogs, and email newsletters. It might syndicate across platforms and affiliations of network newsgroups.
Public relations is more than just earned media coverage. Smart PR programs include entering and earning company awards, conducting speaking engagements to the industry and communities you serve, producing podcasts, managing crisis communications, positioning a company and its executives as thought-leaders, managing social media communities and engagement, developing helpful blog posts to attract more site visitors, and creating engaging website content that makes visitors want to opt into your content, premium downloads, and notifications.
There are many types of media available to marketers, and these fit into four broad categories: paid, earned, shared, and owned media. This is now commonly referred to as PESO.
At Axia Public Relations, we refer to paid media as advertising, earned media as news media, shared media as social media, and owned media as web media. Professional communicators know it’s easier and more consumer-friendly to minimize industry jargon because when you communicate in a language everyone easily understands, credibility and learning greatly improves.
Paid media (advertising)
Paid media refers mostly to traditional advertising, such as print, radio, television, billboards, banner ads, search advertising, etc. It’s media activity related to a company or brand that the company or its agents generate.
Axia’s not an advertising agency; we’re PR professionals. And unlike many ad agencies posing as PR firms, we stay in our lane because our clients deserve expertise. Therefore, we don’t attempt to have expertise in paid media. (Related: Why you should never let an advertising agency do your PR.)
However, we occasionally assist a client with paid opportunities that are reasonable for a PR firm, such as amplifying earned media coverage or posting a news release on a paid press release wire service like PRNewswire or BusinessWire. We recommend all our social media programs have some funds available for boosting posts and sponsoring content on social media platforms.
So in addition to news media, our PR firm focuses on social media and web media.
Earned media (news media)
Earned media is when you use media relations to earn the opportunity to appear in a news story. People consume news for information, education, and entertainment. We include speaking engagements, winning awards, guest appearances on podcasts, spokesperson media training, and crisis management among our PR news services.
Shared media (social media)
Shared media is online, user-generated content. This includes social networking, online reviews, reputation management, influencer marketing, influencer sites like groups and Q&As, and other sites featuring user-generated content. People turn to such media to share and discover content.
Owned media (web media)
Owned media is content you’ve created and have full control over. This includes your website, blog, newsroom, search engine optimization, inbound marketing, email marketing, landing pages, etc. People intentionally visit websites to find specific content.
The right PR firm can help your company get in front of consumers in a meaningful way and demonstrate your value, which will ultimately increase your profitability. Download our e-book “Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment” today for strategies to help you extend the reach of your PR investment.
Clients love Jason’s passion, candor and commitment as well as the team he has formed at Axia Public Relations. He's advised some of America’s most admired brands, including American Airlines, Dave & Buster’s, Hilton, HP, Pizza Hut and Verizon. He is an Emmy Award-winning, accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur and earned his certification in inbound marketing. He founded the PR firm in July 2002. Learn more about Jason.