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What's the difference between news, social, and web media?

By Becca McClure

News, social, and web media all have big differences.When it comes to public relations, the term “media” relates to different channels a brand might use to communicate.


Axia Public Relations focuses on earned media, shared media, and owned media. We prefer calling it news, social, and web since people are more familiar with those terms. Your company’s PR campaign should include all three categories.


News media is when you’ve earned the opportunity, often through media relations, to appear in a news story. It’s also when you submit and pitch your company for an award, speech, or presentation.

Social media is user-generated content on shared media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Wikipedia, Yelp, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

Web media is content you’ve created. You have full control over when and where it appears (e.g., your website, blog, webinars, etc.).



Let’s look at each type of media more in depth.


What is news media?

News media describes content that a third party creates relating to your brand, products, and services. It's the coverage you receive on sites other than your own.


News media, or earned media, coverage comes from media relations. It’s getting your company, product, service, expert, opinion, and ideas included in a news story – online, in print, and on radio, TV, podcasts, etc. It’s when a newspaper or industry trade publication (blog, magazine, website) features and quotes your brand. It’s appearing on local and national TV morning shows or the evening news. It’s what most people think of when they think of PR. Some might call this publicity. *


Axia manages media relations for regional and national companies. Axia has secured news coverage for its clients in outlets like USA Today, CNBC, and Forbes. 


In addition to news media coverage, news media includes mentions on social media, reviews, feedback, and blog posts referencing your brand or company.


What is social media?

Social media, or shared media, is constantly evolving and continues to build beyond just marketing and customer service team use. Organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communication internally and externally.


Some suggest that social media is news media. However, because social media companies technically lease or license an account to you and have the ability to take it away at any time per their terms and conditions, we prefer to view this as shared media.


What is web media?

Web media, or owned media, describes channels you control. It’s the content you create for your website and blog as well as e-books, white papers, presentations, etc. You fully control the content and its distribution. (If you can add, edit, and delete the content, you probably own it.)


* Most PR pros frown on using the word “publicity.” It sounds gimmicky and doesn’t represent the strategic approach that smart PR programs strive for. Axia prefers the terms “earned media coverage” and “positioning.”


Axia Public Relations moves beyond traditional PR by utilizing news, social, and web media to help you create a targeted, effective plan for increased visibility and brand loyalty that ensures you’re getting the most from your PR investment. Download our complimentary e-book “Maximize Your Public Relations Investment” today.

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IMG_3217 3.12.12 PMBecca McClure is a passionate public relations professional who works on various clients’ social media accounts and public relations campaigns. Clients love her infectious positive attitude and her strong work ethic. Becca joined the Axia Public Relations team in February 2016. Learn more about Becca McClure.


Topics: social media, news media, web media

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