The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations in 2020

Owned media includes:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog content
  • Website copy
  • Email newsletters

Owned media acts as a “home base” for your PR activity. When people write about your brand or products, they’ll likely reference (i.e. link to) your owned media in their coverage.

Paid media

It’s not uncommon to pay to promote your content in the marketing world … and it’s no different when it comes to PR.

Paid media refers to paying to make your content visible. It’s standard practice to promote owned media.

Paid media includes:

  • Social media advertising
  • Influencer marketing
  • Pay-per-click (PPC)

Putting some funds toward boosting PR content is becoming increasingly popular. Since the majority of social platforms are reducing organic reach[4] for business accounts, paid media is a fantastic way to make sure your content gets in front of the people you want to see it.

Earned media

Earned media is the tactic used to boost conversation around your brand. It’s essentially word-of-mouth and is arguably the best PR tactic to build your reputation.

Earned media is the hardest type of PR media to obtain. It takes a lot of effort, consistency, and hard work to establish it — hence why it’s “earned”.

Earned media includes:

  • Mentions in industry news and reviews
  • Praise from customers on social media
  • High rankings on search engines


All of these media avenues provide ways to use PR to build brand awareness, generate leads, and convert those leads into paying customers — similar to your marketing. Now, let’s discuss the difference.

Unlike marketing, PR doesn’t always have an impact on sales. It typically indirectly promotes your products or services through activities like press release distribution[5] and speaking at industry events. Alternatively, instead of improving the perception of your business, marketing campaigns focus on driving revenue and boosting profits.

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