Understanding The 3 Legs Of Online Traffic-Paid, Owned and Earned

Effective Strategies For Business Development

If you’ve ever seen a 3-legged stool, you’ll understand that unlike a chair, it needs all three legs to be stable and serve the purpose for which it was intended. Online Traffic is like that 3-legged stool.

The 3 legs are represented by paid, owned and earned media. Take one away and you fall. Each leg provides the necessary structure to make the entire system work for the benefit of your business.

Many business owners think their marketing efforts can consist of one or two of the three, but rarely do they understand the importance of using all three to generate the desired results.

Paid Media

Paid media consists of tools like Google AdWords, or different types of search and display advertising, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, social media ads.

You pay for it just like you would for the traditional forms of advertising media such as TV, radio, print, etc.

The good news is that paid media in the digital world is much more affordable than those traditional forms.

Making the most of your paid media calls for a well thought out plan and execution. You’ll want to have engaging calls-to-action driven by customer benefits.  Your paid promotions need to be designed to propel sharing and engagement with prospects and customers.

Owned Media

Owned media is your website, mobile site, blog site and other social media channels. These are purpose-driven media channels created specifically for your business.

The beauty is that you control what goes out through those channels and you own all the content you post.

All of your blog posts, any offer that you make such as whitepapers or eBooks, any free content you offer that is designed to attract new leads to your business.

And, all of the original content that you share across other social media sites is what you own.

Earned Media

Earned media is what others share about your posts. This information is shared through tweets, social media platforms, reposts and reviews.

SEO and your brand content both serve to drive your earned media.

Each leg of the stool is connected to the seat or platform and each provides a specific function, which then feeds the others.

It’s All Or Nothing

You must understand that all three legs will support your digital marketing efforts most successfully. Learn to leverage owned, earned and paid media for a comprehensive marketing strategy.


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