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This content is taken from the RMIT University's online course, Online Business: Digital Marketing for Success. Join the course to learn more.
Paid, owned & earned media illustration
Paid, owned and earned media.

Paid, owned and earned media

Now that you’ve brainstormed from your personal knowledge some of the digital marketing activities available to our online business owner, Keemi, let's delve further into the types of digital marketing tools available.

Digital marketing is ‘the promotion of products, services or brands across electronic media and digital technologies’ and its purpose is to use technologies that will make it easier for your business to reach your consumer. Technologies such as search engines, electronic advertising, email, blogs and forums, and social media are just a few.

It is this ‘technology’ definition that makes for an exciting backdrop of change and innovation; creating a lively and ever-changing communication environment. Regardless of whether you are a large organisation or startup, digital marketing provides businesses new ways to communicate and engage with their target audience.

Why so popular?

The popularity of digital marketing can be attributed to the breadth of communication tools available.

Unlike other forms of marketing, in digital marketing activities are conveniently broken into three categories - Paid, Earned and Owned Media.

The various digital marketing tools (online public relations, content marketing etc) can neatly fit within one or multiple categories. The difference between each category can be described as:

  • Paid Media: any advertising that a business has purchased to use or has paid external agents to stimulate publicity.
  • Owned Media: any digital channel that a business owns and therefore controls the content distributed.
  • Earned Media: content generated by persons other than the business, including customers, consumers and journalists. Whist earned media can be flattering for many businesses, challenges include very limited control over what is written and posted.

Examples of Paid, Owned and Earned are:


Whilst using each individual type of media has its rewards, the combination or integration of paid, owned and earned media can facilitate more leads, generate word of mouth marketing and ultimately improve profits for your business.


We’ve spoken about the popularity of using digital marketing and the combination of paid, owned and earned media.

Other than generating word of mouth marketing, more leads and improving profits for your business, what other rewards do you think an online business could achieve by using a combination of paid, owned and earned media?

Post your thoughts to the Comments area.

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This article is from the free online course:

Online Business: Digital Marketing for Success

RMIT University