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Your likelihood for success increases when you chose the right channel to deliver your message. Consider how you want your audience to receive and engage your communication.

Earned media may be a useful means of distribution if you are trying to reach a broad, general audience. But be mindful of the risks. Can you control how (or if) the story will be reported? Will coverage in newspapers, television, radio or other traditional media formats reach the audiences you care most about?

Paid media is another option. But think carefully about whether you have the resources required to pay for expensive advertising, and if such tactics will have the resonance and influence you need to best advance your goal?

Owned media is often the least expensive choice. This includes all the channels that your organization controls directly – your website and newsletter, your email distribution list, the social media channels that you manage. The price tag might be more appealing, but will these channels help you reach the decision makers you’ve identified as your key audience?

Social media is a category unto itself. It includes Facebook, Twitter, and all the related tools, apps and feeds that so many of us now rely on every day. The potential for spreading your message may be high, but can you control how that message spreads and evolves once you seed the conversation?

The likely answer lies in some combination of all the above. The key is making choices that are best for your clearly defined goals and available resources.

by the numbers


Percentage of American adults who use the internet.


Percentage of American adults who have a cell phone. 58% have a smart phone.


Percentage of internet users who use social networks.


The rank of annual reports as a source of information by engaged Americans.

tips and insights

Consider all of your media options: earned, owned, paid, and social media.

We heard loud and clear: channels and tactics should follow strategy, not the other way around.

Hope for awareness does not equal reason for investment.