Convergence of Owned, Earned, and Paid Media

@Sabrina | Social, Strategy

Content is king. A phrase commonly used by marketers and a phrase that should not be taken lightly. Competition is fierce, and new advancements in digital marketing are making it imperative for marketing teams to develop relevant, meaningful, and valuable content. As you begin to understand your audiences closely, you want to make sure you capture the right targets amongst general consumers, maintain and nurture customers, and create meaningful relationships with loyal fans. If looking at content only from the social media lens, opportunities are missed, and just as fast steer you away from advantages earned by integrated media components.


You want to be able to evaluate the different media types and understand how the content you generate can lead to an effective marketing program. Traditional marketing practices need to fit with how you work together the digital properties you own, the content you build, and how much you are spending to gain good results. 

Let’s take a closer look at the three primary media types to get a better understanding of how their convergence leads to greater opportunities and competitive advantages.

Owned Media

Owned media consists of all your web-properties and content from the central focus – your website – to your social channels, blogs, and all related mobile elements. This is where you want your audience to be – the destination when they are looking for you or seeking your products and/or services. Owned media defines your brand and allows you to mark your place within the digital realm. Brand awareness begins with these properties and your brand content all tied together – consistent, responsive and coherent – with your website as the nucleus binding it all together.

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Social Network Accounts
  • Mobile Apps

Earned Media

Earned media is what drives your audience to your website. It is the engagement and overall interactions driven by shares, mentions, retweets, recommendations, etc. The response and publicity your brand content receives combined with effective search rankings fuel earned media. Formula = establish good/sharable content + be at a good search position + interact with your audience, customers, and fans.

  • Engagement (shares, retweets, replies)
  • Reviews/Recommendations
  • Word of Mouth
  • Reposts
  • Forums 

Paid Media

Paid media is advertising your brand pays for. It is what drives traffic directly to your owned properties and allows for the promotion of your content. Through search marketing measures, advertising tools via social networks, and influencer targeting, promotion of your content ignites brand awareness, interest, and trial. Paid initiatives driving promotions help support growth in earned media, and additionally help influence direct traffic with SEO/SEM. Simply put – paid media fuels owned media and creates earned media.

  • Search Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Network Advertising
  • Print Advertising
  • Television

Bottom Line

Owned, earned and paid media are integrated and work together for a successful output. Although individual strategies can be built around each, they work together to create a strong digital strategy with simple and clear goals in mind. Focus should be on all 3 when thinking about your content strategy and overall spend for marketing, as they are dependent on each other.

The content you own (owned media) gives way to sharing and engagement (earned media), which can be influenced further by paid initiatives (paid media). Paid initiatives likewise drive owned media traffic directly. Integration at its finest.

Additions & Feedback

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