With integrated marketing communications, we are moving towards converged media: Paid + Owned + Earned. While having all the three elements in a marketing strategy is not necessary, a mix of all can together create a powerful marketing strategy. For a good brand experience, no channel/medium or either of these elements should be disconnected.
During our #SocialPowWow twitter chat, Josh St. Aubin explained the concept of earned, owned and paid media in a nutshell as:
Earned = Promotions (Free Eyeballs)
Owned = Branded Content
Paid = Ads (Money for Eyeballs)
Organic content reach on social networks is on a continuous decline and in fact, the most powerful pieces of earned media can't break through the clutter occasionally. That's where paid media becomes more effective than earned media. Paid media is needed the most when earned and owned media aren't sufficient.
"Owned & earned should always be the priority. Your goal should be to convert paid into earned." - Josh St. Aubin
That said, brands need to understand that paid media is not just to gain social love instantly and must be used wisely. While no brand can ignore paid media, using it without a strong content strategy will not help the brand in any way. Paid media can enhance the reach but engagement and retention is dependent on a brand's narrative.
It's a brand's responsibility to own and release content that the customers and fans would like to share and engage with. Interestingly, including a loyalty strategy in your content & social strategy engages the audience more. According to @colloquy, VIP & loyalty program customers are 70% more likely to spread word of mouth about your business. It's important to win the trust of your customers, fans/followers and convert them into loyal fans.
A brand should keep tweaking its content strategy to understand what the audience loves to engage with because what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.
At the core of converged media – of all media – is content. A solid content strategy is essential and central to all media initiatives and without content, brands cannot achieve earned media at scale.
(Photo credit: Altimeter Group)