This year “convergence” is becoming much more than just a buzzword, particularly in the world of content marketing. As a recent report from Altimeter Group explains, three previously distinct channels are now merging to produce increasingly necessary hybrids.
The Media Trifecta
The report, “The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned, and Earned Media,” begins by defining these channels as they were originally known:
- Paid Media: display or broadcast advertising that requires a media buy, including banner ads, pay-per-click search ads, advertorials and sponsored links.
- Owned Media: content assets a brand either owns or wholly controls, such as websites, branded blogs, social media profiles, videos, etc.
- Earned Media: content that is user-generated and/or user-shared, including Tweets, Facebook updates, shares, reviews and comments made in open forums. “Another component of earned media is mentions in media or on social channels that are the result of PR or media relations,” reads the report. “For brands, earned media is the most elusive and difficult of the three channels; while it can be influenced, it cannot be directly controlled.”
The intermingling of these three approaches (illustrated in Altimeter’s graphic below) has been a natural result of digital marketing, as well as the growing levels of consumer connectivity. For example: paid advertising frequently incorporates social network-based conversations, or is re-fitted into the brand’s owned media, such as YouTube channels, for an extended shelf life. Meanwhile, owned media, such as a brand’s blog post, is now fed through social networks, often resulting in the generation of earned/shared media in the form of engagement.
“All channels work in concert, enabling brands to reach customers exactly where, how, and when they want, regardless of channel, medium, or device, online or offline,” explains the report. “With the customer journey between devices, channels, and media becoming increasingly complex, and new forms of technology only making it more so, this strategy of paid/owned/earned confluence makes marketers impervious to the disruption caused by emerging technologies.”
Strategies to Live By
But however natural, marketers are still struggling to harness the disruption this convergence has caused to their still segmented workflow. After all, brands have traditionally been organized into marketing subgroups of different territories and mindsets — not to mention departmental silos and disparate tool usage as well.
The report offers software vendors strategies for overcoming these related obstacles, including highly useful insight for planning:
- Overview and forecast of converged media landscape
- Converged media strategy checklist
- Leading vendor comparisons (including Adobe, IBM, Google, Salesforce and Oracle)
- Leveraging influencers throughout POE
- Converged media campaign case studies
Content Marketing Mayhem
All in all, Altimeter has recognized content marketing as today’s key to business success. As brands of all types continue to extend their feelers into the world of publishing, this will only prove to be more true, and a well defined strategy will be required to inspire communities to share and thereby prolong the life of that messaging.
"Preparing for Paid, Owned and Earned integration is not just a demand of present reality, but an inevitable necessity of the future of marketing, advertising, and communications,” reads the report in closing.
How are you currently managing Paid, Owned and Earned (POE)? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section below.
Editor's Note: To read more of Chelsi's thoughts on content marketing: