How is your Paid, Owned & Earned media mix?

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Paid, owned and earned media

Before we go into the reasons why integrating paid and owned media is so important, let’s have a look at exactly what different types of media exist and why you need to be thinking about how these channels can work together to form part of your overall marketing mix.


Owned media

These consist of all your owned assets that you have 100% control over, such as:

  • Desktop site
  • Mobile site
  • Content
  • Social channels
  • Mobile app
  • Newsletter

Owned media is there for building long-term relationships with existing customers, generating earned media and magnifying your brand building efforts. Your blog and social media channels are extensions of your brand and need to have the same look and feel. Your marketing communications and brand image should therefore remain consistent when users are interacting with them across multiple owned touch-points.


Earned media

Earned media is essentially free publicity that you have managed to earn through doing something useful such as providing a fantastic customer experience or creating a compelling and insightful piece of content. Here are a few examples of what earned media can be:

  • Reviews
  • Backlinks
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Word of mouth

paid media

Paid media

Paid media is quite simply any form of media that you pay for, such as:

When people think about paid media, the first thing that most probably pops into their head is a combination of paid search and display advertising. Paid media can be a great way to either promote content to drive earned media or direct highly targeted and ready to convert traffic to your owned assets. Seeding content on paid channels is an important way to increase reach and exposure, and will allow you to get the ball rolling when new content is released.

Converged media

Converged media is when two or more channels from owned and paid are working in conjunction with each other. A quality converged media strategy will result in the end user wanting to consume and partake in what a brand has to offer without the brand needing to advertise in an obtrusive way. One of the most successful converged media strategies I have seen is a hybrid media strategy of LinkedIn sponsored promotions (Paid), retargeting (Paid), whitepapers (Owned) and Hubspot landing pages (Owned). This is something we will look at in more detail shortly…

Creating valuable, engaging and compelling content plays an important role in your branding efforts and overall SEO strategy. The type of content I’m talking about is not made in a day and it’s most certainly not free. Big budget content pieces such as whitepapers, videos, infographics etc. can cost thousands of pounds and need to be seen by the right audience at scale in order to make the production worthwhile. You might have the perfect piece of content, but if you have no mechanism for driving targeted traffic to these assets, then there is no point in having them made in the first place. Unless you have an unbelievably huge and influential community, you are going to need to utilise paid promotion. What’s great about paid promotion is that you don’t need huge budgets to get started; a few hundred pounds can go a long way in reaching a large targeted audience.

Paid media can be used to drive community growth through the use of platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo Gemini. All these platforms offer the insights and sophisticated targeting capabilities needed to deliver ads to the people that are most likely to join a brand’s community.

Some brands only implement a converged strategy that consists solely of content creation and pure outreach. This is completely fine if you don’t have large budgets, however if you do have media budget available, then there is no excuse to not be implementing both tactics. Outreach is a very effective way of reaching authorities and generating earned media such as backlinks and word of mouth, but think about what could be achieved when various paid initiatives and outreach are working in tandem!

LinkedIn – Sponsored promotions

As mentioned earlier, one of the most successful integrations I have seen has been promoting whitepapers through the use of LinkedIn sponsored promotions. LinkedIn might not always be the right platform to reach your B2C audience, but for many B2B brands, it can be the perfect playground to interact with thousands of potential new leads. Here at Found, our approach to paid media is about matching the message to the moment, and LinkedIn allows you to do just that with its highly granular targeting capabilities, audience insights and large character limits in their ads. Modern day paid media is about adding value and helping consumers make decisions. LinkedIn sponsored promotions (when done correctly) will do exactly that, as they will match content to a specific audience. The proof is in the stats, and we have seen conversion rates of up 65% when running these campaigns.

Cross-channel retargeting

No matter what mechanism you have for driving traffic to your content, a large portion of this traffic will not convert. Retargeting helps you bring these non-converting users back for a second chance to become leads. Retargeting can be done across most social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo Gemini, although the majority of success I have had with content based retargeting has been on the Google Display Network (GDN). What makes GDN remarketing so powerful, is the ability to segment audiences based on a number of segments in Google Analytics such as time on site, bounce rate, page views, cookie periods, custom combinations etc.


If content marketing is your core focus I would strongly recommend looking into Hubspot marketing suite to improve the optimisation of your owned assets. This platform has loads to offer and plays an important role in lead nurturing and gaining a better understanding paid & owned ROI. As a performance marketer constantly looking for ways to increase conversion rate and reduce CPA, I love the following about Hubspot:

1.)    It’s easy to create and publish pages. You can add images and forms directly to a landing page, instantly preview and then publish.

2.)    You can build relevant content and forms that are optimized for conversions and tailor the page to individuals based on location, device, buyer stage, referral source and any custom information in your HubSpot contact record.

3.)    Test, test, test – You can also A/B test every aspect of your page, including headlines, images, calls-to-actions etc.

All of the above points allow me to make quick optimisations to landing pages without having to know how to code or be particularly brilliant at design.

I have only briefly touched on what Hubspot has to offer, so make sure to visit their site to find out more.


Content marketing is about attracting audiences, whereas advertising is about buying audiences. Native advertising/content promotion is a form of paid media which sits in-between content and advertising due to its hybrid nature. You are paying for an audience, but this is done by attracting that audience with useful content that the user is genuinely interested in.

Any integrated marketing strategy requires a lot of planning, research, cross-team communication and collaboration. If you are currently looking for ways increase the reach of your content – or want more detail on how to get your media channels working together, then speak to someone at Found as we have a wide variety of experts solving these types of issues on a daily basis.