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Building a Stronger Digital Media Strategy

Last week, we looked at the three types of digital media: paid, earned and owned media. Here’s a quick refresher on each of these three types:


Each of these types of media has advantages and disadvantages on their own, which is why a solid digital media strategy should use all three. Here’s how to make paid, earned and owned media work together:

Start with owned media and build a strong brand identity. Owned media is the bedrock of a digital media strategy. Without a strong presence and identity in the spaces you own, it’s hard to convince audiences in other spaces to pay attention to you. Make it a priority to create a high-quality website and good, relevant content that informs rather than promoting, such as a company blog, white papers, or explainer videos. Take time to develop a personable voice on your social media accounts. Reinforce your good content with good design. And make sure all your owned media properties are tied together with a consistent and compelling brand identity.

Use paid media to draw in new audiences for your owned media and develop your earned media. One of the problems with owned media is that there’s no guarantee anyone will see the great content you create. You can solve that problem by promoting your content via AdWords or digital display ads. A strategic paid ad campaign will put your content in front of new eyes—and hopefully draw them into the rest of your owned media. Growing your audience organically is slow and often frustrating, and utilizing paid media can give that growth a boost. Paid media can also be used to promote your company name, brand and products, expanding your reputation online. The more customers hear about you, the greater chance that they will spread your reputation using online word of mouth.

Cultivate positive earned media through good earned and paid media practices. Whether the online buzz about a company is negative or positive depends on how the company promotes itself. If your website or blog content offers valuable insights that help inform customer buying processes, and your paid advertisements are well-placed and resonate with customers, it generates positive buzz. On the other hand, companies that seem out-of-touch or that have a poor brand identity generate negative online buzz. You can’t control what people say about your company online, but the better your paid and owned media is executed, the greater the chance that people will view you in a positive light.

Earned, owned, and paid media are not three isolated entities—they’re three parts of a strong digital media strategy. When you use them together, they create a far-reaching marketing impact.