By Jamie Wilson
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How the media trinity has changed marketing

Paid, Owned and Earned – The powerhouse media trinity that has changed the way marketers promote brands.

Gone are the days of pushing a message to market via a rented medium, hoping the message is creative enough or powerful enough to connect. Sure, this still exists, but today, marketing is about reaching consumers on a deeper, more engaged level, via paid, owned and earned channels that work in synchronization.

The modern consumer is searching for information, often finding the information before the information finds them – brands must develop content that reflects the brand’s unique point of difference and engages the consumer based on their interest and needs – we call this the “sweet spot”.

When we understand the way consumers browse for information and consume content, the importance of developing a media trinity strategy becomes much clearer.

Paid media is often considered to be “traditional advertising” and includes any form of paid advertising, like television, radio, print or online. Owned media is the content that your brand has complete control over such as your website, blogs, email newsletters as well social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Earned media is the natural result of public/media relation’s efforts, ad campaigns, events and the content that you create within your owned media channels that is shared by a consumer, browser, follower or fan. While each of these channels will play a critical role in a marketing strategy, the real power is when you can integrate two or more of the channels into one campaign or initiative. This is referred to as converged media.


Developing thought leadership, branded entertainment and content, which is engaging, user friendly, offers real value, intelligence and education provides a brand with immeasurable benefits. It firstly creates content the brand can own as genuine, unique and controlled information. This can be held and distributed on the brand’s own platforms – website, social media for instance. A paid marketing strategy should then be created to drive an audience to that content and engage the audience by encouraging that content to be shared, resulting in “earned media”.

An example of this is content Coordinate developed for Classic Constructions, a local builder who wanted to run a traditional above the line advertising campaign. We were convinced the market was already saturated with builders doing exactly that – there was no point in following the same direction and being another number. Instead, we decided to design a unique content marketing campaign utilizing paid, owned and earned to drive the Classic Constructions brand, story and competitive points of difference in the building and construction category.

The popularity and ratings success of reality programs like The Block, Masterchef and The Voice, revealed an appetite for thought leadership and educational content – this currently didn’t exist though at a local level. We decided to develop branded entertainment for Classic Constructions, a social TV program and Magazine called Home Vision, showcasing the architectural planning, design and construction of some of Classic Constructions best projects. It gave consumers a unique insight into the process of designing and building a home, while allowing the brand to connect with consumers at a much deeper level than a static advertising campaign.

The content was then cut down into a micro segment in the form of a thirty second commercial, which was narrowcast into The Block. The commercial invited consumers to view the full episode online. Understanding that 75% of prime time television viewer’s today consumer two forms of media at once (the primary screen and a secondary screen – mobile or tablet), the take up rate of consumers viewing the full program was significant when the advertising was screened. The content was then made available to be shared online through social media, resulting in strong earned media for Classic Constructions.

The content was also repurposed into direct marketing activities, using the social television program and magazine to be viewed at trade shows, events and open homes and through direct mail or provided to potential customers at the point of enquiry.

When all channels work in concert it enables brands to reach customers exactly where, how, and when they want, regardless of channel, medium, or device, online or offline. With the customer journey between devices, channels, and media becoming increasingly complex and fragmented, and new forms of technology only making it more so, a paid, owned and earned strategy allows marketers to reach consumers who actively want to engage with the brand despite the disruption caused by emerging technologies.