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Could content marketing finally drive the convergence of paid, earned & owned media?

It doesn’t seem like over four years since Forrester took the first stab at defining paid, earned and owned media. These Merge Signterms have become as much a part of the lexicon of communicators as influencer, social media marketing and SEO. We’ve been reading for years now on how these functions of marketing and communications are converging, but have yet to see that put into practice in a widespread way.

So why haven’t we experienced this radical convergence of our advertising, marketing and PR teams?

Maybe we just haven’t had the practical need to work together…. until now.

Jeremiah Owyang has taken a stab on his blog of defining the new workflow for paid, earned, owned and shared media communications based on his work with Altimeter Group on their converged media white paper from last summer. Most importantly, Owyang states, “Today, advertising, corporate content, and social content is often separated, but tomorrow, we expect these circles to converge and overlap, with little or no separation.”

In a recent New York Times article on content marketing versus paid search, Darren Dahl highlights how the popularity of online pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords has driven up the cost of a visit to your brand’s website – keywords that once cost $1 per click now can cost as much as $20 per click.

Brands are turning to content marketing as a new way to supplement this traditional online advertising – and at a much lower price point. However, as attractive as this price point may be, it’s important to realize that content marketing is effective not because it’s cheap; it does require significant commitment. Barry Feldman outlines the risks of launching a content marketing campaign without the right strategy behind it in his recent post on Convince & Convert, “Why You Shouldn’t Do Content Marketing.”

My point being that to create great content and amplify it correctly, marketing, social media and PR teams will need to work together. Will the rise of content marketing be the final catalyst for practical, widespread converged media? Let me know your thoughts below.

For more info on content marketing, download Cision’s free content marketing kit, The New Storytelling and join our free 30-minute webinar, Amp It Up! Powering Your PR Through Content Marketing.

To explore this topic further, check out my recent post on Sparksheet, too.


About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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