We’ve been talking about earned, paid and owned media these past few weeks, arguing each realm has the best strategy for winning in the digital sphere. But none of those stories paints the complete picture. To truly dominate digital marketing, you’ve got to strike a balance between each piece and live in the center space of the Venn diagram of all media. When you look at the big picture, each realm becomes interdependent on the others. You need to solicit great earned media, to dominate with your paid media strategy, and to provide great owned media content – all at the same time and with an integrated approach.


Think about it this way: When it comes to owned media, the more the merrier, but it is only one part of a balanced ecosystem. Earned media is a powerful vehicle to drive traffic, engagement and sentiment around your brand. Paid media is a great way to generate more earned media and drive traffic to your owned properties. When you start realizing the interconnectedness of earned/paid/owned, you see that content is your most valuable marketing asset. Owned media will always be the ultimate destination point, and paid and earned media are the vehicles to drive consumers there. Take a central theme, idea or story and package it different ways for each channel.

Say you’ve hired a new orthopedic surgeon and want to drive business to her service line. You can start by publishing press releases and introductory posts on your owned media channels like your website and blog. Purchase ad space on social media and at the top of Google search engines to increase awareness. Throw in a few print ads in local publications. And make sure you’re asking for and sharing great reviews for your new physician and services while optimizing their landing pages for search engines and localization. You need these strategies to be working together, with similar messaging, to create the biggest impact. Ad agency Trendy Minds even suggests that a balanced earned/paid/owned strategy is the only way to accurately predict and measure your ROI, justifying your budget to your bosses.

Now imagine trying to carry out each of these goals for multiple physicians, across multiple service lines and across multiple organizations. You’re going to need some help. Consumers are turned off by inconsistent messaging, incorrect phone numbers and addresses, poorly organized websites and systems that don’t recognize their sophisticated expectations for digital interaction. These expectations are set by their lives outside of healthcare, and we need to level up. CMO.com agrees it’s time to take a larger view of the media landscape. “Marketers need to be more holistic in order to harness PEO [paid/earned/owned] for the greater good.

Even a simple Facebook ad requires each part of the digital sphere work together for the highest impact. A Facebook ad is technically paid media, but it also represents your owned media because the ad comes from your brand’s verified (owned) Facebook page. Factor in that Facebook’s algorithms for reaching the target audience you want insure only those consumers who like/comment/share related content see your ad, and your content is suddenly validated (earned) by your audience’s interests. Google search works the same way, with the top of the search page representing paid ads, earned links showing up based on star ratings and localized content (maps) and organic results representing the most optimized owned pages. Each piece of the puzzle must be the best so the whole picture engages the consumer.

Embracing technology solutions that are not only meeting consumer expectations but are also forward thinking will be the ticket to future success in our digital world. You’ll need platforms and applications that:

(For Owned)

1) Let you manage your content and data with ease

2) Find and correct broken links and old addresses

(For Paid)

3) Help you plan and execute your paid media multi-channel campaigns

4) Measure campaign successes in real-time

5) Teach you how to locate desirable new patients

(For Earned)

6) Alert you when a negative physician review pops up on a third-party site so you can respond

7) Engage those currently under your care to improve their health

Earned, paid and owned media shouldn’t be disparate entities, floating in their own isolated bubbles in space. Earned, paid and owned media should be linked, overlapping in strategy and goals, creating better results through stronger bonds.

To see if you're winning your earned/paid/owned strategy in a balanced way, request a free Digital Presence Assessment.