Using a Converged Media Model

In this module, we discuss:

  • The approach to take with each aspect of converged media, both individually and collectively
  • The marriage between content production and distribution


  • Converged Media - the utilization of paid, earned, owned and rented media, characterized by a consistent storyline, look and feel, whereby all channels work in concert in order to reach people exactly where, how, and when they want, regardless of channel, medium or device
  • Paid Media - exposure gained through platforms and channels that require payment (e.g. advertising, influencers, PR)
  • Owned Media - exposure gained through platforms and channels that are in complete control of a person or business (e.g. websites, branded blogs, mobile apps)
  • Earned Media - exposure gained naturally (or organically) through the public and traditional media (e.g. customer-generated content, built-in content engagement mechanisms, reviews, organic SEO)
  • Rented Media - exposure gained through platforms and channels that are not in complete control of a person or business, but do not necessarily require payment to use (e.g. social media)

The easiest way to approach converged media is to stop thinking about marketing campaigns and initiatives as channel- or platform-specific, and to start thinking about them as cross-channel and cross-platform.

Certainly, a campaign or initiative may come to life differently from channel to channel and platform to platform, but the core goals, objectives, storylines and design should be consistent across the board.

For instance, instead of thinking about a Facebook campaign, the goal is to determine the specific goals of such a campaign, and then discern how each aspect of converged media can serve as varying objectives for accomplishing these goals (even if the campaign will live on or be executed through Facebook). In doing so, you should ask yourself:

How can I execute and maximize this campaign using paid, owned, earned and rented media, as defined by:

  • Paid Media: including but not limited to online advertising (e.g. social media), PR and/or influencer marketing
  • Owned Media: lifestyle content experiences related to the campaign, but still within the context of your identity feed and designed for your "1,000 True Fans," which are strategically amplified and distributed across your business' website, blog and/or email marketing platforms (assuming you already own one or more email lists)
  • Earned Media: user-generated content, organic press coverage (if your campaign is worthy of it) and SEO, and/or content produced in conjunction with your content collaboration network
  • Rented Media: organic distribution of your content experiences through the social media networks on which your business is active

The next question becomes: How can I leverage each of these four legs against one another in order to maximize distribution, exposure and engagement with the entire campaign across the board?

For instance, you might run social media ads against some of your content experiences, which live on your website and/or blog, which in turn allows you to capture email addresses from people in your target audience, which you can then use to share more campaign-related content experiences via email marketing and social retargeting. What's more, if these content experiences are made up of the right mix of ingredients, many of these people will share your content as well, resulting in scalable earned media.

All in all, more of your target audience will become increasingly aware of and engaged with your campaign during its entirety.

Understanding the Marriage Between Production & Distribution

Perhaps it goes without being said that content production drives the vehicle of content marketing and The Business of Media.

After all, truly effective digital marketing occurs when you put content before marketing and social before media.

In other words, without a suite of content experiences that are made up of the right mix of ingredients — within the context of your identity feed and designed for your "1,000 True Fans" — distribution is effectively rendered meaningless.

As we have all heard time and time again, content is king. While this notion is undoubtedly true, we must properly contextualize it in order to achieve real, lasting success with The Business of Media.

"Content is king, distribution is queen," says Jonathan Perelman, Vice President of Agency Strategy at BuzzFeed, "and she wears the pants."

The Business of Media is presented by yarn, a collective of talent across media, journalism, marketing and design that helps brands create, distribute and monetize memorable content experiences.

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