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What is converged media and how can convergence help your content marketing and audience reach?

Converged media embraces owned media, earned media, paid media, and shared media.

Internet marketing has evolved rapidly over the last decade. The Internet is now a huge information repository that causes an immense information overload.

It’s easy to identify the significant changes in the marketplace. It is far more difficult to create the strategies and tactics needed to deal with new challenges.

The only thing that stays constant for marketers is the challenge of reaching their target audience and sell their products or services.

  • Research has found that online content is often self centred and overly promotional.
  • Ad blindness is now a fact of life. You need to use more subtle marketing strategies. The diagram shown below illustrates how the click-through-rate (CTR) for direct advertising has declined from approximately 10% in 2000 to a mere 1% in 2013 (diagram courtesy iprospect.com.au).

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  • Social media has exploded, both in size and importance. Facebook alone now has close to two billion users.
  • The use of mobile devices is growing exponentially. Website design must be responsive and content display must re-adjust itself to smaller screen sizes.
  • Companies who maintain a website must adjust to new market realities. Static content no longer ranks well in search engines. You must add content regularly and optimize this content for a specific search intent.

What does all this mean for marketers and business owners who wish to maintain a web presence and reach prospective clients?

Forrester Research defined what they call “the early research phase of a buying cycle”. People now take a different approach when making buying decisions. They:

  • Use the search function of search engines like Google or Bing.
  • Consult peers who possess relevant information.
  • Read what experts and “influencers” write about problems they need to resolve.

What follows explains the four different media types which, when synchronized and used in combination, improve the reach of marketing messages.

The 4 Converged Media Types

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Paid Media

This is the media for paid advertisements. This media type includes:

  • Magazine and newspaper advertisements.
  • PPV or PPC advertising with search engines like Google, Bing, and others.
  • Paid content promotion.
  • Mobile and news feed advertising on Facebook.
  • Advanced advertising using Facebook Exchange (FBX).
  • Twitter and LinkedIn paid advertising.
  • Re-targeting ads on a variety of platforms including Facebook.

Direct response advertising no longer works well. Marketers should use more subtle methods. Instead of linking an ad to a sales page, link it to a website or blog post, or to a product catalogue and from there to a check-out page. In other words, introduce an intermediate page.

Owned Media

This is media published on channels other than the company website. Included are:

  • Social media channels. The primary ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Video content on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
  • Slideshare presentations on sites like SlideShare.
  • Webinars.
  • Podcasts.
  • Image galleries.
  • Infographics.

Use owned media to create brand awareness that brings people into a sales funnel. You need a written content strategy and a content schedule to achieve this.

Earned Media

This media type includes online and media publishing. It main benefit is publicity. Included are:

  • Press releases.
  • News coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio or TV.
  • Reviews.
  • Ratings.
  • Viral spread of content.
  • Social media content liked, commented on, or shared by other users.
  • Guest posts that earn brand name recognition.
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Brand recognition following other people’s media posts, tweets, product reviews, videos, photos or dialogues that include your content or your presence online.

Shared Media

This media include:

  • Syndicated content published on a website or social media channel.
  • Connections and engagement with other people on social media channels.

Integrating the 4 Media Types

Marketing campaigns all seek to reach and  engage a target audience. It is not enough to have a website and to engage in paid advertising.

Successful marketing campaigns focus on the combined effect of using all media types. The best results come from their integration; the pursuit of areas where these media types overlap.

This is not an easy task. A presence on all media types will not yield the best results. You need a content strategy that defines how and in what manner to gain maximum benefits from their integration.

Converged Media

The resources required to gain benefits from converged media includes a website, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a Google+ page, and a Twitter account.

To further extend reach with converged media, you may:

  • Set up a YouTube channel for video presentations.
  • Get a SlideShare account to re-purpose and publish content as a slide presentation.
  • Use one or more bookmarking sites to promote content.
  • Add an RSS feed button on your website.
  • Add social media share buttons on the website.

Website and social media logos and content must be be consistent in style, color and presentation . Think about “touch points”; places where the media is visible regardless of medium or device. All media types must work in concert to promote the brand.

Create value at the top of the sales funnel to build brand recognition. Sales promotion is a follow-on activity, secondary to the pursuit of credibility, authority and brand recognition.

Example

Create a content-rich website and update it regularly with new content. Do not make the content self-centered and overly promotional. Once published, consider the following add-on activities.

    • Insert an RSS feed button so people can subscribe to your content.
    • Place social media buttons on your website that enable people to share your content on social media channels.
    • Bookmark the content and distribute to at least 10-15 different sites. To do this, you can use a site site like socialadr.com.
    • Ensure that online and print advertisements comply with defined objectives and target them to a well-defined audience. Facebook has the most advanced targeting options of any advertising platform.
    • Create and publish posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and possibly Google+. This can be a short post that introduces the topic and links to the full content published on your website. A link for more information placed at the end of the content can link to an opt-in or sales page.
    • Post similar posts to Facebook and LinkedIn groups in which you are a member.
    • Tweet with a link to the website content and repeat it 3-4 times in a day.
    • Write a post on one or more relevant blogs or forums with a link back to the website content. Accept any opportunity to to write a guest post on relevant blogs or forums.
    • Find “influencers” on Facebook and LinkedIn. Contact the person, introduce the content and ask if they can share or post it on their website or blog. Your objective is to acquire mentions to build a reputation as an authority.
    • Email your list and promote the content.
    • Re-purpose the content and turn it into a video, slide share presentation, or podcast and publish to relevant sites like YouTube and SlideShare.

If, as a small business owner, you find this strategy too complicated or time-consuming, please refer to a more condensed version published with the titled “Three SEO Pillars for Small Business in 2017.”

Contact the author if you need assistance in content creation or the creation of a content strategy.

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Published author and freelance writer