Why Content is Still King in 2024 – Part 1

Content in Still King in 2024

Owned, Earned, and Paid Media and Content Marketing

If you’ve read any digital marketing or marketing strategy industry publication, email newsletter, or blog post in the past five to ten years, you’ve probably seen a “Content is King” or “Content Marketing is King” headline or post. 

In our opinion, the sentiment behind “Content is King” still rings true in 2024. Content and content marketing are critical to how we customize each Creative Blend Design client’s marketing strategy and campaigns. 

In our post “What’s the Better Investment – SEO or Social Media?” we outlined how the question was a false choice — both are important. It’s more of a strategic decision of how to sequence each tool based on your unique business situation.

“A better question is, given your company’s particular situation and 2024’s business environment, what combination of owned, earned, and paid media will deliver the best possible ROI for your business?”

Determining the best combination of owned, earned, and paid media begins with your business’ existing content and understanding what new content is needed to build effective marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics. In short, a foundational component of your business’ marketing is your content marketing strategy.

But where to start and what’s most important to your business sparked our “SEO or Social Media?” post. 

This post focuses on the more fundamental consideration of content and content marketing. We outline the definitions of owned, earned, and paid media and some pros and cons considerations. In “Why Content is King Part 2,” we explore content marketing, and how content is fundamental to owned media. In “Why Content is King Part 3,” we detail the strategy and tactics behind content marketing, how content marketing drives paid and earned media, and content marketing’s ROI measures.

Owned Media, Earned Media, and Paid Media Defined

Owned, earned and paid media are an organizing framework used in digital marketing for organizing marketing tools and analyzing their ROIs on a level playing field. Each media type requires investment, plays a critical role in brand building, and drives new leads and customers. 

Content is Still King

Owned media includes all the content you create, control, and publish. Owned media includes your company website, blog, social media outposts, ebooks, infographics, PDF downloads, webinars, podcasts, videos, business listings (e.g. Google Business Profile), and email marketing. Owned media is your digital content foundation essential for creating effective SEO, brand building, user engagement, and leads development. As a rule of thumb, owned media has a significantly higher ROI than earned or paid media. However, owned media is a long-term investment that takes time to achieve ROI goals.

Earned media is the visibility gained by your brand online that’s outside of your control, excluding paid media. Earned media includes third-party social media and blog mentions, reposts/retweets, reviews, shares, ratings, recommendations, and profiles. Earned media is the elusive yet valuable online word-of-mouth. An effective SEO initiative improves earned media’s ROI. In traditional marketing, we’d refer to this as public relations — more on this later.

Paid media is all types of advertising. Paid media includes online display advertising, search engine marketing (SEM) on Google or Bing, social media ads, paid social media search, partner emails, sponsored content, email list rentals, online event sponsorship, and retargeting ads. While paid media delivers the quickest ROI and drives users to your owned media, it’s also the most heavily scrutinized because paid media requires advertising expenditures upfront. And when you are not spending media dollars, paid media is turned off and not driving ROI.

However, unlike traditional paid media (print ads, direct mail, TV/radio ads), online creative and production can cost less. Smart marketers use an ongoing “test-optimize-repeat” approach with paid media campaigns that can maximize their effectiveness quickly.   

Owned, earned, and paid media are intertwined and can bolster each other’s campaigns and ROI. Owned media’s content and messaging are the foundation for paid media campaigns and drive earned media interest. Paid and earned media drive customers to owned media outposts (websites and social media accounts) where they can build word-of-mouth, sign up for email notifications, and become customers.   

We find it helpful to group and analyze traditional media tools like:

  • Advertising (print, out-of-home, advertorials, radio, television), 
  • Direct Response (direct mail), 
  • Events (local events, conferences), and 
  • Public Relations 

using the same owned, earned, and paid media categories. Then we evaluate marketing strategies and campaigns holistically and equally, essentially platform agnostic, using this approach.  

Are you struggling with your business’ content marketing? Don’t know where to start with updating your company website and marketing campaigns?  

Creative Brand Design can help! Our results-driven agency has almost two decades of experience helping businesses and organizations like yours grow efficiently. We’re experts in creating and optimizing our clients’ marketing strategies, search engine optimization, social media campaigns, and much more. 

Let’s talk and see how we can help your business grow. Connect with us today!

Stephanie Farber is the Founder & Creative Director of Creative Blend Design. Since 2004, Stephanie has led the development, launch, and optimization of hundreds of targeted, multi-channel marketing plans for non-profit and business clients in San Antonio, Texas, and across the U.S.


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Content is Still King Part 2

Why Content is Still King in 2024 – Part 2

Readers Note: This is the second of a three-part series on content and content marketing. Read “Why Content is Still King Part 1.”  Content Marketing 101 Content Marketing is the long-term online marketing strategy used to captivate, engage, incent, and retain audiences — existing and potential customers — with highly relevant content that builds your

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