Every content marketing strategy should have a good mix of marketing media, and in today’s incredibly competitive digital marketing environment, using POEM is the best way forward for the majority of businesses.

When we talk about POEMs, we’re not talking about an ode to SEO or a piece of content that rhymes, we’re talking about the acronym P.O.E.M. The letters stand for Paid, Owned, Earned Media.

poem-feature-Recovered-1 How Using POEM Can Keep Your Content Marketing Strategy Balanced

Years ago small businesses would focus solely on paid advertising, as they didn’t have the budget or manpower to implement a full content marketing strategy. Fast-forward to the present day and businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the other two components in this three-piece media model.

The days of working with a “if you build it, they will come” strategy are over. You can no longer expect to develop a creative asset or spend hours of design time on an in-depth infographic and just expect them to generate traffic by being awesome.

Content marketing can be split into two: the content and the marketing. In other words, the content that you create and own, and the way you market that content. The result of combining the two should be a successful content marketing campaign.

So let’s start from the top and work through the three main media channels you should be using to develop and implement a strong content marketing strategy.

poem How Using POEM Can Keep Your Content Marketing Strategy Balanced

Paid Media

Starting with an obvious one, paid media is advertising. There are quite a few more avenues for paid advertising within the world of digital marketing than you may initially think. Of course paid media can refer to more traditional advertising, such as an ad on an online publication, but it can also refer to social advertising, such as a sponsored tweet on Twitter or a boosted post on Facebook.

Other ways to use online advertising include using Google AdWords, buying premium subscriptions to networks like LinkedIn, sponsorship, and paying for content distribution services. These options all increase your business visibility and get your content and website in front of an amplified target audience.

Owned Media

This is of course any media that your business already owns. This can be your website, your blog, videos, images, social media channels and more. It also includes any content you have previously created and have full editorial control over.

It can still cost money to create and maintain this form of media, but once you have it, it’s yours, and you can use it however and whenever you want. Owned media will always play a vital part in your overall digital marketing strategy.

Earned Media

This term basically refers to any type of publicity that your owned content has generated. It can be thought of as online and offline PR. This could include social media mentions, comments on an article, shares of your blog and links back to your content.

Most businesses need to build up media relations, talk to influencers and create engagement around their content to generate earned media, but it’s not as easy as paid media, because if your content’s not up to scratch, then it could just bomb. Earned media takes a lot of time and effort, but once you have some high quality owned media that is shared through a range of different channels and seen by a large audience, you will find it naturally gains traction.

Utilising POEM

The three media models work hand in hand, and one can be used to amplify or extend another. If paid, owned and earned media are strategically combined, content has a better chance of being seen and then being shared. The world of online marketing is continuing to change, and over time the lines between these three may continue to blur even further.

Jeremiah Owyang and Rebecca Lieb, analysts with the Altimeter Group, describe this combination as “converged media” as you can see in the image below:

converged-media1 How Using POEM Can Keep Your Content Marketing Strategy Balanced

While paid media has traditionally led the majority of marketing initiatives on and off the Internet, it doesn’t work as well anymore unless it’s supported by other marketing efforts. Owned and earned media are crucial parts of any creative campaign, as they help to spread a brand’s message through an array of different channels.

Here are a couple of different ways you can combine paid, earned and owned media:

Influencer Generated Content – If there are some good influencers in your industry, then you could pay them to create content for you to put on your site. Once the content is live, you can share it through your social media channels to earn shares and mentions.

Boosting Owned Content – If you create a piece of content on your blog, you can share it on your social networks, then pay for sponsored tweets and Facebook advertising to gain wider visibility and earn shares and backlinks.

According to recent statistics, you only tend to reach about 10% of your Facebook fan base organically, so if you want something to be seen, you need to support your content with advertising. You may have great content, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be seen.

It’s not enough to have individual strategies for your paid, owned and earned media; they need to integrate seamlessly. A converged media strategy does not mean you need to completely reconsider your approach to digital marketing, it is simply a way of combining and refocusing your current marketing efforts in an increasingly connected and competitive environment.