POEM: Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

No poetry here

Just a very effective overview for your marketing strategy. POEM represents a model that lets you categorize and sort the platforms and channels in your branding possession: Paid, Owned and Earned Media.

All three are important. All three are different. And together, they constitute a model that can have a deciding effect on your marketing strategy.

There’s no reason to waste time and effort on media that doesn’t work for you – or to ignore those that in reality could take your digital marketing to new heights.

So, what’s the difference?

What all categories have in common is that they all consist of channels or platforms where you can show your business through content.

The main difference lies in what’s required to produce and publish the content – or how exactly that content is presented to the users.

Ads. Sponsored content. Commercials. It goes by many names. As the name implies, Paid Media covers the platforms where you pay for exposure. This includes:

  • Social Media Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Sponsored articles, videos, etc.
  • Display ads

Paid Media is a double-edged sword. It efficiently gives your business digital visibility – but it comes at a price. Literally. And there’s a relatively stable correspondence between price and result.

It’s about being strategic with audience, time slot, etc., so your budget does not go to waste.

Once again, the name reveals the content. Owned Media is the platforms and channels that you control yourself. And luckily, you most likely already have some of these:

  • Your website
  • Your social media profiles
  • Your e-mail marketing
  • Your physical store, office, etc.

With Owned Media, your marketing does not cost more than what you paid to setup the platforms and channels. But the only content there is the content you post yourself.

The key is to create an effective marketing strategy if your Owned Media is to work properly.

Earned Media lets you loosen your grip on the marketing wheel, as it concerns the exposure that you do not create – or pay for – yourself. Instead, it’s the exposure you get when your business is shared by others.

This is typically seen in the form of:

  • Articles
  • Shares and reposts on social media
  • Reviews and mentions
  • Recommendations by current customers

As mentioned, you technically have no direct control of any of these. What you can do, however, is create strategic content, as well as focus on good customer experiences. That increases your chance of external exposure.

It’s all about synergy

“So should I divide my marketing strategy into three separate legs?”.

Not at all. The smartest thing about the POEM model is not the individual differences between the three types of media, but instead the synergy you can achieve by letting them strengthen each other.

When you’ve created strategic content, and therefore also want it to be seen as much as possible, the key is to use the entire model as a springboard.

If you’ve produced a high-quality video, there’s no reason to just put it on your website. Make a social media post with the video (Owned Media), convert it to a paid ad as well (Paid Media), and encourage colleagues and followers to share it (Earned Media).

Alone, they can lift rocks. Together, they can move marketing mountains.

Also, it’s key to be careful in your selection of platforms and media. Your target audience is not on all thinkable platforms and channels. So, you shouldn’t be either.

Make an overview of the channels that your business has access to within the three categories. Then you’ll have a solid foundation for strategically planning how your content is to be published.