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The Converged Media Approach – Paid Media

For some marketers, starting up the inbound marketing engine, revamping a blog, and publishing some gated content is enough to get online engagement going, leads flowing, and marketing proving its value to the organization. But for most of us, inbound marketing takes work.

Last week, we took a look at which Owned Media tactics are available to marketers to help promote their content. But Owned Media is just one aspect of a Converged Media approach. Today, we’ll look at Paid Media and look at how paid resources can be a crucial resource in getting the word out about our content.

What is Paid Media?

Paid media is content that you purchase on third party online resources that links back to your original content on your website or app. It can apply to third party websites, social media channels and even search, but the uniting factor is that all these efforts are paid advertising. Therefore, paid media is content that’s purchased for content advertising purposes.


Advertorials, also known as native advertising, are commonly articles on third party websites bought and paid for by the subject of the article. In other words, they are “advertisements in the form of editorial content,” as put by Wikipedia. While “advertorial” content can also apply to radio and television, in this instance we’re applying the term only to online content - articles, videos and the like.

Advertorials are an increasingly used tactic for content marketers, although there’s occasional debate about their use - some claiming that they are strictly advertisements, and not fit for content marketing. But the truth is while the advertorial content can be a paid editorial, that doesn’t make it any less effective a means to reaching out to potential audiences.

Consumers can be confused by advertorial content and sponsored posts, but marketers who offer sponsored posts have the advantage of getting their content seen in places where others aren’t reaching - such as Forbes.com, which has increasingly increased the editorial content on their website through programs like AdVoice and BrandVoice.

Sponsored posts and advertorials should be used with care, but savvy consumers are learning that even paid editorial content has something to offer, and many are willing to read such content to see what opinions the company is publishing about its own offerings.


Amplification is the practice of using content discovery tools, such as Outbrain and Taboola, to boost the signal of your content. They can be used to promote infographics, paid editorials, or earned articles about your content.

Some might argue that it’s easier to call this category “content discovery,” as the tools above sometimes describe themselves, but I like to refer to this idea as amplification for another reason: you don’t always have to promote the final destination of the content, but rather one of the online signals leading to it.

For instance, if you’ve placed an editorial or have an earned article that’s driving traffic to your website, or traffic from that source is converting at a particularly high rate, you could use these tools to boost the visibility of that article. Amplification is a great tool to keep in mind when you have clearly defined campaign goals. If website traffic is the goal, find the articles that are driving in the most traffic, and boost them!

Paid Social

Advertising in Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is by now a noted and well-known tactic for marketers. But oftentimes we forget we can use these tools to not only advertise our products and services, but our content as well.

These tools also have sophisticated targeting options, allowing you greater control over who will see your content. This is just one additional advantage of having your audiences mapped up for each campaign - you can use your demographics, interests, and the preferred social platforms of your target audience to craft very specific social media campaigns to reach them.

As with any social media tactic, you’ll want to be sure you have a good (read: responsive) presence on your social media channels. It’s great to send out signals that you’ve got awesome content for your users to consume - just don’t forget to be there when they want to engage on Twitter or Facebook and start a conversation!

And the savviest of marketers know that the big three aren’t the only options available for advertising - Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and other social mediums might be perfect for your audience. If your research says your audience is there, paid social is a great way to make sure you and your content are there, too.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

PPC is another tactic that most are familiar with. It’s long been held as an effective way to advertise online, and can be incredibly useful in capturing the attention of potential customers nearing a purchase decision - but it’s also very effective in other areas of your target audience’s buying decisions.

In fact, it might be one of the best tactics available at capturing awareness-level interest - and it’s an essential asset used alongside a good SEO strategy to promote your content. Google did a study on the incremental clicks associated with keywords for which sites organically rank. Fifty percent of all ad clicks were found to be incremental, even if the site was ranked number one. This underlines the important relationship between SEO and Paid Search initiatives.

PPC advertising works because it targets consumers who are already searching for the goods and services your business provides, according to Kelley Swart of Found Search + Marketing, a PPC agency in Indianapolis. Pay-per-click allows you to capture these users at the right place and the right time. It is often the fastest and one of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your website, especially when you have fresh content.

Wrapping Up

Paid media is an important element of any Converged Media approach. Whether you use advertorials, amplification, paid social or PPC, just make sure that you’re tracking the effectiveness of each tactic and adjusting your content marketing efforts over time accordingly.That’s it for part two of our series on Converged Media. Tune in next week when we break down Earned Media, and find out how to earn media coverage for your content and extend the reach of your marketing efforts online.

Then join us for the final installment on how to get your Owned, Earned and Paid Media working in harmony.

dustin clark headshot

As the Digital Marketing Director for Element Three, Dustin works with the Element Three digital marketing department to determine the best combination of data analysis, marketing technology, and storytelling for driving our clients' bottom line. His background in journalism, digital communication, and ecommerce positions him as a unique voice in the cluttered digital marketing industry. When he's not writing about the forefront of digital marketing, you can find him jamming with a guitar or at home with his wife and two children.