Paid media is exactly what it sounds like—you pay to reach new audiences. We’ve talked here before about the “P” of the PESO Model™. We’ve covered how paid media fits into a larger communications strategy, and what it looks like in practice. But many communicators get overwhelmed by it, think it belongs solely to marketing, or skip it entirely.

Paid media, though, is an important part of your communications planning. It is, after all, one-fourth of the PESO Model table. Without it, the table would topple over.

There is more to paid media than PPC ads, however, so here are some of the lesser-known, but potentially awesome ways to use paid media that you can use to promote your content, have larger content distribution, get closer to the things the execs care about, and increase the reach of your brand. 

I’d like to spend a little time digging further into paid media, this time with a specific focus on the platforms you can use to promote and amplify your content.

No need to be scared. It’s not like it’s really easy to spend tons of time and money on campaigns that ultimately flop. Ha! It’s crazy easy to spend lots of time and money on something that doesn’t work. But learn from me. Please learn from me. I am here to save you! In just a minute.

Use Paid Media to Reach New Audiences

What did you do to amplify a juicy media placement the last time you had one? Did you send it to the entire company? Share it on your social channels? Repurpose it for your blog?

Hopefully, you at least did one of those things, but there’s a lot more you can do to increase the reach of all of your hard work—with paid media.

Paid media is what it sounds like: you pay to reach new audiences. Communicators often get flustered when it comes to paid media: does it belong to the advertising department or agency? Marketing might want to get their hands on it. We don’t have budget in our comms program to paid to amplify anything.

All of those are valid reasons, but also not enough to stop you from working with your colleagues to amplify, boost, and distribute the work you do, from media placements and podcast interviews to pillar content and blog posts.

Paid Media Is 1/4 of the PESO Model™

In today’s digital world, it is impossible to distribute to a wider audience and reach prospective customers without putting some money behind your content. Organic reach goes a long way—but there is nothing wrong with giving your content a little boost to reach deeper connections on the internet.

This is important because you have to reach new audiences to keep your funnel full and meet your business goals. 

And yet, even though it is an entire fourth of the PESO Model, it is often overlooked. This is due to the reasons I just mentioned, but also to the perception you need a large budget for it to be effective, or that it’s something you can only undertake with the support of an advertising agency and a media buyer.

Thankfully, none of these misconceptions are true! In the PESO Model, paid media includes paid social media advertising, content syndication and distribution, lead generation or inbound marketing, and email marketing. Yes, it can also include PPC or paid search, advertising in print and broadcast outlets, and even more traditional media buys. But I prefer to leave those things to the pros. Where communicators can have the biggest bang for the buck are on the types of things we’ve always done, but may have been called something else—such as advertorials, for instance.

Create Your Content

A few years ago, I read The Conversion Code and I loved how the author, Chris Smith, described his paid media method. He calls it the CAB method: create, advertise, blast.

It stuck with me and it’s a process we’ve evolved in my agency because it’s what communicators naturally do—and it works.

Create, advertise, blast. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but you create something, then you pay to amplify it, and then you distribute it far and wide.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say that you have an executive who appeared on their favorite podcast. They, of course, want you to share it, but also to repurpose it and to distribute it far and wide. They want their friends to see it, but they also want customers and prospects to see it, too.

In this case, the content has been created—it’s the podcast interview. Now you should share that content on social media and boost it for a week or two. From there, you can find other ways to repurpose that content. We like to take the audio of an interview and break it into social media bites—30 seconds or less. Our social media manager used to work in TV so she’s great at breaking up interviews in that way. 

We put some money behind those snippets, too.

Then Advertise It

Then we create a landing page or two—we like to do lots of testing—and we use the interview to drive to some sort of pillar content. In this case, let’s use a buyer’s guide.

The podcast interview is shared on social media and we’ve created snippets of it to create even more downloads and listens (podcast hosts love this, by the way, and always want to have you back because you’re so helpful in distributing content). 

We’ve boosted all of that content. Then we create a landing page that has a downloadable buyer’s guide behind it, which describes much of what the executive discussed during their interview. We create some ads—usually just on social media, not on search—and we use snippets from the interview to drive to the landing page, which converts to downloads and then we can track to marketing and sales qualified leads.

Then Blast It Out

Then we send effective blast emails, which we track the heck out of it so we know what works and what doesn’t work.

Create, advertise, and blast is the very best way for a communicator to use paid media in their PESO Model program. It doesn’t require you to have to do big media buys and create pithy headlines and write conversion copy. 

You do have to know how to create landing pages—or have someone on your team who can do it (I love LeadPages for this)—and you have to know how to create social media ads (there are lots of online courses out there that teach you how to do it). 

But if you have colleagues who can help, or you’re willing to invest in some professional development for yourself, you can implement this process pretty easily. And then watch all the qualified leads come in while the leadership team raises you up on their shoulders and carries you around the office, celebrating all of the ways you’ve contributed to revenue generation. (OK, most of us are virtual or hybrid so there is no office, but you get the idea.)

Paid Media Success!

Create amazing content, run effective ads, and send effective blast emails. Now you have one-fourth of your PESO Model program complete.

If you need some help with using paid media in your next tactic or campaign, and you’re not already a member of the Spin Sucks Community, get your butt over there!

We’re always good for a great brainstorm, answering questions, or just talking through ideas and solutions.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich