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Crafting the perfect content poem & the 4 vs

You may have heard of Paid, Earned and Owned Media (POEM) or it may be new to you. Yet POEM is becoming increasingly important for getting to a good position in web searches, and analysing the success of your campaigns.

Crafting content image

What’s POEM?

Think of the way you spread your marketing message. It could be split into three definable media categories:

  • Paid Media:
    Any media content that you have paid to host outside your site, including advertorials, native adverts, affiliate marketing, pay per click (i.e. Google AdWords) etc. Often these are targeted at prospects.
  • Owned Media:
    All the content that’s available in-house, so your website, blog, brochures, whitepapers, owned social media pages (like a fansite or company-owned LinkedIn forum), and mobile content. These are often communications to customers or leads.
  • Earned Media:
    People talking about your company and your content without you having to instigate it – i.e. 3rd party blogs, social media mentions, reviews of products and ‘likes’. Essentially these are people showing your company love, without having been prompted to. These are pretty much your fans.

If your media strategy doesn’t integrate elements from all of these channels you should be addressing plans to include them now. Or risk missing out on valuable web traffic and expressions of interest.


Google searching has changed. Gone are the days when the first results page you saw was directly attributable to your website. It’s now a culmination of many different mentions externally. Also now that Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm is firmly in place, there’s less emphasis on keywording and more on semantic searching. Keywords are still important for those little Google spiders and Google’s Webmaster Tools, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of SEO. That’s where POEM comes in. Google now gives equal weight to results from paid, owned and earned media, so the more mentions you get across all channels, the better your rankings will become.

The 4 V’s

In his eBook Google Semantic Search (July 2013, Que Biz Tech) David Amerland suggests that your POEM strategy needs to be governed by ‘The 4 Vs’:

  • Volume: the amount of content you are pumping out
  • Velocity: the speed at which you are providing new content
  • Variety: how you combine different content offerings, blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, videos, social media etc.
  • Veracity: the authenticity of your content – creating interesting content that gets mentions will up the authenticity of your brand


There’s a lot of discussion out there in digital marketing land as to how you should go about using POEM. Should you share content equally between the three channels or should you weight them differently? We don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this. It all depends on your objectives. Here’s a quick run-down of the pros and cons you can expect from using each channel.


This is a great way to get a lot of traffic to your site and to broadcast your brand to your customers and prospects. But it tends to be expensive. To make it worth your while and your ROI carry out some up-front research into which media outlets will best serve your market, before jumping in. You could start small with a PPC campaign or a display ad on a relevant site. Then join up your paid and earned by promoting your content on social media (through advertising opportunities) or ensuring that your paid content has ways to share/comment to drive your earned arm.


Make sure that your owned channel has consistent, regular content postings of good quality and that these have good sharing options or widgets. Having more content in the owned channel means you’ll have a better chance of getting your message out there. In addition it will help your credibility and discoverability during that initial research stage that a potential customer carries out.


This is tricky to achieve. It’s all about creating content that people want to share on their own sites. So, really your owned and earned should be working together – cultivating an “ooh that’s interesting” response when people see what’s on your site and using their social channels to spread it around. Also make sure that when someone says something nice about your product or service you make the most of this. Perhaps retweet nice comments or thank people when you get to 1,000 likes on Facebook.

However you choose to make it work for you it’s a strategy that many marketers say is here to stay. Make sure your content plans are POEM ready (with a nod to the 4V’s) and get your message out there!

What are your thoughts on POEM – how has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Why not contact us to find out how we can help you with POEM and more?

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