4 Simple Ways to Understand and Execute Content Marketing

Content marketing has taken over. You hear about it all the time.

You’re probably talking about it with your marketing friends and trying to explain it to your significant other.  You may even be interested in leveraging it to create more meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.

But you still might not be sure how. After all, there are a variety of strategies, tactics, and tools at your disposal.

What should you focus on first?

I’m going to set you up with a simple framework that will help you get started with content marketing as early as today.

The PESO Content Breakdown

There are lots of different distribution channels and content types out there, so it’s important to know what’s available to you.

Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned Content Marketing Breakdown

(Source: Amex OPEN Forum)

Whether you invest in the promotion of paid content through platforms like Outbrain (that’s us), leverage third-party PR placements through earned media, spread the word organically through shared content on social media or publish blog articles directly to owned channels such as your website, pretty much everything you can do falls under one of these buckets.

But it’s not quite that simple.

Earned, owned, and shared content can all be paid content as well.

  • Earned – The news cycle never stops. Once the initial interest from your press coverage dies down, how can you get more of your audience to read that article?
  • Owned – It takes time to grow your own email list and build your SEO authority. In the meantime, how do you get prospects to read the blog post you just published?
  • Shared – Social networks have significantly diminished the reach of your posts to your own followers and friends. How do you get more views on the Youtube video you just uploaded?

The answer to each of these question is paid content promotion.

Whether you’re paying to increase exposure within a certain social platform or driving readers from other channels, it’s becoming more difficult to experience significant growth with content without some kind of paid strategy.

This is why understanding the value of every piece of content you create is critical. What is it worth to have the perfect audience consume your content? Do you know?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go through each letter in this handy PESO Starter Kit.

The PESO Starter Kit

1. Paid Media

You’ve probably noticed the flood of content online these days. It’s filling your inbox, your news feeds, and your messaging apps, and showing no signs of slowing. So how can you enter such a saturated market in hopes of reaching your target audience?

You guessed it. You can pay for visibility.

There are several options you can use for paid distribution. A recent survey conducted at the Digiday Content Marketing Summit revealed the top 3 distribution partners used by most of the conference attendees:

digiday survey facebook outbrain nativo


The original social network and go-to marketing solution for businesses looking to catch audiences in their favorite place.  Even though algorithm updates have made this much more difficult, sponsored posts are a quick and easy way to generate exposure on your content.

Simply publish something to your Facebook wall and select the option to “Boost Post.” From there you can select your targeting, budget (based on audience reach) and the promotion duration you want.

If you want to make it to the News Feed in a more organic way, this is a great tactic that requires minimal exertion or know-how.


Yes, that’s us.

All you have to do is submit your great content to Outbrain, we recommend it across our network of premium publisher sites like CNN, TIME, ESPN, Mashable, and thousands more, and you get high quality traffic back to your blog post, video, or third-party press coverage, in the form of engaged readers or viewers.


If you want to see what that looks like, visit this page, enter your URL and click the start now button to test your earned and owned content.

To create a campaign, just add your targeting and budget preferences for the specific pieces of content you are interested in promoting.

Then, add your URLs or RSS feed and launch the campaign.

 2. Earned Media

There’s almost nothing better for a business than great publicity via the right publisher placement or trusted industry leader.

While tactics such as the press release still have their place, tons of new strategies and tactics have cropped up which can help gain the right brand mentions and press coverage.

Influencer marketing, in particular, has become a very effective way of obtaining earned media from authoritative third-parties.

A tool we use at Outbrain to find influencers in a specific niche is called Scrunch. It’s great for surfacing hidden brand champions with large loyal followings.

Ever read an amazing article and think, “I wish I could connect with this author,” but don’t want to come out of left field with a random cold email?

The truth is, with a little bit of time, consideration and authenticity, you can come out of left field to forge meaningful relationships with influencers. They actually expect it.

All you really need is just the right tool to mine their contact information for outreach. We found just that tool!

The next time you find yourself in that predicament, copy the URL of that blog post and use ContentMarketer.io to scan the post.  After working its magic, you’ll be able to play around with some ideas using categorized templates which keep you on-message and as professional as possible.

3. Shared Media

Sharing is still caring as thought leadership and industry authority have become top of mind for marketers looking to leave their mark online.

A strong platform-specific content strategy is a critical step in building the trust essential to the ultimate purchasing decision.

I’m going to cover a few places you can do that…


Medium.com is a blog-publishing platform that packs a serious punch, inspiring a hybrid of contributions from a variety of different viewpoints.

Casual meets professional, splicing in paid contributions, brand storytelling and social journalism.

Now heavily adopted after its long evolution since founded back in 2012 by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, you can connect with passionate readers by sharing high-quality articles related to your area of professional expertise.

Create a new story and take advantage of the well-packaged design elements in order to draw in more viewers, referrers and recommendations.

Be mindful of read time, as Medium’s data suggests optimizing for 7 minutes in order to achieve the most attention.

Since we use Medium as a part of a syndicated content strategy, it’s important for us to include a link back to the original post in hopes of capturing new blog subscribers from this channel.


Demand for video continues to climb, but with low supply in the marketplace, there couldn’t be a more optimal time for you to meet audiences with great content in this format.

So, while creating and promoting a  YouTube channel is the smartest way to host your video and share across platforms, you may still be looking for some tools to help you create your video content. Here’s a few free quality tools to check out: Splice, Clips, Adobe Premiere Clip.

LinkedIn Pulse

If your audience is on LinkedIn it’s definitely worth considering publishing your content on LinkedIn Pulse. Much like Medium, this offers a seamless publishing experience which will produce a mobile optimized article that you can easily share with your connections.

4. Owned Media

As you start building your confidence in content marketing, you’ll want to adopt more of an “own rather than rent” mentality.

Gilad de Vries, our Senior Vice President of Strategy described it best in his article on “The Five Most Important Content Marketing Trends For 2016.” As Gilad points out, owned content creates opportunities for:

  • Building audience cookie pools for retargeting
  • Optimizing the content for better engagement and conversions
  • Gaining SEO and organic sharing value
  • Building a CRM program for continuation of (free) messaging to audiences

With that in mind, here’s my favorite way of kicking off an owned content marketing strategy.

Employee Blogging

There’s no better way to produce authentic owned content, than by tapping into your in-house teams and showcasing their expertise in the form of employee blog posts.

Take it from us.

We tackle a variety of different topics by working internally on content that is not only suitable for our online audiences but also helps to build individual and brand authority in the industry.

You may be surprised to find internal content that employees are already creating that can be repurposed. Outbrain’s Head of Marketing in Australia and New Zealand had been sending an email at the end of every week for 3 years! We convinced him to go public with it on our blog. Now we’re 10 weeks in and going strong with the “Friday Thing/k” series:

A brand storytelling canvas where I’d like to share with you smart, creative, inspiring, engaging, cool, and innovative content marketing ideas that take my digital marketing breath away once a week.

Start drumming up some conversations around the office, putting feelers out for who might be interested in contributing.

Narrow in on subjects and provide them with any necessary resources in terms of style guide, and you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to empower employees to write great content.


Hopefully, in breaking down the various media types, tactics and tools, I’ve warmed you up a bit to start testing the waters of content marketing. Here’s a quick PESO recap of what we covered.

  • Paid – Facebook and Outbrain are two great options the help your content rise above the noise.
  • Earned – Use tools like Scrunch.com and ContentMarkter.io to leverage influencer marketing
  • Shared – Medium.com, YouTube.com, and LinkedIn Pulse are all great places to publish.
  • Owned – Leverage employee expertise, and just start blogging!

No more excuses. It’s time to jump on board with this whole content marketing thing because it’s not going away. Let me know in the comments if I can answer any questions.

I’m here to help

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