Paid Media

What Is Paid Media?

Paid media is a fancy term for paying money to have some content show up somewhere on the internet to reach an intended audience. Depending upon the platform, you may also see it referred to as "sponsored content."

Why would you even consider paid media if you're working your butt off to show up high in organic search results? Isn't that enough?

Unfortunately, no. Let me give you an example - hell, two.

  • LinkedIn comes to mind immediately. Let's say you want to reach a large number of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) in digital marketing agencies in the New York city metropolitan area. It's going to be tough to organically optimize for that specific audience, but if you pay LinkedIn to feature a post or promotion aimed specifically at this audience and region, then you pay them to do this for you. Paid media!
  • Next, Facebook. Let's say you sell funky, quirky vintage t-shirts. You're looking to cash in on men 18 - 25 in southern California who have expressed an interest in Burning Man. You can do a deep dive into these demographics and create paid ads with content aimed at getting this group to click on your ad, video, whatever - to get them to buy your t-shirts.

You can also do paid media on Twitter to push out sponsored tweets. It's up to you.

Paid Media Considerations

If you're serious about investing in paid media, here are some things to think about before you open up your credit card to some serious abuse.

Which paid media platform has your intended target audience? Not only is there social media, but you can also pay to have articles sponsored on large sites like Forbes magazine, which gets tons of eyeballs every hour. Paying for a press release is also paid media.

How much money do you have to spend? I should have listed this first. Paying for a press release is a one time money shot; social media platforms charge per click. Paying for a magazine article is a one time shot, with a one time exposure.

Paid Media

Are you going to manage your paid media campaign yourself, or have someone do the heavy lifting for you? If you're going to do the social media channels, do you have the time and energy to closely monitor the ads, how much is being spent, how many click throughs happen, how many sales or desired conversion takes place? Because if not, you'll need to hire someone to babysit the operation.

Do you have specific landing pages ready to go? Typically you'll want to send clickers to a very specific page that exactly mirrors what your ad promises. Do you have the time and expertise to do this yourself, or will you have to get a web dev to do this for you? It's more money!

What is your desired outcome for doing paid media? Do you just want someone to sign up for a newsletter, content download, or direct sales? What is it worth to you? Some more things to think about.

Ideally, you've also done some keyword research, and have some phrases ready to use in the ads and content to further boost the reach. Remember, you want to create and publish content that reflects what your target audience needs.

To illustrate paid media, as well as owned and earned, check out this nifty little infographic.

Look for keyword phrases that are questions, asking about comparisons or looking for benefits. These will speak directly to your target audience.

To sum up, target the channels where your target audience is, carve out demographics as much as you can, set a budget you can live with, have clear goals in mind, create appropriate landing pages and optimize the ads and landing pages!

Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!

All the very best to you,

Nancy McDonald

Image courtesy of yodiyim at

Comments are closed.