The Four-Channel Media Model

People consume information via four media channels. Activate and orchestrate all four channels appropriately to tell your story.

People consume information via four media channels. Activate and orchestrate all four channels appropriately to tell your story.

You have a story to tell, and you need that story to reach a particular audience of people who matter most to you. There are four distinct media channels to connect your message to your target audiences.

Communication and marketing strategies continue to evolve within the Four-Channel Media Model.

  • Paid Media: This is paid space or time in someone else's communications vehicle. This channel is shrinking for many reasons.  For example, much of the information we want is available for "free" through social media. Younger people tend not to buy subscriptions or join organizations.
  • Earned Media: Earn your space or time via public relations approaches (i.e. news articles, speaking opportunities, interviews and bylines). Credible and less expensive, we don't have total control of this channel. Earned media generates the highest ROI when amplified through the other media channels.
  • Shared Media: These are communications vehicles that aren't yours or mine. They are ours. Likes, retweets and posts are the currency of social engagement, buzz and interest.

    Social media is actually shared media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). Today, shared media is considered by many to be the highest, most credible source of information. We don't trust traditional experts; we trust "people like me."
  • Controlled Media: Often the favorite channel, you have 100% control over these tools.  What. When. How it looks.  Who you invite. What your website says. Your signature file. How you respond to RFPs.

    I controlled this blog post, for example. Controlled media includes all collateral, events, sales and marketing materials. Controlled media is growing, as organizations with good credibility become their own publishers of thought leadership.

Message Orchestration

The best mix must be customized to match your goals. But whatever the mix is, be sure to orchestrate your efforts to maximize your ROI.

Message orchestration weaves all four media channels into one superb masterpiece. Your story is disseminated and reinforced through a harmonious mix.

For example, the speech you gave at a tradeshow can be repurposed into a case study. That tool will support sales efforts and can easily evolve into a byline article in an important industry publication. Links and reprints of your story will then be used as ongoing thought leadership, online resources, and proof points attached to prospect emails.

Create balance and find the best mix across all four media channels. You will make beautiful music, and maximize your investment in marketing and communications.