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There is no inbound without outbound

Great content on subjects close to your audiences’ heart that offers them value and insight will drive traffic to your brand – it’s a fact. However, it won’t get noticed if YOU don’t put it in their line of sight, in short: there is no inbound marketing without outbound.

Producing great content takes time, effort and budget. But once you’ve made the investment, it’s down to you to make the most of it – and it won’t get shared if you don’t share it first. The channels you should be using as part of your inbound marketing strategy will be a blend of owned, paid for and earned, as defined below:


Any channel which you have 100% control of.

  • Examples: Website, blog, brand community, your social channels, newsletters, direct marketing, collateral, ebooks, apps, SEO
  • Pros: Control, cost*, flexibility
  • Cons: Lack of trust, less traffic

Paid for

Channels owned by others that you have to pay for your content to appear on. These channels may also appear in ‘earned'.

  • Examples: PPC, on & offline advertising, sponsorship, events, direct marketing.
  • Pros: Context, on demand, scalable, control
  • Cons: Competitive environment, cost*


The channels of third parties, over which you have no control.

  • Examples: Social shares, bloggers, forums, WOM, national and industry media online and off.
  • Pros: Trusted, more often shared, no cost*
  • Cons: No control, not always positive, difficult to track

Whilst in an ideal world your channels would be a blend of owned and earned, the reality for even the most successful of brands is that the greatest percentage are likely to be paid for. *All channels have a cost of some kind, nothing comes for free. Earned, in particular, whilst appearing to have no cost, is likely to cost the most in terms of the sheer time and effort invested in elevating brand awareness and positioning as well as generating the high levels of content which lead to it being picked up and shared.

As marketers, agencies and channel owners become more sophisticated in their approach to content and sharing, the lines between the three channels are increasingly blurred. Ultimately, these channels work best when a brand uses them in a strategic, integrated way to put content in a place that is now referred to as ‘converged’.

This place of convergence is not limited to digital; all your marketing efforts – online and off – have an important role to play, along with the variety of media you employ in each channel.

As any inbound marketing agency will be happy to tell you, inbound is the very essence of marketing, but the idea of outbound vs. inbound is a misapprehension, both have equal merit.