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Use Other People's Audiences To Grow Yours

May 13, 20233 min read

Creating a marketing strategy or deciding how to allocate additional budget can be overwhelming due to the plethora of options available.

These options include:

  • newsletter

  • referral programs

  • editorial blog posts

  • programmatic SEO

  • and more.

To simplify, marketing strategies can be categorized into three types:

  1. Owned

  2. Rented

  3. Borrowed

These categories refer to the communication channels you either own, rent, or borrow to reach your audience. Each category has its place in the marketing plan. The ORB Framework provides a useful way to create a winning marketing plan. It can be applied to any business or marketing campaign.

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The circles represent audience depth.

At the core, it's private.

As you expand outward, you reach more people but with reduced depth. All marketing should lead back to owned platforms.

Rented platforms should lead to owned platforms to reduce the risk of lost reach or access. The final result should look like this:

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After laying out your marketing experiments and channels, you can see which owned platforms to invest in, engage your audience to grow them, and borrow other people's audience to expand your reach. It doesn't have to be complex!

Now, let's examine each circle.


Owned platforms give you more control, reach, and predictability over your audience.

Successful creators and brands often have blogs, email lists, communities, podcasts, or text message lists as their most successful marketing channels.

Choose the owned platform that best aligns with your skills and your audience's needs. Blogs, email, communities, podcasts, and text messaging are here to stay and offer direct lines of communication with your audience. Video is an emerging owned platform, and Wistia Channels can help turn your website into a video destination.


Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, Medium, mobile app stores, browser extensions, SaaS platform plugins, and messenger apps are rented platforms that control the end user's experience.

There are tradeoffs to using these platforms, including reduced reach, ambiguous algorithms, censorship, pay-to-play, and ephemeral content.

However, there are also upsides, such as discoverability, shareability, and meeting your audience where they already are. It's important to commit to a few platforms that your audience uses and expects you to be on.


Borrowing other people's audience is crucial to grow on owned and rented platforms. It involves leveraging someone else's platform to gain exposure to their audience.

Guest posting, collaborations, shoutouts, and speaking at conferences are some examples of borrowing someone's audience.

However, most people adopt a passive approach to borrowed platforms, which isn't effective. An active approach, where you actively seek out collaborations, is necessary to make the most of this strategy.

The magic of borrowed platforms is that they've already attracted the right people, earned their trust, and kept their attention over time. To effectively borrow someone else's audience, make a list of everyone and everything that has the attention of your intended audience and work out a win-win collaboration.

You can ask your audience about the channels they're active on, who they pay attention to and learn from, and the publications they subscribe to. It's more art than science, and platforms like SparkToro, Audiense, Listen Notes, Agent, and Ahrefs can help you find borrowed platforms.

Putting it all together.

In short, a successful marketing strategy consists of three components: owned, rented, and borrowed platforms.

Owned platforms are the top priority since they offer a direct relationship with your audience.

Rented platforms provide discoverability and interaction but also come with platform risk.

Borrowed platforms are an under-utilized strategy for growing your owned and rented platforms by collaborating with others who have already built an audience.

The ORB framework can guide you in investing your resources and building a cohesive strategy.

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