In the early days of content marketing, you had to rely on established media owners to create relevant content. But these days, brands have become publishing houses in their own right by taking advantage of owned media strategies.
There’s an incredible opportunity for brands to create and distribute content on digital channels they’re in complete control of.
Are you making the most of this opportunity?
You should be because fully leveraging your owned media can be a PR paradise as the entire process is under your control — from creation to promotion to monitoring. And alongside this, your brand’s narrative and messages are as well.
If you don’t know how to get your blog or social channels kick-started, we’re going to walk you through 6 strategies for making the most of your owned media.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What’s owned media
- Advantages of owned media
- Types of owned media
- How a grocery giant capitalized on owned media
- Strategies for owned media
- Key takeaways
What’s Owned Media?
Owned media is defined as having full control over the content, platform and audience. The content you’ve created is generated on a platform that you control and therefore distributed to an audience you’ve nurtured.
Marketing and PR professionals often toss around terms like “owned media,” “earned media,” and “paid media,” and it’s not their fault. The media types are interrelated in many ways, yet they do hold major differences.
Owned media looks like a blog or podcast you’ve created and published on your website. It also looks like repurposing that content through e-mails and your social network at zero cost. The key factor here is that your email, website and social media presence are channels you own (Well, for the most part).
When you’re paying to have content created and promoted, now you’re treading into paid media strategies. As you can imagine, they overlap in many ways so it’s easy to get lost in the theory and technicalities of what falls exactly into each category.
With this said, what are owned media’s advantages?
The Advantages of Owned Media
A big advantage is that you have full control over your content distribution channels. As you can see from Whole Foods, publishing content regularly on their website is perfect for controlling the exact message that they want to pass on to their consumers.
Another advantage is that it helps you cement authority in your industry. If you’re creating various types of content on the regular, you’re showcasing the expertise you have and becoming a thought leader. And with this also comes more credibility.
These advantages thus lead to establishing more trust with audiences, which is extremely valuable for building enduring brands. With more trust, you establish long-term relationships with existing and potential consumers, who can then drive more earned media.
Lastly, owned media is relatively more easy to maintain and little to no cost — other than your time and effort. Yes, it takes time to build, but once you do, you’ll have cost-effective, versatile and easy to control content channels for your consumers to interact with.
Now, let’s take a deeper look into the different types.
Types of Owned Media
Owned media is defined as media used on communication channels your brand owns. They include:
- Your website
- Blog posts
- Product Packaging
- Call centre
- In-store signage
As we mentioned, things aren’t that clear cut. You might have owned media crossing over with earned media, such as the case of customer reviews on your website. It’s content you didn’t create, yet it’s on a channel you own.
Social media content also falls into this fuzzy grey area, as the content published on it is at the whims of social media restrictions. Here are a number of fuzzy owned and earned media types.
Let’s not dive into the theoretical mumbo jumbo. Instead, here’s a real case study of how a corporate giant leveraged owned media for success.
How Grocery Giant Whole Foods Capitalizes on Their Owned Media
Grocery Giant, Whole Foods, is a prime example of how a company successfully uses their owned media for branding and marketing. They have videos, podcasts and 2 blogs as part of their content strategy.
The first blog is titled the Whole Story, which provides recipes and product suggestions. The second blog is content from their CEO, John Mackey, who conducts interviews on entrepreneurship, nutrition and food issues. It gives the brand a more personal way of forming a bond with consumers and allows them to take more control of their brand narrative.
Whole Foods is not the only website providing recipes or food ideas. But it’s still a clever strategy for increasing the value they provide for existing customers and attracting new ones.
In their own words, their blogs help position them as “the world’s leading natural and organic grocer,” who is “all about healthy food and a healthy planet.”
Even the brand’s Instagram account boasts more than 3.1 million followers. It posts 1-2 photos a day displaying healthy food ideas but mixes its owned and earned media in its strategic approach.
They encourage food bloggers to post healthy meal ideas with their hashtag, and they simply select the most professional photos and repost the content.
View this post on Instagram
Through a mix of owned and earned media, Whole Foods is pushing the message of high quality, fresh food across all their owned channels.
So, if you think it’s time to get started, here are some strategies to get the ball rolling.
How to Create an Owned Media Strategy
6 owned media strategies
- Centralized Content Hub
- Digital Content Storytelling
- SEO Strategy
- Seamless Experience
- Social Media
- A/B Testing to Remove the Guesswork
1. Create a centralized content hub
A marketing and sales report from HubSpot found that businesses that put time into establishing their blogs are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts than those who don’t.
It’s definitely worth your time. Having a centralized content hub extends the lifespan of your assets, housing it all in one location and making it easy for visitors to revisit.
A content hub also helps search engines find and rank your content to push your website to the top of search results.
2. Create a digital content storytelling strategy
Once you set up your content hub, it’s time to craft a content strategy that communicates your brand story.
If your story and message can create emotional bonds with consumers, they might become your next raving fan. But remember if the content is too promotional in nature, you could risk losing a consumer’s interest.
Creating a blog and an editorial calendar to go along with it like so:
- Set up a blog/content hub
- Establish your brand
- story/overarching mission
- Write a content plan
- Establish a calendar for
- publishing dates
- Write consistently
- Share through social channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
- Track and report results
3. Improve SEO
Once you’ve built your content hub, you still need a strategy for drawing traffic to it.
In order for other outlets to share and link to your content, they first have to be able to find it when searching online, which means optimizing your past and future posts.
To improve SEO try tools like:
These tools can improve the chances of your content ranking for your industry’s keywords. They can also help with internal and external links and understanding your website’s search data, among MANY, MANY other things.
Need help with your SEO efforts? Here is a list of guides to get you started:
4. Create a seamless experience for visitors
UX is about understanding what makes a pleasant browsing experience and developing your website accordingly. And if you do this right, you can nudge your visitors to perform more actions.
And while you may not be a UX designer, developing content that follows established UX principles will ensure you create a positive experience for visitors.
It will also give your content the greatest chance of succeeding in its goal to generate leads.
For example, when optimizing your blog posts, be sure to include a strong call to action (CTA) in your content. This helps you capture leads and move them further down the sales funnel.
Or if you’re creating a landing page with an online form to access gated content, keep form fields to as few as possible.
Take a step back and look objectively at your blog and social channels by asking these questions:
- Does your website load quickly, or do you feel frustrated at loading times?
- Is your content displayed clearly, or is it difficult to read?
- Are your colours and visual elements appropriate?
- What do they make you feel?
- Is your blog mobile optimized and easy to navigate?
- Want more? Here’s a UX guide
5. Social media
Social sharing can generate significant spikes in web traffic when a piece of content hits home with your audience.
Make sure you consistently share your posts and engage with your community online. You can even collaborate by offering to guest blog on a relevant website with a similar audience to yours.
The cumulative effect of continually growing your blog and social presence should help you gain new fans, followers and, if all goes as planned, leads, sales and word of mouth marketing.
Also, be ready for when you do start getting mentions online. Claim your Google listing and set up your Glassdoor and Yelp profile so you’re notified when a customer leaves a review.
You can also set up an alert to get notified when your business is mentioned.
6. Always A/B test to remove the guesswork
Testing is the most critical tool for ensuring a return on investment on your owned media strategy.
There are many types of split tests you can run. Some common goals you might be testing and aiming for is to:
increase website traffic
receive a higher conversion rate for your CTAs
achieve a lower bounce rate if visitors are leaving quickly from your web pages
By testing, you’ll learn all about what works and doesn’t and be able to adapt from there.
The biggest takeaways we want you to remember are:
- Owned media offers you control in all aspects of your brand and content. You can direct the narrative, the image, the tone, the overall message and more. With time, placing greater emphasis on these aspects will only help your brand become more differentiated.
- There’s no shortage of content with owned media. With a content strategy, you can leverage infographics, blog articles, whitepapers, e-books, short videos and podcasts to establish your brand as an authoritative source in your industry. If you’re consistent you establish more trust and reliability, which are the focal buying points of the modern consumer.
- What succeeds in owned media, you can promote through paid or SEO optimization. Take what has succeeded and shared it far and wide with paid media. You never know, others might share it with their own audience for some earned media attention. Alternatively, invest in sweat equity and time to rank your owned media high in search rankings. There’s an enormous chance you won’t regret it.
- When it comes to these 3 types of media, there’s really no room to pick and choose. You need all 3 to work together for the most powerful marketing strategy. The reason is that owned, earned and paid media don’t exist in isolation. They overlap. So your goal is to make them work together.
With this guide, we hope your one step closer in developing and implementing an owned media strategy. For more on everything digital marketing related, stay tuned to our blog and follow us.