When you consider the best customer relationships you've developed, those relationships were commonly fostered in some part with owned media. Be it a piece of web copy which enticed a customer to call you, an informative blog post which generated a lead, or a value-rich newsletter which aided customers in gleaning information they couldn't obtain elsewhere; it's no secret that high-quality digital media assets can support your business efforts in many ways.
Despite this fact, many businesses tend to solely focus on marketing tactics which are instant drivers of awareness but don't foster long-term relationships. Simply put, these companies only invest in channels which aid in brand visibility but don't help establish retention and advocacy.
Of course, having a balanced mix of marketing tactics is crucial, but a robust marketing mix is rarely possible, if at all, without strong owned media.
What is owned media, and how can you leverage it?
The current PESO (“paid, earned, shared, owned,”) model seems to have made the term "owned media" popular. The model advises that any business should utilise a mix of paid, earned, shared and owned media. Earned media refers to press coverage and publicity, paid media includes anything that is "pay-to-play", i.e. PPC ads and sponsored content. Shared media refers to content which a brand puts out there, which is specifically designed to be shared by an audience. But what is Owned Media?
Simply put, owned media encompasses all the media assets, digital and otherwise, which your business brand owns. Commonly, this refers to blogs, social media platforms, newsletters, catalogues and so forth. But why does owned media mean so much?
Well, primarily, if you are at the behest of a robust distribution channel, you can use it whenever you desire to, without relying on other channels you don't control. Several brands tend to forget about the importance of owned media, or they don't make enough effort to bolster their owned channels. Instead, they focus their efforts to get in the press, which they have no control over.
So, just how does one get owned media, right? Let's take a look at three ways you can master your brand's owned media.
1. Involve other members of your community.
When businesses create their owned media content, a common sentiment is that it should only involve their own brand. After all, you shouldn't be investing in resources which might end up promoting other projects for free, right?
Commonly, that's true, but sometimes it's an excellent strategy to involve other individuals in your niche.
To paint a better picture of this principle applied in practice, let's explore the relationship between Brendan Frederick, Chief Content Officer at Genius, the world's most extensive collection of song lyrics music knowledge, and YouTube. Genius is the creator of the popular YouTube series "Verified", which invites artists to explain the deeper meanings behind lyrics in their hit songs.
"Verified has garnered Genius notable attention”, Frederick states:
"As an owned media property, it's probably our most recognisable, in large part thanks to that Genius yellow backdrop. Since launching the show in late 2016, we've put out more than 900 episodes, which have racked up over a billion and a half collective views. It's become a popular stop for artists on their promotional runs for a new song or album, and regularly spawns viral memes and parodies, which we get a kick out of."
Moreover, there's a pretty incredible level of externality that comes from that as well. Artists commonly share Verified episodes with their audiences, thus generating more visibility for Genius.
"The sharing obviously contributes to greater awareness around Genius, Verified and our other series, but more importantly, the reception from artists and fans gives us cool insight into what people are responding to. This is all stuff we take into account when we're producing Verified and developing our other shows."
Of course, we understand that your business might not be one that can invite artists to film videos with your brand, but you can still apply the idea of involving other members of your community to be part of your owned media. Perhaps you can rustle up an expert to contribute a quote on your blog post or maybe even write a guest post? The hypothetical expert could end up sharing the article to his fan base, and this partnership could turn into a business relationship in the long-run.
Furthermore, the involvement of experts outside your brand can introduce a more in-depth scope of perspectives to your content and this, in turn, can increase the chances of your owned media reaching a more diverse and broader audience.
2. Repurpose your content as often as possible.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about owned media, is that you need to have loads of resources to put out sufficient content volume. Currently, there are several kinds of social content, including blog posts, podcasts and much more. Perhaps you're not targeting all of those channels, but how do you go about balancing it all?
It all comes down to repurposing content, which simply put, means you don't have to create all content from scratch.
Perhaps you've published a podcast. Once it's been out there for some time, you could transcribe it and post it as a blog post for those who prefer reading content.
3. Don't assume, ask.
When it comes to sound content strategy, businesses often attempt to predict what their customers want to read or learn about. However, is it not more natural to ask?
Furthermore, asking your audience what it wants a simple two-for-one solution. It serves to help you determine what your customers want and increases transparency between your business and your clients.
People love having the power and ability to contribute to a company and giving your audience a voice can also bolster a stronger customer relationship.
There are several ways of approaching engagement of your audience and gleaning their feedback on your content strategy. Sending out surveys via your email list is just one way. You could also consider social media and its many functions. For instance, Instagram stories have become increasingly popular with brands as the platform makes it easy for brands to create polls, sliders, or question stickers to boost engagement from your audience.