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Owned media

Owned media refers to any online property under the direct control of the company, such as a website, social media profile, app, newsletter etc.

What is owned media?

Owned media is the home of your content. It is under your complete control from creation to distribution and is a potent way to connect to both customers and prospects alike.

From blog posts to email marketing campaigns and from webinars to tweets, owned media is your way of creating free, contextual content to increase engagement at every stage of the user journey.

Let’s explore further. 

Examples of owned media

Website/app

Your website or app are your primary channel of distribution when it comes to owned media. They act not only as the mouthpiece of your brand, but are often the first place where content you create will be published, and set the stage for how you want users to engage with your brand. 

The content that comprises this channel includes blog posts, press releases, product pages (or a recommended products selection in an app), webinars, eBooks, demos, and more. 

Social properties

Having a page or a profile on the major social media platforms is as ubiquitous as having a website. They offer the opportunity to expand your brand’s reach and allow existing and future customers to engage with you more easily.  

While the content still needs to be authentic and consistent with your brand, social media allows you to be a bit less formal and a bit more fun.

Both a vehicle for original content creation, curation, and distribution, social media is a versatile channel to explore what works when it comes to creating meaningful conversations that inspire action. 

Note: you may notice that a profile on a third-party site doesn’t exactly fit our definition of “direct control” so more on that below.

Email list

Email marketing is a key channel for promoting your products, nurturing prospects, updating your customers on any changes, and of course giving them exclusive offers and discounts. 

Email is an interesting channel as it’s one of the most personalized, contextual ways to communicate with prospects and customers. 

Just think: you can segment users by all sorts of attributes and create different flows, messages, and CTAs for users based on their stage in the user journey or even what actions they have (or haven’t yet taken) on your site or in your app. 

To underline how important email is in your owned media arsenal, according to an eMarketer study, the median email marketing ROI is 122% – four times higher than any other digital marketing channel.

Third party profiles 

Similar to social media are third-party profiles which include app store profiles, review site listings, and forums. All third party profiles are places for you to create and distribute content and fall under the owned media category. 

As a company you still own and control the content of each of the listings, but they may not be able to mimic the exact style of your brand. That being said, they are good for building communities around your brand, actively engaging with potential users, encouraging loyalty, and seeking out potential advocates. 

The difference between paid, owned, and earned media

Owned media vs earned media vs paid media

Owned media vs. earned media

Earned media is any time your content is promoted or referenced and you have not paid for it. It is the equivalent to online word of mouth. 

It differs from owned media insofar as you cannot control the content or placement. 

Examples of earned media include a tweet about an experience with your product or team, a review of your app on a third-party site, or a news publication that decided to feature you in a piece they were working on, among other things.  

Regarding our note above, some say social media should be classified as earned media because even though the content is your own you are not in complete control of the functionality. Others have created a whole new category for this type of media called “shared media” but we’ll stick with the three media categories for now.

Think of it like the difference between owning and renting an apartment. With the apartment you own you can make the decisions about decor and structure. With a rented apartment you can make these decisions to a certain extent but it is the landlord who decides where the walls are and the terms of the lease. 

Owned media vs. paid

Paid media, as the name suggests, refers to content which you have paid for. There are many types of paid media, but the most common are:

  • Banner ads 
  • Search ads
  • Native ads on social media
  • Various forms of in-app advertising 

Other examples of paid media include partnerships, influencer marketing, advertorials, and non-digital channels such as billboards, TV ads, and event sponsorships. 

While you maintain control over both owned and paid media, the former is free, which is the main, or only difference between the two.

What are the benefits of using owned media?

Full control 

As we mentioned before, owned media allows you to be in complete control of every aspect of your content. From the brand tone, to the look, feel, subject matter, and the ability to update or adapt it whenever/however you like.

Free

Aside from the internal resources you put into creating your content, owned media is otherwise free. You do not have to pay to distribute your content, or to house it. 

Low risk 

The combination of the facts that, as a brand you have complete control over your content, coupled with owned media being free, means it poses a low risk to your company. With paid media you could find you have wasted your budget if a campaign is unsuccessful, and with earned media you lack control over comments and responses. Owned media avoids both of these potential pitfalls. 

Allows you to address all stages of the buyer journey 

With owned media you can build a content strategy that addresses each stage of the buyer journey. 

For example your blog can address the awareness stage, your newsletter can aid the consideration stage, and a webinar with a demo can progress the decision stage to completion. 

Best practices for your owned media strategy

Seeing the results from your owned media efforts can be a challenge in and of itself, which is why it is important to follow some best practices. 

Plan your content creation 

Before you start creating your content, think about the goals you want to achieve. Once you have defined your benchmarks and metrics you can work backwards and decide which content formats and distribution channels best help you achieve your targets.  

Research your audience

Think about who you are creating the content for, and where they are in the buyer journey. With this in mind, try to create content that solves a particular pain point. You can also consider where they might be finding your content and whether you should publish in a range of formats. 

Decide on your distribution channels

As we discussed earlier, there are a number of distribution channels each with their own plusses and minuses. Take the time to evaluate which channels are best suited for a particular piece of content or message. 

For example, you may have an exciting company announcement which you want to publicize on your newsletter, but also on your LinkedIn page. Or, you may have published a new industry report which will be housed on your website, but you also decide to post a link in a relevant forum to encourage people to your site to download the report. 

Determining which channels you wish to publish is an important part of your content strategy. 

Decide whether you want to enhance your campaign with paid channels or collaborations, or if your owned media channels are sufficient. 

Experiment 

There is an ocean of content out there so in order to stand out in the crowd you need to ensure you’re going to be noticed. 

Experiment with different channels, visuals, and formats and see which approaches bring you higher value users and improved brand awareness. 

Analyze

Using the benchmarks you set out in your planning stage, measure how your owned media is performing relative to your targets. 

If you are exceeding expectations then double down on your efforts, or if you notice areas for improvement you can tweak and optimize your content strategy.

It is important to constantly analyze your results in order to achieve the highest possible performance from your owned media.

Key takeaways

  1. Owned media is the home of your content – this is where as a brand you have complete control so to be sure to use it as your company’s mouthpiece
  2. Earned media differs from owned media in that you cannot control the content or the placement. These both differ from paid media as both earned and owned are free.   
  3. Owned media can be used to address each phase of the buyer journey – coupled with the correct distribution channel, owned media has the ability to create a dialogue with customers as they move down the funnel

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