Owned Media is often underestimated in comparison to Paid and Earned Media. In digital marketing, there’s always a distinction between Owned Media, Paid Media, and Earned Media. However, the ultimate aim is the same; creating brand awareness, engagement, and conversions. There is much focus on Paid and Earned Media currently, and many marketers focus their resources here. In 2020 this isn’t the case anymore. If you want to stay ahead in the game, it’s time to reevaluate your owned media strategy.
What is Owned Media?
You can think of owned Media as everything you own and have full control over. Owned media can include your website, newsletter, and blogs, although many will consist of your social media accounts as owned media, that isn’t entirely true. Paid Media is whatever you pay a publisher to showcase your ads while earned Media is exposure by advocates of your brand, whether they are reporters, influencers, or micro-influencers.
Understand the difference between Owned, Paid and Earned Media here.
Social Media is not Owned Media
You’ve probably read tens of blogs and heard hundreds of videos explaining how Social Media is or can be treated as owned media. But this is not entirely true. The reasoning behind it is that you own your profile, and there are no costs for uploading content that you control. Companies run social media channels for brand awareness and generating engagement with potential customers.
You do not control the full experience on social media, nor do you have free access to your audience and have limited access to your data. LinkedIn and Twitter, two of the most popular social platforms used by businesses, both have restrictions on accessing your own data. Facebook’s long term strategy limits businesses from reaching their audience from their own facebook page. There is a charge.
In the best-case scenario, social Media is rented media and not owned. This doesn’t mean it a negative factor; there can be many benefits from renting. But it is crucial not to confuse ownership with rent. The owner will control your freedom and place restrictions, charges, and even change things up as they like. You have to comply and adhere to the terms of your rental, or else you will be penalized. Hence, if you make an owned media strategy for your social platforms, it will be for the social network and not for you.
What does Owned Media Include?
Now that we cleared where social Media stands, its time to discuss the main elements that make up your Owned Media:
Probably the single most crucial factor is your content. Your website, blog, and newsletter are all means that allow you to communicate directly to your audience without third parties. You should focus most of your resources on creating valuable, reliable, and engaging content targeted towards your audience. Think of it as creating a personal experience for your clients – utilize small and big data to achieve this -.
Now that you have tailored and enhance your content to create a unique user experience, its time to create a community. Content is the channel between you and your audience. Community is about finding and strengthening similarities between your audience. Many companies rent a community; however, creating your own will have a better long term reward. Yes, it will require more resources, and it is harder to achieve. You can even create a virtual community, like a forum where your audience can discuss with each other. The community you create is part of your owned media.
Paid and earned media both are limited; they both have a transactional feature. To create a personal connection with your clients away from business transactions, you need to use Owned Media. Moreover, you need to drill, harvest, and translate data into valuable experiences for your audience. Examples of creating meaningful context can be loyalty and reward programs. These two work best for B2C companies. If you’re a B2B, you should instead focus on relationship management programs.
Here are three examples of successful owned brand communities:
Sephora is one of the brands that have connected with their customers on a personal level. They have achieved it through creating Beauty Talk, a well structured and organized forum. The forum allows fans and customers to discuss, share, and solve problems. Sephora has also launched ColorIQ, an app that helps you find your skin tone. It provides direct value to your audience while supplying Sephora with crucial customer data.
A great example of a brand community is Lego Ideas. The platform allows you to submit and share your lego designs; popular designs even make it to market shelves. You can also earn a percentage of product sales. Meanwhile, Lego is getting invaluable data from its audience and allowing them to be co-creators.
Much of the success of Gymshark is a consequence of its active community. Gymshark is a fitness apparel brand that has created Gymshark Central. A blog aimed towards sharing tutorials, tips, recipes, and all health and fitness related topics. Gymshark also employees several social influencers as brand ambassadors. The engagement with fans and customers creates a long term opportunity for fans to convert to customers.
All these owned media communities or platforms have a similar function and strategy. Most owned media strategies are always about pushing, while here, the focus is on pulling the audience. They create value for customers besides selling them their products. The data that is collected from these communities is used to provide a useful and personal service. The customers here are not passive, but active, even can be called co-creators.
These owned media strategies also converge with paid and earned media. It is leveraging them to build awareness and generate engagement. The emphasis here is on using the data from all sources paid, earned, and community platforms to create and nurture unique and valuable user experiences. An experience that can quickly be Earned Media through sharing on social networks.
While it’s true that focusing on owned, paid, and earned media individually is simpler. It is complex to converge all three and also leveraging owned media to create engagement, loyalty, reach, and brand awareness. However, if you want to remain ahead of your competition, you need to rethink your strategy. Engagement with customers is all about taking back control and creating something valuable, unique, and personal; rather than having just transactional relations.
If Sephora, Lego, and Gymshark are all creating active communities and engagement platform, then every industry can. Otherwise, the alternative is remaining passive, with typical engagement. To truly disrupt the market, you need to reevaluate your owned media strategy.