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Owned Media: An Overview

Published: January 19, 2015

Author: Lauren Roitman

In my last post, I briefly touched on one of three points in the promotion trifecta: paid. Looking back, I should have probably started with the linchpin of all media: owned!
Today I’m going to take you on a quick stroll through owned media including what it is, why you need it, and how to get started.

What Exactly is Owned Media?

It’s all in the name, baby.
Owned media is anything that you and your brand have total control over. We’re talking your website (both desktop and mobile), your blog, and newsletters. It’s not just limited to online assets, though; owned media is also used to describe your catalogues, direct mail, flyers, and so on.
There are differing opinions when it comes to social media and whether it can be considered as owned or not. However, I personally think that Mark Bonchek (@MarkBonchek) presents a great argument for social media not being owned media. In his post Making Sense of Owned Media (I highly recommend reading this), he describes social media as “rented, not owned.”
As we already know in order to consider something owned, you need to have total control over it, but with social media you don’t control the user experience. You don’t have access to all of the data and you don’t control the environment and appearance, therefore you can’t consider it a part of your owned assets.

Why Do I Need to Own Media?

Owned media is an absolutely essential piece of your marketing strategy. Without any kind of owned media, nobody would ever know about you. Without owned media, you would have no online or offline presence. You couldn’t promote yourself aside from word of mouth, and you’d have nowhere to direct people to find out more about your company or brand.
On the other side of the coin, the more owned media you have, the more opportunity you have to extend your brand presence both online and offline.
Owned media is essential for the rest of the promotion trifecta to work effectively:
Owned + Paid: By combining your owned media with elements of paid, you’ll be able to get your awesome content (such a blog posts) in front of more eyes.
Owned + Earned: If you are making interesting, helpful, and engaging content, it’s likely that it will drive earned media. Social sharing, inbound links, word of mouth, reviews, and forum mentions all count as earned media. This helps to raise awareness about your brand and also drives traffic to your site.
Earned + Paid: Combine your earned media (word of mouth, reviews and PR) with paid promotion to enhance further sharing and engagement.
Owned + Paid + Earned: This is the formula for a comprehensive marketing strategy. All three channels work together in perfect harmony. Your owned media gathers earned media whilst you use paid promotion to get your owned media in front of more eyes and leverage even more earned media. Phew!

How Can I Own Owned Media?

When it comes to really owning your owned media, you need to make sure that you’re building yourself a strong set of foundations that will support the rest of your strategy. A user-friendly website, a blog packed with helpful, interesting and engaging content, and beautifully designed print and web content will all contribute to the success of your strategy.
If you have great owned media, paid promotion will just push you just that little bit further than earned media could on its own. Whilst owned media may take a little more planning, a little more commitment, and a few more resources than any of the other channels, it’s absolutely vital for success.
If you need a little inspiration on how to start creating owned media you’d be proud to say is yours, I’d highly recommend giving the following a little read:
Drive Successful Content Marketing with a 3-Part Media Plan by Rob Yoegel
The Great Content Checklist: Tips, Tools and Examples by Mike Murray
Update for paid promotion blog post:

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