A 3 Step Guide to Leveraging Owned, Earned and Paid Media

July 17, 2014

A lot of conversations in Content Marketing today revolve around creating phenomenal content. Creating content worth promoting is the foundation on which a successful marketing campaign is built, but once the articles and eBooks are written, the videos filmed, the webinars recorded and the infographics designed–where should they go and how do you get them there?

Essentially all content promotion occurs through three main media channels.

Paid, Owned, and Earned Media: the trifecta of content marketing channels. POEM, as some people refer to it. Because, hey, who doesn’t love a good acronym. YOLO.

In general, most marketers find that generating content, at least great content, is hard, but it’s not impossible. The bigger problem that content marketers encounter, is how to promote that content once it’s written.

Defining and Differentiating Between Content Marketing Channels

Content is typically promoted through 3 channels, each with its own place and its own benefits and challenges.

  • Owned Media: These are the channels that your brand controls. Your website, your blog, mobile site, social profiles and any other channels you control.
  • Paid Media: Third party channels your brand pays to leverage such as advertising or sponsored articles on influential media sites.
  • Earned Media: The publicity you get through the your customers, the press, industry influencers, or any other online communities or earned channels.

Which Media Channels Should Your Business be Leveraging?

As tempting as it can be to pick a “favorite,”  a truly comprehensive content marketing campaign has a foundation built on all three media channels.

Each channel has different costs associated with them. Paid media has an obvious, direct monetary cost associated with it, but it has the ability to get your business otherwise impossible exposure around the web. Earned media is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, but it involves an enormous amount of patience, time and energy–it’s also harder to control. Owned media is the most affordable and also the most in your control, but it’s reach is narrower and it’s scope more limited. Every business needs to take their budget, team, and resources into account–but in order to reach the widest audience, build the most authority and get the most out of your content marketing, you need to combine elements of all three.

Here’s where you can start:

1. Start with what you control.

Owned media is yours. You control your own channels, so start by building your brand, sharing your content, and encouraging your engagement there.

Make sure your owned media channels are places that you feel confident promoting your content–invest in killer web design, consistent blogging, frequent updates, and the like so that you have a website and social profiles that reflect your brand and act as the professional, authoritative foundation your content will stand on and speak from.

2. Promote through Paid Media.

Just posting your content on your own channels is great to drive traffic to your site, boost your rankings, engage customers and more, but it is not sufficient for successful content marketing.

Promoting your content through paid media is a great way to take control of where your brand’s content is getting seen and by whom. When you get your brand and your content on the platforms that matter most through paid advertising and sharing–you have the ability to get immediate exposure for your content, target specific audiences and drive engagement from more qualified traffic.

3. Expand your reach with Earned Media.

Earned media is a bit more complicated.

Earned media has to be…well, earned. It takes time, quality content, consistent engagement, and major brand awareness for you to be able to leverage free channels, get hosted on the greatest guest blogs, generate word of mouth advertising, and benefit from your earned connections, social networks, and loyal fans.

While earned media doesn’t come with a specified price tag like promotion on paid channels does, it does take a considerable amount of time, energy and effort. In order to benefit from free publicity, promotion and social sharing–you need to invest in a comprehensive social media campaign, high-quality content creation, spend time connecting with influencers in your niche, encourage  your customers and the people in your community to engage.

The key to earned media is creating an online presence that instills enthusiasm and insights action from your audience. Earned media, much like successful SEO, is  the product of a high-quality and long-term marketing strategy, so start laying the foundation for that enthusiasm now:

  • Produce phenomenal content consistently.
  • Encourage talent fans and fellow authors to contribute to your blog.
  • Try offering promotions for your followers who like, re-tweet or share a piece of content.
  • Hold contests that get customers or fans involved–ask community members to submit the most creative caption for an image, enter a photo or video contest, or vote for their favorite product or service.
  • Create viral content.
  • Give customers the opportunity to review your products or services online, leave comments, or engage in forum discussions. Then respond.
  • Get genuinely involved with industry leaders and other influential brands and bloggers.
  • Offer to contribute content to your favorite communities (with no strings attached)–start co-hosting webinars, co-writing eBooks, participating in panels, and more.
  • Maintain the relationships you build–whether its fellow influencers or loyal customers.

Ultimately, if you create a brand that’s genuinely a part of a community, that community will eventually start promoting your brand for you.

If you’d like to learn more about the promotion portion of content marketing, National Positions’ CEO gives an in-depth look at the strategies behind Content-Centric SEO from content creation to promotion in our latest eBook here.

 



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