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9 Tips for Leveraging Owned, Paid and Earned Media

Hi there! My name is Susan, and I’m new to the Vocus blogging team. I’m passionate about all things content marketing and PR-related, so expect content on these topics from me!

You want more leads, don’t you? You can get those leads through a variety of channels, which can be funneled into three main categories:

  • Owned media
  • Paid media
  • Earned media

Leveraging Owned Paid Earned Media

That’s a lot of media, isn’t it? Never fear; I’m hear to cut through the clutter and help you navigate the wild world of marketing.

Owned Media: You Control the Message

Owned media refers to any tool or online resource you create and control. Here are some examples you probably already own:

  • Website
  • Company blog
  • Social media channels
  • Email newsletters

This even extends into mobile apps, if you have them, as well as offline marketing, like your brochures or marketing collateral.

Whatever you want to share through these channels, you can. No one can come in and slander you on your blog (well, they can leave a nasty comment, but even that you can control and delete).

You absolutely need owned media. It’s a lot of work to build up content and a following, but it is essential to finding new customers.

Now let’s look at tips to maximize your message.

Tip 1: Don’t maintain such a tight grip.

If you’re a control freak, you love the idea of controlling the message. But that’s not the world we live in. Instead, crowdsource blog topics. Let your social followers weigh in on questions on your Facebook page. Share content written by people outside your company in your email newsletter.

Tip 2: Do maintain consistent tone.

It’s important that, no matter which channel a potential customer visits, he experience cohesive branding and messaging. That means that you shouldn’t be stuffy and stilted on your blog and then casual and breezy on Twitter. Maintain consistency.

Tip 3: Share regularly.

The more content and social updates you share, the more fodder you give your network to digest. And you want them to come back again and again, so have some structure to how often you post content.

Paid Media: Getting in Front of More Eyeballs

Just like it sounds, paid media puts you in front of more potential customers through paid opportunities. Think advertising and sponsorships:

  • Online banner ads
  • Radio or television commercials
  • Search engine ads
  • Direct mail

While you will reach more people with your paid media, many people have shut off completely to commercials and never click on those ads to the right of search results, so keep that in mind before you sink millions into an advertising campaign.

More tips for success with paid media:

Tip 4: Target your audience.

You’ll succeed better if you zero in on exactly the people you’re trying to reach. LinkedIn has a nice feature for its ad platform where you can drill down to specifics like where users live, their job titles, and their industries.

Tip 5: Pay attention to results.

If you don’t set your pay-per-click campaign to shut off after a certain dollar threshold, you can spend thousands and not even see any conversion. Pay close attention to which paid media is actually resulting in both website visits and sales.

Tip 6: Look for more meaningful opportunities.

Because advertising simply isn’t as effective as it used to be, you’ll need to find other ways to connect with your audience. Paying for sponsored posts on targeted blogs is one idea.

Want to see how sponsored content can help your business? Get your free ‘Comprehensive Guide to Native Advertising’ now!

Earned Media: Let Your Customers Do the Legwork

Earned MediaIf you’ve done your job well with the first two, you’ll end up here, with earned media. This happens when your network and customers love your brand — and/or the content you’re producing — so much that they just have to share it with their friends.

This is the Golden Ticket: after all, 77 percent of people are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from a friend. If you do an excellent job with your product, customer service, and content through your owned channels, your customers will do the rest.

That being said, you do still need to be involved. Here’s how to help your earned media boost your sales.

Tip 7: Pay attention to what’s being said about you.

It would be unwise to sit back and not pay attention to your online mentions. While many of the mentions will be positive, you need to be proactive in case you get a negative comment or online review. If it happens, respond immediately and publicly and remedy the situation.

Tip 8: Support your supporters.

You’ll have brand evangelists who will shout your praise, expecting nothing in return. Connect with them on social and show your appreciation. Heck, even send them a thank you gift. After all, they’re doing you a favor.

Tip 9: Create an insiders’ club.

Another way you can continue the love is to let those brand evangelists in on what you’re doing at your company. Give them a sneak peek of new products. Get their feedback on the best color to add to your product options. Let them feel vested in your company, and they’ll keep loving you for it.

The right balance of owned, paid and earned media can help you increase sales and grow your online following.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging.

Image: Jon S, Hazzat (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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