Tag Archives: Owned Content

What is owned media and why you should have your own broadcasting platform?

owned-media-and-your-own-broadcasting-platform“Owned media” and “broadcasting platform” – I know, these sound fancy words, but actually they are not. Owned media means the content that you create and publish on your own website, blog and under your social media profiles like YouTube and Instagram, and broadcasting platform is the presence that you create due to your content.

For example, let’s say you create a blog where you give advice to people about how to use your product or service. For example, on this content writing blog, I’m constantly talking about content writing and content marketing and content publishing. For me, the blog posts that I am constantly publishing is “owned media” – I own this content. When people come to read my blog posts on this blog, it becomes a broadcasting platform. I use this platform to broadcast my thoughts.

Up till now brands have been using third-party media and third-party broadcasting platforms to reach out to their customers and clients. For example, if you advertise on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and even Google’s AdWords, you’re using third-party broadcasting platforms. These companies have created broadcasting platforms through their own content and have built up an audience and now they are charging you to expose your brand in front of their audience.

Whether this works or not is another issue because for some it works and for some it doesn’t, but when you consider the amount of money and effort that you save by owning your own content and building your own broadcasting platform you suddenly realise what you have been missing by simply focusing on the third-party content and the third-party broadcasting platforms.

But let’s not talk about big businesses that have enough money to advertise on TV and newspapers. What about a small business? Does it make sense for the small business to own its own content and build its own broadcasting platform?

Again, no matter how fancy these terms sound, they are very simple. If you have a presence on YouTube, you have your own broadcasting platform. If you have a presence on Instagram, you have your own broadcasting platform. Wherever you have got an audience for yourself, wherever people go to check out your updates, is your broadcasting platform.

So, choose a platform and start creating your own content. The content that you own. It will be cheaper. It will be more effective. The results will be far-reaching.

This HubSpot blog post explains in detail is why even advertising agencies should stop investing in advertising and instead, should start investing in their own content, in owned media.

Listen to the audio version of this blog post


Main difference between paid, owned and earned content

Earned, paid and owned content – difference

Your content marketing can be a healthy mix of paid, owned and earned content. It doesn’t always have to be content that is specifically produced and distributed by your business. But which is better?

If I want to arrange different types of content in terms of significance, I would like to arrange it like this:

  1. Earned content
  2. Owned content
  3. Paid content

Yes, paid content should be the last resort for companies that neither have enough patience and money to invest in owned content nor do they have some known presence to get earned content. First, a quick difference, according to this blog post I wrote a while ago, between paid, owned and earned content…

Earned content

Directly you have no control over this content. It is created mostly by people who know about you, who have used your products and services, or haven’t use them but heard about them, or are planning to use them, or are reluctant to use them, or are simply bitching about them. They may tweet about you, write about you on Facebook or on their blog, participate in the comment or online forum threads, talk to each other about you or write reviews about you. They may also leave comments on your YouTube videos. They may retweet updates from your business. Basically, earned content happens because you have earned it by your presence, by your engagements, by your interactions.

Owned content

Owned content is something that you have written, you have produced (either yourself or you have hired someone) on your own website, on your own blog and under your various social media and social networking channels. All the content that exists on your website, on your mobile site, your in-house magazine, your brochures and the apps you may have developed for your business – they are all a part of owned content.

Paid content

As the name suggests, you pay for this content. It can come in the form of sponsored social media and social networking updates. It can be paid search. You can pay journalists and bloggers to write about you. It can also include TV and print ads. Whenever you pay for it, it is paid content.

What sort of content is good for your content marketing?

It depends on the resources available to you and it also depends on your long-term and short-term plans. Although I don’t prefer paid content but this can also be a good, short-term option for you. While you are creating owned content and you’re investing in earned content, you can put some money on paid content to start getting some presence for you.

Using the combination of all the three content types, this is how I would formulate a content marketing strategy for a small business:

  1. Make sure you have some owned content on your website. All the main pages including your homepage, services, company profile, products and services descriptions – everything that is needed on a professional website, must be there. There is no sense promoting your website without this much of owned content. If you have also launched a business blog for yourself, make sure it has at least 20 blog posts of more than 400 words each (just a benchmark figure).
  2. Start investing some money in the paid content. This will give you initial boost. You can get your tweets promoted. You can pay for Facebook ads. You can also spend some money on Google AdWords. This will cut short your time and get you some visibility while you are creating a presence for yourself.
  3. Start focusing on earned content after you have achieved .1 and .2. This may begin to happen on its own due to your owned and paid content, or you may have to make some effort stepping up conversations and interactions with various people. Increase your network. Start interacting with influential people. If yours is a B2B business, create a presence on LinkedIn.
  4. Go on creating owned content that fuels earned content. Remember that earned content means people are talking about you and there is a buzz around your product or service. So this is better than owned content and much better than paid content. Eventually it is a mix of earned and owned content that should be the main ingredient of your content marketing strategy.

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What’s better, owned content or sponsored content?

First let’s understand the difference between owned content and sponsored content. Owned content is the content that you produce, write or get written on your own and then publish it on your website or blog (or on a third-party website or blog with complete attribution to you or your brand). Publishing a series of blog posts, articles and informative webpages under your own website or blog is a good example of owned content. Sponsored content is content that talks about you or your brand as a reference and then that content is published on a third-party website or blog. Your name or the name of your brand appearing in a New York Times articles is a good example of sponsored content. Which should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy?

I think both have their own place. When you have just started creating content you don’t have any audience. It takes time to build that audience and unless you have built the audience, you cannot leverage owned content. So what do you do? You go for sponsored content. Sponsored content helps you build audience while you’re creating your own content.

Besides, sometimes you want to reach an audience that doesn’t directly come to your blog or website no matter how much owned content you have. Sponsored content helps you achieve that.

Do you stop investing in sponsored content when you have created a considerable inventory of owned content? Depends on your marketing strategy. Do you want to reach out to a diversified audience? Or are you simply happy with the sort of people coming to your website or blog at the moment?

Benefits of investing in owned content

  • Gives your brand its own unique content
  • Strengthens brand identity
  • Prospective customers and clients don’t have to scour the web in order to find content relevant to your product or service
  • Your website or blog becomes a resource hub – you give people a reason to come to your website or blog repeatedly, or refer your links to the family and friends, or share your links on social media and social networking websites
  • You generate more targeted traffic that can give you more leads, sales and even repeat sales
  • As a personal brand you become an authority figure

Benefits of investing in sponsored content

  • You can target bigger audience from the word go (although it’s not recommended to go for sponsored content from the word go because the exposure will go waste if you have got nothing substantial to offer on your own website or blog)
  • You can build an audience for your brand much faster
  • You increase respect among your own audience by appearing on reputed publications (the New York Times example, for instance)
  • You can leverage the reach of well-established blogs and websites

Differences between Owned, Earned and Paid content marketing channels

In my previous blog post titled “Content distribution/marketing is as important as writing and publishing content“, I wrote about the importance of using content marketing and distribution channels so that you don’t have to depend on the whims of search engines for targeted traffic.

Some of the prominent channels I talked about were:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Newsletter

Other prominent content marketing and distribution channels that you can use are:

  • Your business blog
  • Improved search engine rankings
  • PPC campaigns on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo
  • Banner advertisements on websites and blogs
  • Your own website content
  • Your articles and blog posts appearing on other blogs and websites, and even online forums
  • Press release websites (but only those of repute, not the spammy sorts)
  • Promoted content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (there are many more such platforms)

This is not a complete list, this is just to give you an idea of the channels you can target in order to market and distribute your content. Among these channels, they are of the following three broad categories:

  • Owned
  • Earned
  • Paid

Below I briefly explain the difference between these categories of content marketing channels.

Owned, earned and paid content marketing channels

Owned content marketing channels

As the name suggests, you own these channels. These can be

  • Your own website content:
    • Information pages
    • Articles and help pages
    • Company, services, product profile pages
    • FAQs section
  • Your company blog
  • Your newsletter
  • Online forums that you host under your own domain name or various other owned domain names
  • Your social media and social networking platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.
  • The mobile phone apps that you may have to make it easier for people to access your content

You are in full control of these channels. You need to build them up from scratch. They require lots of effort but once you have done enough work, the results can be awesome.

How do you nurture owned content marketing channels? Of course by producing high-quality content on a regular basis. Whether you’re publishing a blog, a series of articles for a newsletter, be persistent. Don’t overtly worry about stuffing keywords here and there in order to improve your search engine rankings because this no longer work. Solely focus on quality. Provide useful information. And provide it consistently.

Earned content marketing channels

These channels manifest due to your authority and expertise and the sort of respect your opinion enjoys. These channels can exist in the form of

  • Bloggers and webmasters linking to your content
  • People writing articles and blog posts in response to what you have published on your website or blog, or even elsewhere
  • Your articles and blog posts appearing on other websites and blogs
  • People sharing your blog posts and articles from their own social media and social networking profiles
  • People talking about your content on various online forums and comment sections
  • People including your links in their own newsletters

Of course, you need to “earn” this channel by establishing your authority and proving your expertise. People should want to link to you. They should want to share your content on their respective timelines. They should find your content relevant enough to respond to it on their own blogs and websites. Your content should be so useful that people link to it in order to add more value to their own content.

Paid content marketing channels

If you have enough money, this is the best approach for you. You pay for the exposure. Some of the well-known paid content marketing channels are

  • Google’s AdWords campaign
  • Bing PPC
  • Promoted updates on Facebook
  • Advertising on Facebook
  • Sponsored tweets on Twitter
  • Submitting your content to paid directories
  • Buying link space on other websites or blogs – this is frowned upon by Google but if you don’t care much about how Google thinks about you, go ahead and do it

There might be more channels in this category, or in fact, in all the categories mentioned above.

Which content marketing channels should your business use? There is no set rule. The best would be earned channels because you will be actually investing time and effort in improving the overall quantity of your content rather than trying to get quick results and end up creating lousy content in the process.

But in order to create a space in earned channels often you have to use a mix of owned plus paid channels. As I recently read somewhere if you don’t invest in paid channel lots of your quality content remains unnoticed, that is, there is no use creating it.