As regular readers will know, I’m a huge fan of the PESO model, which advocates building a PR strategy around four pillars thatregularly overlap each other: Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media. Today, I want to talk about the last category, owned media, arguably the most misunderstood, underrated and therefore neglected aspect of the PESO model.
First, let’s take a second to think about how the other components of the PESO model work. Most PR strategists intrinsically understand the value of paid media, whether that comes in the form of billboards or TV ads, and also have a massive amount of for earned media coverage, like a profile in a newspaper or a radio station interviewing one of your executives. Shared media, which includes the big sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well as forums like Reddit have revolutionised how we do Public Relations campaigns.
It’s clear that, generally speaking, Paid, Earned and Shared media are well established methods that PR teams use to generate attention and interest in the brands they represent, to engage with consumers, build and protect reputation and, of course, to support the sales function of the business.
So, why bother with owned media at all?
Each of the three methods described above have one thing in common – they involve pushing information out there and hoping that your target audience sees it and engages with it. Owned media is different. It’s all about adding value for your customers and potential customers so that they come to you instead of the other way around. This means using inbound marketing strategies like free, high quality e-books, white papers, blog posts, infographics, podcasts or other form of media to attract customers to your website.
Any organisation, small or large, can come up with great content to their customers will love:
- A local bakery could create a free recipe e-book or weekly recipe blog post
- Gyms could create content that help their site visitors reach their fitness goals
- An NGO could make weekly videos that show the impact donations make on the ground
- Finance companies could create infographics that help their customers to save money
In most cases, to access the free gift, visitors must give the company their email address.
This means your company now has multiple opportunities to turn your site visitor into a customer. She may purchase something then and there on the site, but if not, you now have a way to contact her again. And since she opted in for your free gift, it’s a warm lead because you already know she’s interested in what you have to offer. Email subscribers convert to customers at a rate 40 times higher than Twitter or Facebook followers according to McKinsey.
If that’s not enough to convince you to take owned media seriously, consider these reasons to amp up your company’s output.
It’s cost effective
Studies have reported an ROI of of up to a phenomenal 3800% from email marketing. No other type of marketing can come close to competing with that. In fact, if you’ve got decent content creators and designers in-house, your e-book or infographic needn’t cost you a penny to create. The important thing is to create something genuinely useful and to package it attractively, so that when your emails arrive in your new leads’ inbox, they already have a good impression of your organisation.
It integrates perfectly with your social strategy
Your social media and content marketing strategies should complement each other perfectly. A corporate blog can combine evergreen posts, which are always relevant and can be shared time and again, with posts on current trends, major news occurrences or seasonal events. Your social channels can be used to amplify your content to a wider audience, and creating new content regularly means you always have something fresh to say.
You have complete control over the message
When you deal with traditional media outlets, you can never know exactly how they’re going to report on an interview. Your CEO might speak eloquently on your key messages for 59 minutes and then slip up at the last hurdle and give the journalist a controversial or off-message headline. The beauty of owned media is that you have total control over what you share with the world. This has been seen in the US presidential campaigns, for example in Donald Trump’s nightly news show. By creating his own show where the ideology is supportive of his election, he has avoided more difficult interviews with journalists who may have given him a harder time.
Conversely, it’s important to be able to react quickly to breaking opportunities and get your message out there, so don’t get too hung up on painful, arduous approvals processes.
It builds goodwill with your community
People love getting something for nothing. If your company can provide a How-To for a problem that’s been vexing them, teach them a skill they’ve been dying to learn, show them how to get the best out of your products, or impress their boss in a presentation, they will appreciate it. And if you do it time and again, they’ll come to think of you as more than a company they buy things from, they’ll respect you as a thought leader in your industry.
Here’s the best part: Most companies are doing a really paltry job of this at the moment – and that means there’s a huge opportunity there for you. Companies who do content marketing well are making a fortune from it.
Get started today. Plot out 12 blog posts or three e-books to use in the first quarter of 2017 and start adding value to your customers. It’s the easiest low-budget addition you can make to your 2017 Public Relations strategy. Plus, our sales team will thank you for all the warm leads you’re going to be generating for them.
Katie Harrington is a Communications and Content Strategist based in Dublin, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including EY (Ernst & Young) Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on LinkedIn or follow her on Facebook for more articles.