Are you looking to figure out digital content marketing and make your strategy more effective?
There are numerous terms to make sense of, including the types of media used to drive traffic and conversions.
Let’s figure out what owned media is and how it differs from earned, shared, and paid media.
Below, we’ll break down what owned media is and why it’s especially valuable for businesses of all kinds.What Is Owned Media?
What Is Owned Media?
Owned media is any type of content that you publish on the platforms your business controls—for example, your website, blog, or newsletter.
Owned media is unique content that has been produced internally by you (or in tandem with third parties) and is free for you to post on your own platforms.Why Do You Need Owned Media?
Why Do You Need Owned Media?
The core advantages of owned media are that you curate the narrative for the content and can share—and reshare—it as you wish.
It also encourages people to follow your curated marketing funnels and convert.
For example, someone could click on a blog you share, decide to book a consulting call, and eventually buy your product/service.
Content marketing itself comes with an impressive ROI, too: Research shows 97% of marketers who engage in content marketing have some degree of success, according to our recent report.
With owned media, you’re creating a platform that can continuously generate traffic and conversions for your business long-term.
For example, this blog post by Mailchimp has been steadily generating organic traffic, bringing over 342k monthly organic visitors in February 2023.
The company can control this page, too: e.g., add updates to the blog to make sure it ranks high and test various CTAs (calls to action).
So, the page will remain an effective traffic and lead magnet for years to come.Owned Media vs. Paid Media
Owned Media vs. Paid Media
Paid media is when you pay to put your content in front of an audience, usually in the form of sponsored content or an ad (e.g., a display ad on a third-party site or a sponsored article).
Paid media typically involves negotiating with a platform or influencer to share your content with their followers.
It’s an attractive option for brands that want exposure outside of their current audience (i.e., if you want to target people who aren’t connected to your controlled platforms).
However, it requires an investment—and its impact is usually limited in time.
There are times you could also use paid media to promote your owned media assets.
For instance, this sponsored article on Content Marketing Institute’s website promotes Semrush’s “State of Content Marketing” report—an owned, gated piece of content.Owned Media vs. Earned media
Owned Media vs. Earned media
Earned media is when you gain publicity for your business without paying for it.
Having a story published in the news or a magazine about your latest product launch is a good example of earned media.
For instance, Nike’s new shoes received a product review published on Hypebeast, a streetwear and contemporary lifestyle magazine:
Earned media can also be referred to as “organic media” because third parties publish content about your company without being prompted.
However, some companies implement PR strategies to increase their chances of getting earned media.
Your brand would have little or no control over such content. But, it’s a great way to reach new audiences for free.
Remember that your strategy should include all other media channels in order to be effective.
Owned Media vs. Shared Media
Shared media is the content that you post across your social media channels.
For instance, anything you publish about your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and other platforms is shared media.
Shared media tends to prioritize having the biggest reach and attracting influencers or company followers who can boost that reach even further.
Shared media is an important part of every content strategy. At the same time, it’s a short-lived channel and requires you to frequently publish new content.Types of Owned Media Channels
Types of Owned Media Channels
There’s a variety of owned media channels that you can choose from.
When selecting what type of owned media works best for your brand, remember to keep your target audience in mind.
You should opt for media formats that will resonate with your customers, generate the most views, and align with your brand story.
These are some of the most common and most effective owned media types to consider when organizing your content management:Websites
Your business website is where you have total freedom to showcase your story, products or services, case studies, and other detailed information.
Your website is also where you publish your blog and gated content (such as ebooks).
In fact, there’s always room for creativity. Your website can feature data storytelling, free tools, and everything in between.
Semrush’s website has several interactive pages where users can access some of its data for free and find useful information.
For example, check out this page where you can instantly check a website’s traffic:
You can also create a blog or video content series within your website, as well as run various experiments.Blogs
Blogs are long-form articles that offer people insights about your industry, findings from your research, or guides to your products.
Blog content can be evergreen, meaning the content is timeless and has been optimized for search engines and search results pages.
For example, this long-form guide is optimized for search engines and has an evergreen topic. It can stay relevant and bring traffic for a long time, as long as it gets updated.
As of May 2023, it generates 4.9k organic views every month.
Blog articles can also be ad hoc or topical—for example, in response to a recent event.
Blogs are worthwhile because they can position you as a subject expert in your sector, as well as drive traffic back to pages on your website.
According to our research, short-form and long-form articles are still in the top five owned content formats to create for your website.Lead Generation Content
Lead Generation Content
Another owned media example is leadgen content. Usually, it’s a gated content piece that helps you collect contacts for further nurturing.
Think ebooks, reports, white papers, and everything in between.
Let’s have a look at an example.
Semrush’s State of Content Marketing Report is a gated research paper that provides insights into the key trends in the content marketing industry.
Such content can be promoted via paid and organic channels, as well as generate earned media for your business.
You can also easily repurpose it into other owned media types such as blogs, videos, and social media posts.Video Content
YouTube might be considered a shared media channel.
However, you can also publish your video on your website and other channels, making it a great owned media example.
Video content is ideal to help people understand how to use your products and get to know your brand, and lets you display your creative skills.
Video also remains the most popular and effective content format.
Short-form video is especially widespread these days.
You could leverage this format to showcase new product features, answer questions from your customers, and share other useful information.
For example, a bakery called “Tiny Kitchen Treats” regularly shares short-form videos featuring the baking process, memes, and daily life of the owners.Podcasts
More and more people listen to podcasts, and many companies have started their own podcasts as a form of owned media.
A podcast allows you to demonstrate your thought leadership and publicize what’s happening in your business via digestible audio.
Starting a podcast could also be a pretty affordable content idea, as you don’t necessarily need much of a budget to launch and manage it.
There’s no limit to creativity when it comes to developing a concept for your podcast. For example, “The Unconventionalists” is a podcast by Mark Leruste, the founder of The Unconventionalists, a coaching and training company.
His podcast features interviews with people who have followed unconventional paths to success.Email Lists
Any content that people subscribe to receive via email from your company is owned media.
These email lists are great for telling customers about special offers, company updates, new features or services, and asking for feedback about their experiences.
Newsletters, surveys, and interactive content are popular content formats for email lists.
Let’s look at an example. Henneke Duistermaat, the founder of Enchanting Marketing, has a regular newsletter where she shares valuable thoughts and tips while also promoting her business offerings.Mail Lists
It’s easy in the digital age to forget that physical mail is still part of your marketing channels.
Physical mailing lists (sometimes called “direct mail marketing”) can connect your company to customers offline and boost other forms of marketing like word of mouth.
Leaflets, letters, postcards, and catalogs are all good content for mail lists.
This tactic has been increasingly used in the past couple of years, especially by B2B companies.
Social media can also be classified as a shared media channel. However, you still have significant ownership over content published on those platforms.
Social sharing can facilitate trust and transparency with your customers, as well as educate and entertain them.
Via social media, you can share photos, videos, and podcasts, and answer your customers’ questions.How To Build a Powerful Owned Media Strategy in 6 Steps
How To Build a Powerful Owned Media Strategy in 6 Steps
Now you know exactly what owned media is and what it can look like.
But how do you go about putting it into action?
Start with these crucial steps and you’ll have a springboard to success for both your owned media and a broader marketing mix strategy.1. Define Your Owned Media Goals
1. Define Your Owned Media Goals
Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound) desired outcomes for your owned media.
Without defining your objectives, you might end up creating content for the sake of content.
However, what you want is to have a clear direction and an impact that can be easily assessed.
An example of a SMART owned media goal is:
We want these blog posts shared weekly on our social media and via newsletters to double traffic to our product landing pages by the end of the quarter.2. Pinpoint Your Target Audience
2. Pinpoint Your Target Audience
Any content you create should address a specific buyer persona. This is the best way to ensure your owned media generates the desired results.
Owned media encompasses a number of platforms and spaces. Selecting one media type over another will depend on who you are trying to reach.
For example, say you want to tell your Gen Z users about an upcoming sale. In this case, physical mail or a white paper wouldn’t be the most fitting choice.
Research your audience and find out which channels and platforms they prefer. Then, come up with a list of owned media channels you’d like to cover.3. Look at Your Competitors’ Owned Media Content
3. Look at Your Competitors’ Owned Media Content
It never hurts to look at what your competitors are doing.
Make a list of your top competitors and then track what content they’re posting on their controlled platforms. Analyze where, when, and what kind of engagement it receives.
You can do this manually based on likes and comments, or use various competitive analysis tools.
For instance, using Semrush’s Organic Research tool, you can see which pages bring the most traffic for your competitors.
Based on your findings, you can make safe assumptions about what resonates with people.
You can then identify any owned media content gaps or opportunities that your competitors are missing and you can fill.4. Find Ideas and Create Your Content
4. Find Ideas and Create Your Content
There are multiple ways you can find effective ideas for your owned media content.
For instance, you can tap into your research insights, analyze questions your customers ask via direct feedback forms, and talk with your customer-facing teams.
You can also analyze social media and forums like Reddit and Quora.
Using keyword and topic research tools can also prove effective for finding data-driven ideas.
Tools like ContentShake can help you quickly find personalized content ideas for your business.
Simply enter any topic or keyword related to your business, get topic suggestions, and quickly write a high-performing article using AI and suggestions based on competitive data.
Create engaging content that clicks
with your customers
Use ContentShake to get content ideas, write articles faster using AI, optimize them for engagement and rankings, and publish directly to your blog.
Creating your owned media content is the next important step.
This is the juicy part of the process and will most likely require the most time and attention.
The content you share has to provide value to your customers, and it has to be optimized for where you’re sharing it.
You can be innovative in how you structure and style the content (for example, including a poll in your social media posts).
But you should follow basic practices to maximize its visibility.
This begins with your title. You can create the perfect title with our Free AI Title Generator, which comes up with dozens of suggestions that will catch your audience’s attention.
Remember that different channels have different content conditions you have to navigate.
For instance, blog content requires you to analyze search intent and optimize it accordingly to rank on Google.
At the same time, social media platforms might require you to post at specific times and add visuals to maximize reach.5. Analyze Your Performance Metrics
5. Analyze Your Performance Metrics
Keeping a close eye on your metrics is essential to your owned media strategy, as it will tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
Whenever reviewing your metrics, you should have your overarching SMART goals in mind.
However, it’s also important to look at how each individual piece of content performs and keep track of the so-called vanity metrics.
For example, your goal might be to generate a certain number of conversions with your leadgen or blog content.
But, to assess your success, you should also analyze traffic and on-page engagement, among other things.
Remember that you should be tracking content over a set period of time, and try to recognize patterns.
For instance, do you see certain topics or formats performing better than others?
Noting those things can help you develop a more effective owned media strategy in the future.6. Iterate and Improve Your Owned Media Strategy
6. Iterate and Improve Your Owned Media Strategy
Use your performance metrics to inform how you improve your owned media strategy.
If some topics don’t perform well, consider dropping them and producing more content for high-performing topics.
Or, if a particular social media platform isn’t engaging with your content, try sharing a different type of content or testing another channel.
The metrics are basically your marketing strategy consultant. They can tell you what to push forward with and what to shift away from.
Naturally, though, you have to determine what makes the most sense for your business.
Owned media isn’t just about volume.
Even if your content receives a lot of page views, you have to dig deeper and see whether this traffic has real business value.
By looking at the whole picture—not just the snapshot—you can make more constructive, long-term changes to your strategy.Final Thoughts
Not only does owned media require minimal expense, it can provide big returns.
This makes it a smart form of digital marketing for savvy entrepreneurs and marketers.
Every business needs to be executing a well thought-out owned media strategy to cut through the crowd and be seen by the right people, at the right time.
Think of owned media as an extension of your products and services.
It is, after all, your own—and it should be treated with the same pride and potential as anything else with your company name on it.