Owned Media: If You Build It They Will Come

Owned Media: If You Build It They Will Come

As a digital marketer, there are three types of media at your disposal: Earned, Owned, and Paid media. Each type has its own advantages, so let’s start by exploring what makes owned media so special:

Owned Media boosts visibility and SEO with content that users will find useful or interesting. It’s not the only way to gain visibility online, but not having any content of your own reduces the effectiveness of any paid or earned media that your brand has acquired. It’s easy to lose someone who has landed on a rather skimpy or uninspired blog, after clicking an ad or inbound link.

Basically, if you build it, they will come. Owned media is the content that your brand creates for itself, to attract, entertain, or educate online visitors. This can range from blog posts, to videos, to ebooks or white papers: as long as its relevant or useful to your ideal customer or persona, it’s fit to publish!

The downside to owned media is that it is time-intensive and results are not always immediate. The upshot is that failures can be leveraged: metrics from every piece of content generated can be used to better target your key demographics.

Owned Media is forever. What’s great about owned media is that it’s your brand’s property forever and ever. Unlike paid media (which is limited to your ad sales budget) or earned media (which can be negative or fleeting), owned media exists on your company’s website for as long as you keep it (and I’d suggest keeping it, to avoid dead links that affect your site’s SEO).

Owned Media is your best bet for brand reputation maintenance. You can’t control what others say about your brand online, which makes earned media a bit of a crap shoot. Owned media, on the other hand, allows you to guide the conversation around your brand, and the industry in which your brand operates.

In fact, you can do as one Bay Area restaurant owner did and turn bad earned media into an opportunity to create your own positive brand story.

Speaking of brand story: try not to make your content all about you! A good rule of thumb for creating effective owned media is to avoid the hard sell, and focus on telling your brand’s story. This means avoiding shallow, fragmented, or irrelevant self-promotion and focusing on what matters to your audience. It also means acknowledging where in the buying cycle a particular user may be.

The restaurant owner in the above example probably figured that those who visited his website from Yelp were in the “research” or “consideration” phase of the buying cycle, and used humor and a creative call to action (discounts for a bad review) to get them interested in making a reservation.

Next week, I’ll talk a bit more about how Yelp and other online forums and publications play into the “Earned Media” aspect of the “Owned, Earned, Paid” triad.

Has owned media helped your company or employer reach its goals? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments section!

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How Social Media Got Me A New Job

The few of you that follow this lil’ blog (thank you for reading, by the way) may have noticed a complete drop in activity from me in the past few weeks. Sadly, I had to put my Klout Experiment on hold in order to search for a job and a chance at Canadian permanent residence. Whereas my last Klout Experiment update a month ago indicated that trying to improve my score did more harm than good, abandoning my conscious efforts at increasing my Klout score and instead using LinkedIn and Facebook to inform everyone who hadn’t hidden my updates yet that I was on the hunt for a new position, resulted in a steady score of 59.

I learned an important lesson about social media in my job hunt: it only really works when used in combination with real, human interactions. After seeing a Facebook post I wrote about my employment and immigration situation, a lovely recruiter friend of mine sat down with me to chat about my resumé and career goals. Weeks went by and we kept in touch, exchanging articles on LinkedIn about job hunting strategies and social media developments. My offline and online interactions with my recruiter friend – my Facebook posts about job hunting, our conversations about career goals, and the blog posts she helped inspire with interesting articles she sent me on LinkedIn – helped lay the foundation for finding an opportunity. Our interactions let my friend know that I was looking, what my goals were, and helped demonstrate to her that I was a capable writer with a passion for social media.

I had many job listings sent to me by caring friends who had read my Facebook posts, many of which I applied to with little to no success. I was so thankful for all of their support, but I do believe that the kind of on-and-offline alliance my recruiter friend and I formed, helped me access a few jobs that were more suitable for my experience level and goals. One of the positions my on-and-offline ally helped me access, through a LinkedIn introduction to the Hiring Manager, was the Membership and Community Specialist/Social Media Expert role at an IT Consulting firm. After two interviews, which I definitely consulted my friend about in-person and online, I was offered a contract and my long search was over thanks to a lot of annoying posts, plenty of LinkedIn searches, and many enlightening conversations. Most importantly, sustaining a real one-on-one relationship with someone, rather blasting all of my online contacts with a canned message (which I and so many people marketing themselves or their products/services have tried with little success) made all of the difference.

I wonder if my new employer ever looked at my Klout score…

Week 3: The Klout Experiment (Why One Bad Week Won’t Sink You)

This week, I learned that a downturn in engagement isn’t always a bad thing.

Every week, I document my Klout Experiment: a vain and foolish attempt to match Sarah Palin’s Klout score of 72 by January 1, 2013.

Generally, you’ll find me nerding out about all things Social Media, but I’m also looking for full-time work in Social Media. So, reading recent articles on the importance of Klout and other social scoring tools in recruiting got me thinking about the ways in which we determine our online influence.

Each week, I record the results of my Klout Experiment in a weekly social media engagement digest.

As we learned last week, my efforts to increase frequency across platforms proved ineffective, reducing my score to 60 from a glorious, glorious 61.

This week, I’ve actually managed to damage my score further, as I’m left this week with a measly score of 59!!!

After discovering my score decrease and short-circuiting my Macbook with bitter, bitter tears, I took a moment to re-consider the weight online brands put on their social influence scores..

What I realized is that a Klout score only reflects a small snapshot of my network’s engagement. So what if I miss the mark one week? Presumably, the measly 59 Klout points worth of engagement is from people who’ve enjoyed my overall online persona, before this week. Those followers will stay with me unless I start posting way too much on social media or I post something that really pisses them off.

The conclusion I came to about my decreasing Klout score applies to businesses, too: wavering metrics don’t mark failure, but a learning opportunity. And the fans who stick with you are the most evangelical, and thus the most likely to help you reach future benchmarks. 

How have you or your company leveraged a bad week? 

Week 2: The Klout Experiment (Why Twitter Might Not Be Worth It)

In my Klout Experiment, I attempt to match Sarah Palin’s Klout score of 72 by January 1, 2013 and record my findings.

Somehow, despite my best efforts to increase frequency and vary use of my social media outlets, I lost a point this week! I believe this may be related to how I divided my attention between Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare this week. I only posted on Facebook 4 times this week, as opposed to the 24 posts I had last week.

I decided to increase the frequency and interactiveness of my professional Twitter handle this week, replying to and RT’ing a few tweets from local comedians and Social Media Marketing bloggers. Although your Klout score accounts for only engagement (likes, comments, replies, RTs) and not frequency, I figured that tweeting more would help boost my score by potentially boosting engagement.

Getting traction on Twitter takes far more frequency (and great content, of course!) so  my hunch about increasing Twitter activity to increase my social influence score was partly correct: 1% of this week’s score originated from Twitter interactions, whereas last week’s score was 100% Facebook. But, that new Twitter contribution did not make up for a lack of engagement on Facebook and ultimately, my Klout score suffered.

Do you or our company think Twitter is worth the time and extra output?  

All-Star Klout-Off!

The Klout Experiment – Raising My Klout Score by The New Year

As a Social Media Strategist or as my mom puts it,  “professional Tweeter,” I pride myself on not only finding and engaging online influencers, but being one myself. It’s my humble opinion that in order to engage your brand’s most active users, you must walk a mile in those users’ shoes.

After reading Seth Stevenson’s remarkable piece on the growing ubiquity of the Klout Score – and its importance as a professional and personal tool – I attempted to take stock in my own online influence by taking a look at my somewhat inactive Klout account:

  • I could only register one of my Twitter accounts. I have 2, but the one associated with my main email address (and thus searchable by potential employers) is only 2-months old. So I went with my personal account, which has more followers.
  • I’m a Facebook addict – this is where the bulk of my new points derived
  • I’ve just started to use Foursquare. I absolutely love it and have earned quite a few “first check in” badges. I only have about 9 friends, though, which has more of an influence on my overall score.
  • Linkedin is a resource for me as a young professional, but sadly, I linked my Klout to the Linkedin page for my previous employer and have lost access to enable me to revoke permissions.

After this narcissistic digital dissection, I decided I needed to dig deeper. I needed to figure out exactly what it would take to become the kind of influencer my future employer(s) need to engage. As an individual with a Klout score of 61, I’m taking my cue from the job-seeking subject of Stevenson’s article, and conducting a weekly experiment:

I will try to raise my Klout score to 72 by January 1, 2013.

Why 72? Well, according to Wired.com’s infographic, Sarah Palin’s people have managed to get her that score.  Since I tend to tweet for brands and individuals far less cuckoo-bananas than Ms. Palin, it would actually pain me not to match or exceed her publicists’ Klout score.

All-Star Klout-Off!

At least I have a higher Klout score than the Aflac duck.

So, here’s to (completely amateur) scientific inquiry!

Do you track your Klout Score? Tell me in the comments!

Increase Blog Traffic, Online Content | Bay Business Help

Increase Blog Traffic, Online Content | Bay Business Help

Simple, straightforward advice on how to stay current and searchable when blogging for SEO. Another tip: subscribe to “events” RSS feeds to keep up to date on local happenings and holiday celebrations.