What is the difference between “owned”, “earned” and “paid” media and what does it mean for your digital strategy? Think of earned, owned and paid media as part of the whole and all contribute to a complete digital marketing strategy. Owned media is any web property that you can control and is unique to your brand. One of the most common examples is a website, although blog sites and social media channels are other examples of owned media properties too. Channels like social media and blogs are extensions of your website, and all three are extensions of your brand as a whole. The more owned media you have, the more chances you have to extend your brand presence in the digital sphere. Earned media is essentially online word of mouth, usually seen in the form of “viral” behavior such as, mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, or content picked up by 3rd party sites. Examples of earned media include editorial placements, market reputation and impactful word-of-mouth. You influence the content to offer fans influential and constructive brand content to consider. If owned media sites are the destination then earned media is the vehicle that helps people get there. What good is a website or social media site if no one is seeing or interacting with it? That's where earned media comes in. One of the most effective driving forces of earned media is usually a combined result of strong organic rankings on the Search Engines, and content distributed by the brand. First page rankings and good content are typically the biggest drivers. Rankings on the first page of the search engines place your owned media sites and content links in a position to receive higher engagement and shares, which is why a good SEO strategy is crucial. When it comes to brand content, interesting, informative content can come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it be a blog, infographic, video, press release, webinar or e-book, the bottom line is that the content has to be worthwhile in order to receive the valuable earned media; which is why a great content strategy is also important. Paid media is a good way to promote content in order to drive earned media, as well as direct traffic to owned media properties. Paying to promote content can help get the ball rolling and create more exposure. Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer advertising that could potentially help boost your content as well as your website. Another way to gain more exposure for your content is to pay influencers to tweet or share your links, impacting the reach and recognition your pieces receive. Using retargeting, Pay Per Click (PPC) and display ads is an effective and more direct way to drive searchers to your owned media sites like your website, to help increase traffic and/or conversions.
Today Google “pushed the button” on a new search algorithm which would begin to factor in a website’s “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal – meaning that those sites which weren't optimized for smartphones’ smaller screens would see their ranks downgraded as a result. You can read more what Google considers “mobile friendly”. These changes should kick in within the next week, and Google clarifies that the changes will only affect a site’s search ranking on mobile devices – and it only applies to individual pages, not entire websites. It also only impacts searches done on smartphones, not tablets. As a result, according to TechCrunch, approximately 44% of Fortune 500 companies, and undoubtedly millions of small businesses are going to see a significant drop in the number of visitors to their websites. It’s left many calling today “mobilegeddon”. Business and the world will go on, we assure you. The good news, if your website is already mobile optimized, you should see an increase in rankings. And if your website is not, there is a way to fix it. A sure-fire way to test your site is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. For questions or help making your website mobile friendly, we’re a phone call away.
Early last month we were all really amused with the marketing gimmick employed by iStock, Getty Images and Fox to promote the movie Unfinished Business. The campaign showed Vince Vaughn and other cast mates Photoshopped into cheesy/boring stock images. As part of the promotion, all rights were granted for using these images without any cost. Although the concept was incredibly hilarious, finding non-cheesy stock images to use in your materials is no joke. The images you use in your brochure, website and sales materials directly reflect on how your company is perceived by customers and sales prospects. Your company image is created by those visuals you choose. Many companies don’t consider this investment in its visual representation. It comes as an afterthought when building a new website or brochure – and typically without a budget. Fortunately, there are some good low-cost options like iStock available now. Still, be careful. We’ve put together a few things to look out for when selecting stock photography. The person in the photo is WAY too happy to be doing whatever it is they’re doing. It’s just not right. A group pondering off into the distance. Or star-struck. Forced unnatural stiff poses. The barren, white background doesn’t make your site look like Apple’s. We’ve all seen them. So, in the interest of not being “that company”, here are a few recommendations.
- If you’re thinking of doing any marketing in the future, build up your image library now. Your marketing company/person will love you for it. And please photograph at a high resolution. With a flash if needed.
- Hire a photographer. A good professional will work with you to help develop a few core images that represent your company’s essence. This small investment can provide photos that you own and can use for years to come.
- Take natural photos of your staff while working. Natural photos are genuine, and that’s what you want to convey.
- Don’t be afraid of stock photography, just work with someone who has the expertise to use it correctly. Find images that have some punch or interesting angles. And there’s no need for stock images to be so literal, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by finding images that convey a concept or mood.
- Rights exclusive images can also guarantee your photos won’t be seen everywhere. Sometimes these are worth the investment.