What is Earned and Owned Marketing? How can my business use it?

Earned and owned marketing in essence the marketing content you create that you don’t directly pay for, like ads.

This includes your website, blogs, emails, guest posts, press mentions and social media content.

This is the marketing that you have painstakingly build, worked at and developed over time. The real question is: How do you maximise the marketing that you earn and own?

What is Owned Marketing?

This is the marketing you create, and belongs to you. It is the controlled by you as a company, from how much you produce (quantity) and the standard to which you create it (quality).

Owned Marketing is completely controllable unlike Earned Marketing. This is also the hardest part to get right, because without good owned marketing, there can be little to no earned marketing.

Some owned content marketing examples include;

Your website is your home base. It’s where you have the opportunity to present your products, services, personality and ideas in a way that best suits you. Everything about your website can be edited to show off the best of you, and your company. It can include descriptions about your services, blog posts, and your way of working. This is marketing that is yours, you own, you control and you decide how it is used.

Your email list is your way of being able to directly reach those people who want to know more about your company, and services. It takes time to build a strong email list, but if you can do it, you can control exactly how you use it, when you use it and for what purpose (within laws such as GDPR, of course).

Your social media posts and content are your ideas, thoughts and feelings. This is how we, as modern people communicate with the world, from close friends and acquaintances to potential customers. The content of each post you share says a lot about you, so think wisely, because this can be a great source of future earned marketing.

Everything you create has the potential of getting you a client, a speaking gig, or any other goal you are striving for. Own your marketing, and own the messaging and narrative. Strong owned marketing is the key to successful earned marketing.

What is Earned Marketing?

This is the marketing exposure that you gain from outside sources, from the work you do and your own marketing outputs. This includes backlinks, press/blog mentions, post shares, interviews and reviews.

Earned marketing is something that you have to work hard for, because it relies on more than just you and your work. This also means you cannot always control it. Some examples of this include;

Reviews are earned as a result of your products and service quality. Research shows that most people leave reviews of companies they are either really happy with or really unhappy with. In order to earn positive marketing through reviews you have to provide a high level of service, or a top quality product.

Post shares are earned by fans/followers liking or finding your messaging interesting, entertaining or useful enough to share with their audience. This helps amplify the potential reach of your owned content.

Press mentions are earned when you are deemed an authority on a particular subject matter. This could be a really niche topic such as “email automation” or something broader such as “social media marketing”. Earning press mentions is a big plus in terms of credibility, and helps add weight to your owned marketing efforts.

The key to longevity in your marketing efforts is to add credibility and increase visibility. That is what Earned Marketing is all about.

How do you maximise your earned and owned marketing?

Maximisation comes in different forms. It depends on the end goal you wish to set for yourself, and the resource level you are willing to put in to get to reach that point.

You must also consider that earned and owned marketing isn’t always a “do this work, get this output” type of marketing. If you want direct investment and know the exact numbers of instant leads, you should consider paid methods such as PPC. However, this requires two things; money and knowledge of specific paid search platforms, and their many variances.

For those of you that want to choose a more authoritive, more authentic and more long-term route to lead generation then you need earned and owned marketing. Below I’ve set out some of the key steps you need to consider, then action, in order to maximise your earned and owned marketing. You need to build a Marketing RAAC (say it like rack).

Join Ben's Marketing Club for tips, tricks, guides and more!

Your Marketing RAAC.

Your Marketing RAAC – said rack – is your plan to build an earned and owned engine. Not an engine that pumps out meaningless, high volume content, but value-adding insights, knowledge and ideas.

Here are your 4 steps to building a complete earned and owned marketing RAAC.

Some people are inclined to split these up, but I’m not a fan of that argument. I think they go absolutely hand-in-hand. You should be building your plan alongside your research. Your research informs your plan, and develops it.

When researching you need to uncover the words, phrases and terminology that your target customers are not only using, but looking for. You will dive into the spaces and places that your potential (and current) customers reside in, be it online or offline. Research is helps you narrow down your options, and help you to decide which opportunities have best chance of success.

While researching you should be planning. This means that you should the actively thinking about the resource levels you are willing and able to commit. This includes people-power, time and money. You need to know how much you are willing to put in, to ensure that your time is maximised, and you are able to actually create the content you need.

If you don’t have the time, you can outsource.

If you don’t have the funds, you can look to lower costs by using different tools.

If you don’t have the people, you can bring in a specialist.

The more planning you do, the more you will get out of it. But you have to commit. No commitment will yield no results. It is that simple.

You’ve, researched and planned. The next step is to action, either directly, or activate those that you have empowered to create on your behalf.

In this section you need to create/design the content. Everything from writing the blogs and taking the pictures to designing the graphics. During this phase, you should consider how easy it is to repurpose this content into different formats for future use. This can be a relatively simple task if you know what you are doing. However, it isn’t always, so please reach out for some free personalised advice.

Creation is only half the battle, possibly even less than half. You need to also focus on the distribution. That’s the sharing, scheduling and searchability of your content. In order to maximise the potential of you achieving your set goals, you have to let people know your content exists.

You have to also entice them in, and convince them that your content is going to give them what they are looking for be it entertainment, knowledge or ideas. It’s a battle for attention.

The final part to note here is that you need to be consistent, you need to be out there regularly talking, interacting and sharing. If you aren’t, then people will struggle to see you, or your business as an authority. You need to be seen to be known.

Amplification is where we begin to gather momentum, and earned marketing starts to play a larger role.

Amplification is about using your network, contacts and tools to increase the places in which your content will appear. Some simple examples of this are press releases being shared on press release sites or a member of your social media network resharing your content on their channels, for their audience.

You need to consider how you actively encourage amplification, be it through direct outreach, distribution, networks or other mediums.

If you don’t amplify, you are simply going to be creating content for content’s sake. It may be great, but if no one reads it, is it actually great? Give people the opportunity to see it.

Marketing isn’t just about creating more “stuff”, no matter how interesting. It is about how we use it to actually create sales, sustainably. In order to do this, we have to capture data. We have to ensure that where possible we are able to gather the information we need as marketers to find out who is reading the content, what their role and purpose is, and understand how our products or services will help them.

There are an incredible number of ways that you can capture data as part of your earned and owned marketing efforts. It can be done through email sign-up widgets, content unlockers, downloads and events.

Not every method will be relevant, it completely depends upon the nature of your content, and the action you want your audience to take. This is partly a personal choice, and partly a customer based. The only way anyone can really advise you of the best method is to understand your customer base, and your business.

Remember that the more customers you have on your email list, in your network, and at your events, the better chance of improved action and better amplification. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Some people will tell you the thrill is in the chase not the capture, but as a business, if you don’t capture you will not survive.

What next?

Follow the steps. Understand your market and data. If you are following the steps, or can’t follow them, get in touch. Ask some questions, and Ben will help you to maximise your owned and earned marketing efforts.