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Owned media is the most important term in content marketing. We walk through where owned media fits in a brand marketing strategy, and highlight some data showing just how useful -- and affordable -- owned media has become.

Owned media that is arguably the most important piece of a brand's content marketing strategy. It's the core that everything else should emanate from. From this core, a brand can also leverage earned media and paid media. We'll get to those two in future installments of the series. But first we must ask for the most important piece of it all: owned media.

What is 'owned media?'

So what is owned media? It's simple -- and powerful:

Owned media is any content published to a channel owned and operated by the brand itself. This is any brand marketing created by the company, such as a blog, a catalog, a magazine, or a newsletter.

Social media isn't really a form of owned media, as the brand doesn't on the channel, it doesn't fully qualify. The company that owns the network can change the algorithm at any point, making the company powerless to define its own future. Since the platform is controlled by third-party, there is no controlling what may happen there. An algorithmic change can wipe out a brand's position in a matter of minutes!

Why should I care about owned media?

There is one defining feature of all owned media: You're in control of your own destiny. That's why it should be at the center of your brand marketing strategy, with organic media, earned media, and paid media in orbit.

Here's a breakdown of the four parts of a successful brand marketing strategy.

Organic media

When a brand publishes to a third party platform, there is just no controlling what that platform may do. Thousands of dollars could be lost instantaneously, as an investment goes from meaningful to worthless. The time and potential sunk investment cost for organic media can be prohibitive.

Earned media. When a brand relies on public relations for media placement, there's no controlling what types of stories journalists are working on and whether those stories align with a brand's communications plan. Journalists are a fickle bunch, pushed towards deadlines with fewer resources than ever before. It takes a lot to cut through the clutter. The time cost for earned media can be prohibitive.

Paid media. When a brand pays for media placement, whether through sponsored content or paid advertising, there is both a financial cost and an authenticity gap. Cost per clicks are going up, and fewer users are clicking on ads. Also, sponsored content has a high cost while still being seen with a suspicious by many readers. The financial investment for paid media can be prohibitive.

Owned media. When the brand publishes to its own blog, or distributes its own magazine/newsletter, it controls the narrative completely. Content is published in the brand voice and aligned with internal company objectives. Any relationships built through capturing reader emails are fully owned by the brand. There're no intermediaries taking a cut of the investment in the content. You are in charge of your destiny.

And the best part about owned media? The return on your investment only grows over time!

While true that you need to continue to invest in content, much of the investment occurs upfront to get your channel momentum going.

Once established, the cadence has been set, and the content starts delivering greater results for lower investment over time. This cannot be said for the other media strategies, except for perhaps earned media, where journalist relationships tend to bear more fruit over time.

So whether you're investing in your company blog, or in a more ambitious piece of company branded content, such as a magazine, consider it a smart long-term investment.

For more proof points, check out the stats below. You'll be amazed at how affordable an owned media strategy can be for your brand marketing strategy!


Dropping engagement rates on social media = Increased cost to distribute content on third-party platforms

Data: Hootsuite/WeAreSocial

B2B readers share owned media content with colleagues = free organic distribution of content

Data: 2018 B2B Demand Gen/Content Preferences Report

Paid search costs are increasing each quarter = Increased cost to distribute content on third-party platforms

Data: Q2 2018 Digital Marketing Report

B2B decision-making involves LOTS of branded content = plenty of opportunities to engage via owned media

Data: 2018 B2B Demand Gen/Content Preferences Report

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