As a small business owner, you might see the terms “owned media” and “earned media,” and think, “Media? I’m not a newspaper or magazine, a radio or TV station. I only care about media when it comes to public relations!”
To which I would say, “And therein lies the disconnect! In 2015, every small business with a Web presence is a media company.”
OK, let’s back up a second and discuss what owned and earned media are:
Owned media is the sliver of the Internet that represents your company.
Owned media is your website/mobile site, your blog, and your social media networks. These things present your brand to the world and give you a place to share your knowledge and engage with your audience.
Earned media is the engagement you get online from people not associated with your company/brand.
Earned media is articles about your brand written by bloggers and mentions, shares, reposts, comments, and reviews on social media.
(There is also paid media, which we won’t get into here, but that encompasses advertising, such as pay-per-click campaigns, display ads, advertorials and paid influencers/spokespeople, and retargeting.)
What is more important in 2015?
In 2015, your #1 goal is get as much earned media as you can, because that third-party approval – from influencers, bloggers, journalists, fans, and customers/clients – lends you so much credibility and builds trust in your brand. Think of it this way: You trust a recommendation from your best friend over a TV commercial. Earned media is much the same way.
However, that’s not to say that owned media is not important; it’s the foundation your earned media house is built on. You cannot have one without the other, so really, the conversation isn’t so much about owned media vs earned media as it’s about ensuring both work nicely together.
How do I make the most of owned media so I can get earned media?
In short, you need to do four things right:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Make sure your website and blog posts are optimized so they will rank well and get found during a search and your mobile site is optimized so it’s easy to use and navigate.
- Content marketing: Share the knowledge that people are looking for freely and often via blog posts, ebooks, white papers, podcasts, videos, tutorials, infographics, etc.
- Social media strategy: Take all of that knowledge you just turned into content, and start sharing it on social media – but keep the focus on being social! Share fun and useful stuff that has nothing to do with your brand. Post inspiring photos, ask questions, respond to comments and questions, hold contests, and comment on the stuff other people share.
- Blogger outreach: Start following influential bloggers in your industry, commenting on and sharing their stuff, and generally getting on their radar. Once you build a relationship, reach out to them with your story.
What do you think? Is earned media more important than owned media for your small business?
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