COVID prompts rise in popularity and importance of owned media
COVID-19 is transforming the way businesses carry out their PR and marketing, with the virus accelerating the modernisation of practices and skills. While this is a daunting prospect for some it’s also a tremendous opportunity for organisations looking to “up the ante” and gain a competitive advantage.
Throughout the COVID pandemic organisations like the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) have been polling their members to find out what impact the virus has had on the industry, consumer behaviour and media consumption.
From this data a picture is emerging of a vastly changed media landscape. One clear casualty of the pandemic is the traditional media industry, already in steep decline for years before COVID was even a thing. Media outlets have been hit hard by the pandemic and newsrooms pared to the bone thanks to the sheer number of journalists who have been furloughed or made redundant altogether.
At the other end of the COVID spectrum, one area that has seen considerable growth over the last few months is the “owned media” space, where brands have been able to control their own media, such as news stories, infographics and case studies, and engage directly with their customers and key stakeholders.
The indications are that companies will look to invest further in their owned media, so let’s look at what the term actually means and how it can be leveraged. What is owned media?
Owned media refers to any content that is owned, created and distributed by you, and that you have complete control over. This includes:
• Your website – all the pages you publish about your products, services, company history and team pages. • Content – such as blog posts, video, podcasts and white papers. • Your newsletter • Case studies – including testimonials, case studies of service or product users and employee stories.
Owned media is important as it’s your opportunity to shape your story and present your business or brand the way that you want it to be seen. You have complete control over this content, so you choose the language, design, tone of voice, layout and branding. Quality is key here. The more quality content you produce, the more opportunities you have to be shared on social media, to be newsworthy and relevant for unpaid coverage should the traditional media pick it up.
How to build your owned media
Use these tips to ensure you have a good output of owned media:
• Create a content calendar – mark up seasonal events and awareness days relevant to your business as well as important internal dates. Plan out content for your newsletter, blog and other relevant channels so you know you are creating enough content at all times.
• Recycle and reuse – it’s time consuming creating new content. Be clever and consider how to reuse old content in a new and refreshing way. Perhaps a post you did last year on International Women’s Day can be reposted this year with an update on what the female leaders have achieved during the past 12 months? Or simply reshare it with the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag.
• Create evergreen content – this is content that can be used anytime and doesn’t have an end date. ‘Top 10 tips’ features or ‘the best roundups’ for example. Once they are published on your blog you can pick out the individual tips to post on social media over a number of weeks and months to come.
• Consider creating hero content – the likes of white papers, ebooks and downloadable guides may take time and money to produce, but they will give your brand credibility if done well. This type of owned media is likely to lead to the holy grail of earned media (i.e. unpaid media coverage) and to help position your brand as an authority.
• Understand your audience – what do they want to see and what would help them? Use your internal search engine results to identify what they’re searching for and use SEO tools such as Answer The Public to make sure your content is useful. The more useful it is, the more likely it will be well shared.
The organisations we have worked with during the pandemic that have invested in their own media have been able to use it throughout the crisis to communicate with staff and stakeholders. This should be a big lesson for all of us about the power of investing in creating quality content, helping to build brand awareness and generate positive brand sentiment.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Woodhouse .