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Pandemic prompts increased use of “owned media”

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Research highlights marketing evolution in wake of COVID-19

There can’t be many aspects of business that have not been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From HR to facilities management, online security to procurement, every department and individual employee has had to adapt their working processes because of the virus.

PR and marketing haven’t escaped either, with the disease forcing both in-house and agency practitioners to adopt new practices and skills at an accelerated rate.

People get set in their ways, even in the world of PR and marketing which is usually quick to adopt new techniques and technology.

Even so, the speed with which the marketing sector has had to change and adapt to the “new normal” is daunting to many.

To others though, it presents a huge opportunity to steal a march and gain a valuable advantage over the competition.

Rapidly changing media landscape

During 2020, as the pandemic swept through the world disrupting traditional ways of working, the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) and PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association) kept in close contact with their members in an attempt to understand just how hard the sector was being hit, gauge how PR practitioners were adapting and overall consumer media consumption.

What they have found using this data is that the media landscape is changing rapidly.

The clearest and most obvious impact of the pandemic can be seen within what we could very broadly call the “traditional” media. It is no secret that the print media in particular has already been in severe decline for at least a decade, and COVID only made things worse.

If you have followed what has been happening in newsrooms up and down the country for the last few years you will know that editorial teams have been slashed as part of cost cutting exercises, with just a handful of hardworking journalists left to do the jobs of two or three people.

COVID has only made this worse, with many more journalists being either furloughed or cut from the workforce altogether, and this has happened across the board, from your local and regional news group to the nationals.

This makes it even harder for PR teams to achieve traditional media results, as journalists are busier and more stressed than ever and, let’s face it, COVID is often the only story in town.

Huge growth of “owned media”

Before we get too despondent let’s look towards the other end of the COVID spectrum, at a channel that the CIPR and PRCA has said is seeing huge growth in recent months, which is the “owned media” space.

Let’s just define what “owned media” actually means. According to marketing software firm Campaign Monitor “owned media is any online property owned and controlled by a brand, such as a blog, website or social media channels. The more owned media channels a business has, the larger their digital footprint, which means more potential reach to customers and followers.”

A good way to think about this is that you as the brand owner become the publisher of your own content. You control what goes through your channels, whether that’s a part of your website, a digital marketing campaign or through social media. Types of content can be anything from news announcements, blogs, video testimonials, interviews, case studies, infographics or even memes!

The point is that you are communicating directly to your stakeholders, such as colleagues, customers, potential clients, investors and so on.

As we head into 2021, all the signs point to more and more organisations investing in “owned media”, so how can this be properly leveraged to create a market advantage?

Create quality content for your marketing channels

Let’s look again at that definition of what owned media is. In brief, it is any content that is owned, created and distributed by you, and that you have complete control over, including:

  • website – pages published about your organisation, its products & services, vision and news announcements
  • Evergreen content – delivered as blog posts, videos, White Papers or even podcasts
  • Digital marketing such as e-newsletters
  • Case studies – showing how your brand has benefited another organisation.

Using owned media you have the opportunity to present your brand as you want it to be seen. Every element, from tone of voice to design layout, is under your complete control.

But, just as in every other part of your business, quality is of paramount importance. Poor content, such as a badly written blog, photo of the back of someone’s head or self-aggrandising press release about nothing in particular, won’t work. For a start it won’t grab people’s attention and keep them engaged, plus it has no chance of being shared online.

Pay attention to detail and invest in creating high quality content, and not only will you find you gain lots more attention online, including increasing visitors to your website, but the traditional media could also come knocking and asking to share your news and insights with their own audiences.

Top tips to get you going

Here are some simple tips for creating quality content which can be used across your owned media channels:

  • Start a calendar – there will be events and awareness days taking place throughout the year which will have some connection to your organisation or to you personally. In addition, what key dates specifically for your organisation might be happening in the coming 12 months? Is there a contract renewal on the horizon? Maybe a corporate milestone such as marking 10 years in business? Map all of these out together with the content type and channel which would work best.
  • Be efficient – that means recycling rather than keep creating new content. For example, if you wrote a social media post celebrating Global Entrepreneurs Week could this be repurposed as a blog highlighting how entrepreneurs can help the economy to recover? Could a case study be chopped up and used as testimonials?
  • Use more “evergreen” content – basically anything that doesn’t have a “use by” date. Research topics related to your industry that you can turn into lists, or provide some “top tips” blogs drawing on your own expertise. Combined with the recycling process above, this should provide you with ongoing content across multiple channels for months and even years to come.
  • Thought leadership content – sometimes called “hero” content, this is anything that positions you as a true leader within your industry. Data reports, trend analysis, downloadable guides, White Papers and ebooks are just some of the content types that will allow you to do this.
  • Know your audience – who is this content for? Why will they care? What will it help them achieve? Does it add value? What do your own analytics tell you about what pages and content types are performing best? The answers to these will help you start planning your content strategy and ensure it creates engagement and is shared.

The traditional media isn’t going to suddenly disappear, in fact crises like COVID-19 have driven up news consumption. But the pandemic has created the ideal conditions for brands to exploit the opportunities presented by their owned media, and this trend is set to continue.

If you would like a discussion about how OggaDoon can help you to drive visibility of, and engagement with, your organisation through traditional and owned media channels call us today.




Author: Bobby Marsh

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