Owned marketing and media, what is it?

Online marketing EcosystemIn a previous post I presented the Basic Principles of Online Marketing. What you need to know from that post is that there are three types of marketing, communications and advertising.

So, what is owned marketing?

This post will concentrate exclusively on owned or controlled marketing.

What do you own? What’s under your direct control? You’ve certainly heard much talk in the last 10 years about the consumer being in control. But do you realise how much you, or your company, really controls?

Owned marketingThe first and most important element you own is your website. That includes its design, its content, and its upkeep. The design should always be in line with what your brand wants to reflect and consistent with any off-line visibility you may have. Your business should be a dynamic one and your website must reflect that with regular updates and a variety of topics. It should not be treated like a flyer you update once a season, but should evolve weekly (if not daily). If not with new products and services, then with tips on how to find you, use your products as they’re meant, or alternatively.

The most important content (after « how to reach us ») is your product / service catalogue, which should normally evolve periodically. Your catalogue should be there in its entirety, not just a sample. Why bust your chops so? It must be complete to give your complete offering the maximum chances of exposure and to be found, as much on your website as through search engines that crawl your website for new content regularly (SEO).

All your news and press releases should be on your site in long form along with further content / explanations for people that are interested to know more. This is another category of content that you can regularly update that people will notice and return for more, more frequently.

You website should also include a blog. It’s probably not your place to give an opinion on anything; however a blog is the perfect place for your company’s staff to present the company, its products and services from a human stand point. You may have taken a position on certain issues concerning your industry that you’d like to push and explain. You may also have a strong community, social or goodwill program integrated in your business and this is the best place to showcase what you’ve done and why you’ve done it. Giving voice to various employees or staffers also gives more life to the perception people have of your company. Another great way to use your blog is to have an employee power user of a product or service publishes tips, tricks and how-tos – like the insider scoop. This returns more value to users / clients and increases their loyalty. Attention, not all content is good. The story telling is as important as the story itself. If told properly, you’ll hook and engage (entertain) your clients. If not, they won’t read you and you’ll have wasted your time.

Across all these types of contents that you will update at various frequencies, you must have a layer of SEO to ensure that your efforts at home (on your website) are seen from afar (by Google and other search engines) and drive more people back to your site because they’re searching for something a search engine believes you’ve got content on. An SEO specialist should have been employed when building and deploying your website and should further be consulted periodically to ensure you stay on track and that you’re optimised for search engines’ ever evolving algorithms. This further extends to the mobile version of the website.
Your e-mail newsletter or bulletin is additional web site content that you control. If you do not have one, you should seriously consider creating one since it‘s a great way to reach out to your audience.

Finally, your social media presence is also 100% within your control. You should take advantage of your social presence to promote new content and sales on your site. To kick start your social media impact; consider hiring a social media specialist. With the proper training, your SM specialist can provide best practices, establish a strategy, create meaningful content and manage comments. It’s best to handle social media in-house since nobody will speak better of your products and services than a member of your team. More importantly you’re typically in a better position to quickly and clearly answer questions.

Now that you have a few examples of content that you control, you should have a better idea on what you can add to your site to make it current, interesting for your customers and effective in search engine ranking.

This post was previous published on the Yellow Pages Group’s blog, Life in Yellow, on September 15th, 2011.