As a content marketer, there are numerous channels and strategies at your disposal. One of the most critical aspects of using content marketing is managing your paid, owned, and earned media.
They actually all work together to drive traffic and conversions. Some come with a higher investment, and others have a more impactful ROI (return on investment).
In this post, we’ll break down each type of media, how to use them in content marketing, and which one provides the best ROI.
Next, we’ll look at each type of media.
Paid media consists of any type of advertising. It comes with a price tag, which varies depending on the channel. Unfortunately, this is what most people think marketing is all about.
The strategy behind paid ads is to drive users to your owned media. You can do this with:
So, does paid media work? It certainly can with the right strategy. It’s important to note though, that paid media can only deliver ROI when the ad is running. When it’s over, it’s over.
Most content marketers use paid channels. The CMI 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Report found that 72 percent do so.
What paid channels do they use? The leader was social media, followed by paid search. The top pick for paid social media was LinkedIn with Facebook and Twitter coming in second and third.
Paid media will provide your brand with exposure and help you reach audiences you couldn’t reach before. Ads do have some obstacles that impede ROI. Buyers are “ad blind” because of the constant inundation. Often, leads from paid channels aren’t quality leads; expect to get lots of spam, especially from paid search. Whether the lead is qualifiable or not, you’re still paying.
Paid media ROI is going to be different for any business. It depends on how competitive your industry is, as that will result in higher bids for keywords. Other factors include how compelling the ad is and how well you target. Targeting is available in multiple ways. For example, on LinkedIn and other social media sites, you can target by geography, industry, job title, or interests.
For display ads or sponsored content, you’ll get impressions and clicks. But those don’t really tell you ROI. You have to be able to attribute the event to an actual sale, which can be tricky.
Owned media represents all content that you control. The biggest part of your owned media is your website. You have the power to design it as you want and publish content that’s uniquely your own.
However, just having a website or digital presence isn’t enough. Once people land on your website from either paid or earned sources, you want them to stay. That requires a dedication to an excellent user experience (UX) and content that resonates with your buyers.
Other owned media includes social media postings. You don’t own that channel, but you do control what you post and when. After that, the algorithms take over, but in its original form, it’s owned.
Email marketing is also owned media. Buyers give you permission to email them, and you dictate the messaging and offers. It’s a channel that you own for nurturing and fostering customer relationships.
Podcasts and virtual events are other owned media options. You design the content and experience. You don’t own distribution channels or platforms. Yet, it’s still branded content and has a much stronger impact than third-party events.
Owned media is the foundation of content marketing. It is your brand’s story told in many formats and channels, but you control the narrative. In most cases, content marketing beats advertising.
For every one dollar spent on email marketing and SEO, your ROI is $40 and $22.24, respectively. You’ll see below, these owned media outperform paid.
The ROI is pretty clear for owned media, and B2B marketers will be investing in it the most in 2021, according to the CMI report.
Earned media describes any type of exposure or visibility gained outside of paid channels. Earned media is many times the vehicle for reaching the destination of owned media. Earned media is the modern, digital form of word of mouth. It’s a way that others recommend or endorse your brand.
Earned media can be mentions, shares, reposts/retweets, reviews, recommendations, and profiles in third-party content.
To increase earned media, you’ll need a strong SEO strategy to improve organic search rankings. Brands “earn” these rankings by delivering high-quality content that’s optimized and has backlinks. Google acts as the “recommender,” showing your owned content in the searching rankings. It must work in hand with a content strategy that focuses on creating relevant, valuable content for your audience.
Earned media is measurable with social media metrics of engagement—mentions, reach, comments, and more. Going inside the analytics on this can help you calculate earn media metrics like:
These metrics will give you an idea of the importance of your brand in social conversations. Other ways to determine ROI of earned media are:
Something else to consider is that not all earned media is positive. Some mentions and comments will be negative. That just comes with the territory, so be prepared to respond to these.
It’s not necessarily an either-or here. All three types of media overlap and work together, so you need to have all three.
In terms of the most consistent ROI, owned media takes the top position, but it receives more traction through paid and earned media strategies.
Having a healthy mix and strategically integrating them is the best approach.
To leverage any type of media, you need content, which requires consistent publishing. Some organizations don’t have the resources to do this, and that’s where we can help.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.
Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.
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