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Your organization’s digital marketing spend can be segmented in many ways. For example, some of our clients segment digital marketing spend by geography, while others segment spend based on individual business verticals or audience attributes.
Because these categorizations can be tailored to your organization’s business goals, your allocation of marketing spend can be efficiently attributed to earned, owned and/or paid media to yield clearer ROI projections for any organization – and isn’t that what your boss wants you to do? And you shouldn’t ignore the “and/or” term in the previous sentence – there is no silver-bullet solution; a mix of all three is not to be overstated as a critical part of a successful marketing strategy.
Types of Media, Defined
Earned media lures your target audience to your media channels. This means customer engagement hits its maximum level with earned media. Since earned media has the power to turn your prospects into brand advocates and influencers (let’s call them “brand whisperers” for fun), these individuals will be likely to share your communication with their own networks of like-minded prospects.
The greatest efficiency of earned media is that the draw of this media type may result in word-of-mouth marketing from those most likely to engage with your communication.
But for all its appeal and likelihood of being cost-efficient, don’t think earned media is a standalone strategy. The sales funnel in the marketing landscape today will stop in its tracks if you don’t integrate the other types of media.
Examples of Earned Media Tactics:
Owned media is the media type that empowers your business to have significant control of your content – you own it. This should include content your business creates such as blog and social posts, free e-books or whitepapers. Or if you have as much money as Oprah, go ahead and buy your own television network.
But many businesses struggle with implementing owned media due to a lack of specialized in-house expertise and, as a result, limited capacity to produce content as part of a larger content strategy.
If you want to develop and continually optimize your most controllable type of media, you must establish and execute a detailed content strategy. The content strategy should define – both in real time and long-term – the following:
Examples of Owned Media Tactics:
Paid media is, well, media you pay for. It doesn’t serve the same purposes as earned and owned media do; rather, paid media is designed to generate leads via broader channels, such as search and display advertising, SEO and PPC campaigns, to name a few. It can get complicated, but that’s part of the fun.
Because your competitors – if they have a paid media strategy – are fighting for the same visibility as your organization, your spend within this media type will likely fluctuate to match or exceed their efforts.
Perhaps most importantly within paid media channels are your calls to action. Because paid media channels tend to have broader reach to catalyze the top of the sales funnel, advertisements must have thoughtful copy, wow-factor visuals and powerful call-to-action elements. Without the precise positioning of how your business is presented in paid media, driving conversions toward your bottom line is highly unlikely, and you will have wasted a lot of money.
Finally, paid media, like owned media, must be optimized and sustained in real time and long-term. Thus, the necessary efforts for yielding successful outcomes often pose the same challenges encountered within owned media – lack of in-house expertise and lack of capacity to maintain these channels. Without the ability to develop and fully execute a sound paid media strategy, conversions will be more unpredictable, and success metrics will be unreliable for future investment.
Examples of Paid Media Tactics:
Build Your Marketing Ecosystem
Knowing the differences between earned, owned and paid media – as well as the ways they can overlap – will fuel a more efficient budget and more targeted approach to reaching your audience.
As a full-service agency, TrendyMinds carefully assesses the ability to balance earned, owned and paid media solutions for each client’s specific needs. Throughout an individual campaign or long-term marketing strategy, creating a holistic plan integrating all three media types will maximize optimization at each stage of the sales funnel, engagement of prospective and existing customers and, ultimately, retention of loyal and enthusiastic brand whisperers.
Where should you be spending your dollars? Spend them on creating an ecosystem of earned, owned and paid media. Putting all of your dollars in only one or even two of these media types will result in lopsided, unreliable outcomes and learnings for future efforts – and a waste of your organization’s money.