Brand marketing is experiencing a renaissance the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. That might sound crazy, but it’s true. The renaissance is occurring despite the daily headlines declaring the collapse of traditional advertising.
And it’s happening fast.
As enterprising brands embrace self-publishing and continuously find new and innovative ways to generate and use owned media, the downfall of paid media is becoming less and less alarming.
If owned media was a stock, I would be buying in this bull market.
The benefits of owned media have been known for a long time.
First, it’s versatile. Owned media can be iterated upon, shared quickly, and adjusted as a brand’s marketing strategy evolves.
Secondly, it puts brands in control. It provides a perfect outlet for establishing a brand's voice and personality. When creating owned media, the brand is the editorial chieftain and the driver of tone and tenor.
Moreover, owned media isn’t as ephemeral as paid media (or even earned media). It can live as long as you want it to. Actually, in theory, content never disappears. And, according to Titan SEO, "If owned media sites are the destination, then earned media is the vehicle that helps people get there." Be sure to take advantage of the best of both worlds.
Finally, there’s the matter of cost. Developing owned media properties doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking, which is why owned media can lead to outsized investment returns. As a rule, the savings compared to paid media programs will usually be significant.
Of course, owned media shouldn’t be the engine, car, and driver of your marketing strategy. When it comes to paid advertising, it hasn’t hit its death rattle yet; it’s just overpriced.
But with a marketing ethos that revolves around owned media, modern brands can more effectively leverage paid media — oftentimes as a spotlight to illuminate exceptional owned content.
So you might say that the renaissance is simply a shift in marketing priorities to meet consumer demands for authenticity and content that truly educates and inspires.
If you’re feeling a little late to the party, don’t worry: You can still make owned media work for you. Start building a new marketing strategy that uses paid media to help your owned media properties generate maximum impact.
But if you still need evidence as to why you shouldn’t try to let paid media stand on its own, consider the recent Pepsi advertising debacle. The soda company was forced to issue an apology after running a poorly planned TV ad that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement but seemed to trivialize it in the process.
Likewise, Google has apologized after the British government, AT&T, and others decided to pull ad buys from YouTube. Not surprisingly, these organizations had a problem with their banners appearing on videos posted by extremists. Google has said it will take measures to give advertisers more control over the placement of their ads in the future, but the problem won’t be completely solved anytime soon.
If your marketing efforts have typically relied mostly on paid media, now is the ideal time to shift your focus to content creation and self-publishing. Once you have a sizable amount of content developed, you’ll be able to continually repurpose it for maximum impact. In the digital age, if content is king, repurposing could be considered its army.
A content calendar is widely considered the most important tool for organizing and scheduling content distribution, and you should have one. But don’t be afraid to adjust and optimize it as you see what content types generate the most return on investment. Above all, follow these three rules when it comes to repurposing your content:
Although an ongoing content distribution system can generate big results, you should also consider another powerful approach to brand publishing, sometimes called atomic content marketing. This approach is generally more dynamic, as it focuses on creating many small content elements (atoms), including copy and visual imagery, and then assembling them in different ways to create larger content customized for a specific audience.
Whether you choose a static, ongoing distribution strategy or a more dynamic audience-based approach, your content should be consistent in terms of quality. Perhaps even more importantly, you must consistently deliver on your promises. Especially if you want to take an epic content approach, you must be diligent about giving audiences what you tell them you’re going to give them, whether that’s a monthly magazine subscription, daily email newsletter, or something else.
Assess your existing technology stack and see whether there are opportunities to use the tools you already have in new and more effective ways. Most email marketing software, content management systems, and marketing automation platforms have features that support an atomic content strategy, and all of these tools can support a standard content marketing program. If you think you’re missing something, talk to your current vendors and ask them how their offerings can best support your new marketing strategy.
Authenticity is a magnet for empathy and loyalty, and owned media gives brands the opportunity to establish an authentic brand voice and personality. Although social networks can be used to supplement your brand’s message, facilitating relationships within your brand’s own ecosystem is mission-critical and provides exponential benefits, including real-time customer feedback and data for ongoing research and development. The sooner you start building that ecosystem, the sooner you can take advantage of these benefits.
Dan Curran is a seasoned marketing and advertising entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of PowerPost, a comprehensive content publishing technology platform accelerator for brand marketers. PowerPost’s software centralizes content to allow for streamlined collaboration, measurement, and publishing.