Gini Dietrich

Why Owned Media is Key to an Effective Communications Plan

By: Gini Dietrich | May 24, 2017 | 
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Why Owned Media is Key to an Effective Communications PlanEarlier this week, I had an interesting conversation with a new friend about the PESO model.

He asked, of the four media types, which is the most important.

While I’d love to live in a world where all four have equal importance, life isn’t fair.

And, it’s difficult to have earned, paid, and shared media without owned media.

Sure, you can create news around events, such as new product offerings, new hires, or a trade show attendance, but it’s pretty difficult to do that consistently.

With owned media, however, you can flip the communications model and have something to talk about every, single day.

Why Owned Media is Key to an Effective PR Plan

Owned media also gives you content to:

  • Share on social media, to drive visitors to your website.
  • Boost through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach your targeted audiences.
  • Include in your email marketing campaigns.
  • Prove to a journalist that you and your executive team are industry experts.
  • Build valuable industry relationships through amplifying and elevating your peers’ ideas.
  • Showcase customer-created content about your brand.

This last point is a big one. 

User-generated content is quickly becoming one of the most credible forms of advertising. 

In fact, recent Nielsen research found word-of-mouth recommendations and customer opinions posted online topping all other advertising types.

One of the best examples of a super-charged user-generated content owned media program is the “Shot on iPhone” campaign.

Rather than telling the world that the iPhone’s camera shoots breathtaking, print-ready photos, Apple showcases customer photographs that prove that point. 

When Apple finds compelling photography that it can prove was shot using an iPhone, it obtains permission and pays the creators for the rights to use the photo in the campaign.

That’s right.

All the compelling images from their print advertising, billboards, and social media content was created by their users.

And Apple turns it into valuable owned media that tells its story.

Creating a PESO Model Owned Media Plan

It’s important to plan your owned media content around your PR goals and adapt it to your audiences’ needs as they progress through their purchase process.

Top of the Funnel Goals

These are your most broad content goals and should focus on how to build industry awareness, attract links, and reach new audiences.

Align these goals with your influencer outreach, and the content your brand fans are creating for you.

If you’re focusing on a specific theme for your owned media content during the course of a specific period, your outreach should be aligned with your editorial calendar and vice versa.

Middle of the Funnel Goals

Now it’s time to focus on how to create awareness of a solution you have to an industry problem and awareness of your organization.

This content is designed to help prospects remember you when they are eventually in the market for your product or services.

Look at the questions your customers are asking and the keywords leading new visitors to your website.

Develop content to help increase your authority in your industry.

Bottom of the Funnel Goals

Bottom of the funnel goals focus on how to convert prospects to customers.

  • What makes your product stand out from the competition?
  • What do your existing customers say about you?
  • Who are your employers?
  • What makes you human?
  • What is the driving factor behind your company?

Once you’ve documented your content goals, your next step is to create a content map to support them.

Start with your primary keyword.

Take that topic and turn it into a headline.

This is your main content topic.

Next, think about three topics that splinter off that topic.

Then break those subtopics into three even more targeted headline ideas.

An Example at Work

Here’s an example.

Let’s say “How to Write Blog Posts That Get Read and Shared” is the main topic.

Its subtopics are more refined, such as “tricks to write popular blog posts” and “generate blog post ideas.”

For topics that splinter off “tricks to write popular blog posts,” you could create a debate between someone in your office and an industry influencer, talk about trends around the topic, or interview an industry influencer.

This strategic approach to owned media provides value to your audience as it builds a foundation for showcasing your expertise to journalists.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • John Lonsdorf

    While I share your enthusiasm for owned media, Gini, and agree that owned media can be the “Swiss army knife” of a good and comprehensive communication campaign, my take on PESO is that we as practitioners need to always keep an open mind regarding media selection and prominence (if not remain totally agnostic). Who could argue, for example, that if your assignment is introducing a totally new product or company to an unaware marketplace, at the onset paid media is likely to be your greatest driver of success? Longer-term, in that example, owned media should bubble to the top of your program, for sure.

    Not being contrarian, just trying to adhere to the orthodoxy of the PESO movement.

    • You raise a good point—and it certainly depends on the organization’s goals. In your example, it definitely makes sense to be agnostic and use the media type that is best to reach the goals.

      My point in this particular instance is, when you don’t have an event-related story to tell, owned media can/should be at the center because it creates the opportunities for the other media types.

      • John Lonsdorf

        We are fundamentally in agreement, Gini, and I absolutely endorse the use of owned media as a driver for promotion across multiple media channels (hence my “Swiss army knife” analogy). Good post!

  • What I love most about this, is, if you do it correctly, you never run out of content ideas. And it’s not random content, it’s intentional content.

    • Unless it’s summer time and you’d rather be outside on your bicycle.

      • That’s a very good point!

      • Kate Nolan

        Wait… You’re already back on your bike?

        • Of course! I was back on it yesterday. Just one rest day. It’s all zone 2 riding this week, though. So no intervals or racing.

  • Julie Harrison

    I love this post. If owned media is key, then user-generated content is the platinum key! The “shot on iPhone” campaign is just brilliant. But I’m sure we can all dig harder and develop ideas that can work for our own products/services. One way that B2B does his is by monitoring the questions that come in through support … if a question starts appearing regularly, turn it into content for your owned media.

    • Julie Harrison! HI!!

      • Julie Harrison

        Hi Gini! I haven’t commented in a while but I (OF COURSE) still follow your brilliant stuff 🙂

        • Well, I’m very happy to see you! And I totally agree with your assessment on user-generated content for B2B.

  • Sarah Chain

    I love the focus here on owned content that looks a variety of different ways — not just “5 Ways to XYZ” written content, but a deeper dive into a debate, interview format or round-up of user-generated content. We’ve been talking on our team about video and Facebook Live as well, to push outside the box and think about owned content as a multi-platform opportunity the same way we do for a larger PESO approach.

    • I really love Facebook Live for news events and in a crisis. Really smart to use that and video to extend your owned media!

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