Please Embrace Owned Media And Help Alleviate A Pet PeeveAfter college, I moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a couple years.

Thankfully, I found an apartment on-island, so I didn’t have to deal with the unbelievably crazy traffic driving onto the island every morning.

If you’re familiar with HHI, then you know the traffic situation from Bluffton.

Something else you might know is the island itself is shaped like a foot.

My apartment was in the heel.

About a year after I moved there, my apartment complex was converted into condos.

I was offered the opportunity to buy in, but decided against it.

(I still have some regrets about that decision, but I’m sure it was for the best.)

The couple who bought the unit I occupied were happy to have a tenant, so I was able to stay, for $20 extra per month.

I was thrilled I didn’t have to move, because finding another on-island apartment was becoming increasingly difficult as most apartments were transitioning to condos at that time.

Dealing with Owned Media

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because it leads me to one of my biggest pet peeves in dealing with owned media, which I’ll get to in a moment.

If you’re a loyal Spin Sucks follower, you should be quite familiar with the PESO model: Paid, earned, shared, and owned Media.

Gini Dietrich covered these four types of media in the book version of Spin Sucks (if you haven’t read it yet, go get it now!).

Owned media is what it sounds like.

It’s the media an individual or business owns – think website or blog.

So what’s my pet peeve?

Businesses without websites!

So many businesses rely on Facebook or worse, sites such as Yelp or Urbanspoon.

As a consumer, it’s often frustrating to find answers to questions via one of these sites.

For example, a couple of weekends ago, I was trying to find the location of a bakery in a nearby town.

They only had a Facebook page, and the About link contained no pertinent information, no phone number, no address, nothing.

I gave up and they lost a customer.

Could I have Googled for more information?

Maybe, but by that time, I wasn’t interested anymore.

I have a friend who’s a hair stylist.

When she branched out on her own several years ago, she invested in a website which was concise, and provided all pertinent information, including the option to book appointments online (she even blogged a bit).

About a year ago, she changed her business model, and in the transition, did away with her website.

Now she relies on Facebook for all communication and appointment bookings (unless you want to call).

If she weren’t my friend and I didn’t have her cell number (I simply text for an appointment), I would find getting ahold of her difficult, especially if I had been used to simply booking through the old website.

Why did she get rid of her website?

I have no idea.

Why You Should Prioritize Your Owned Media

Aside from not frustrating potential customers, there are other reasons to put a priority on owned media.

  • You own the content and everything you add to your website is yours, no matter what. While it seems unlikely, ask yourself what happens if Facebook vanishes tomorrow? That’s right, everything you’ve ever posted is gone with it.
  • Once you establish your website, your customers have a place to go which can be easily navigated, so they can find answers to their questions and learn more about your awesome business.
  • You have content for shared media! Build your website, keep it updated, then share things from your website to your social media networks. (This works well if you have a blog or an eBook or whitepapers.) As Jay Baer says, “Content is the fire, social media is the gasoline.”
  • A well-designed website makes your business seem more legitimate. Note: You will want to establish a professional-looking website, therefore, you’ll need to put in the time and money to build it.

If you’re relying on a social site to carry your business however, I’ll assume you may not have the budget for professional help.

The good news is there are lots of website building templates out there, which make it much easier than it used to be.

You no longer have to be an expert coder, so doing it yourself is a possibility.

You can also find many tutorials and courses online.

Because I didn’t own my apartment back then, and chose not to buy it, I knew I was taking a big chance on being allowed to stay once the apartment sold.

It’s the same risk business owners take every day by relying on media they don’t own to convey their very important messages.

If you’re one of these business owners, stop taking a chance.

Embrace your media and own it!

image credit: shutterstock

Kara Vanskike

Kara Vanskike began her career at a communications firm in Hilton Head, SC. Next, she worked in the museum exhibit design industry as a marketing manager. Then, after meeting Gini in 2009, she went from client to employee before she transitioned to SAHM with two boys. Recently she rejoined the working world as a project management assistant and communications manager at a boutique home design studio. She spends her free time adventuring with her boys and is active in the Down syndrome community as her youngest is rockin’ an extra chromosome.

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