For the last three weeks, we’ve taken a deeper dive look at each letter in the PESO acronym.
We started with paid media.
Then dove into earned media.
And, last week, we covered shared media.
Here’s the kicker: none of the other types of media will get you very far unless you have the last letter under your belt.
As you have probably figured out by now, we’re going to focus on owned media today.
This is the stuff your company owns.
It’s content—the content you produce, and hold the copyright to.
You Can’t Execute PESO Without Owned Media
O may be the last letter of the PESO model, but we’ve saved the best for last.
When using the PESO model to outline a solid communications strategy, you really need to start from the ground up.
And that means content.
This is your blog. The business’ website. The books and keynotes and podcasts you create.
Without it, you can’t get the attention of journalists, you don’t have anything to promote in social, and you certainly can’t do any social media advertising.
You need owned media so you can:
- Share it on social media to drive visitors to your website.
- Boost it through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach your targeted audiences.
- Include it 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.
With owned media, instead of waiting for something interesting to happen to react to, you remain in control the conversation. You can flip the communications model and have something to talk about every, single day.
Best Practices Are for the Birds
Let’s dive into owned media by first throwing best practices out the window.
Just like how no one can tell you how to live your best life, no one can tell you how to excel at creating your owned content.
Jay Acunzo, who created the award winning podcast “Unthinkable” and brand spanking new author of Break the Wheel said:
Exceptional work happens when you find and follow what makes you an exception.
And he is completely right.
Just because there are no best practices when it comes to owned media, doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to best structure your communications strategy around your content.
So, while understanding that best practices are for the birds, here are some key things to keep in mind so that you can work on what makes you an exception.
Your Content Can’t Be Boring
That doesn’t mean you always need to (or should never) churn out click-bait or fall into the trap of being edgy only for the shock-value—that also gets really old after a while.
But you do have to break away from the monotone sea of other content out there.
Ask yourself: what distinguishes you? How are you memorable when compared to your competition?
One of my favorite examples of this is when I wrote a blog post about why I don’t think highly-paid speakers should wear jeans on stage.
I know, I know!
I got a ton of push-back against that article—most of it respectful, thankfully.
But it really caught people’s attention, and it put Spin Sucks on the map.
I do admit I’ve since softened on my opinion on jeans—I certainly think there is a gigantic difference between looking like you rolled out of bed and wearing jeans that are neat and fit you well.
But the fact that I put it out there, and it was so controversial, is what began to gain us some awareness.
(Plus, it was the first blog post that Mitch Joel commented on. And I didn’t care that he disagreed with me. All I cared about was that Mitch freaking Joel commented on Spin Sucks!)
Of course, the landscape out there is different now: a blog post like that published today probably wouldn’t drive business for us the way it did, nor would it convert leads.
But it did gain us tons of new subscribers and the attention of some of the industry’s major influencers.
And, to this day, people still give me a hard time about my opinion on jeans!
To which I almost always respond:
It was EIGHT YEARS AGO, people!
Your Content Has to Reach Humans and Search Engines
This is really crucial. Especially if you’re the little guy, or a newcomer, or if you have something to prove, David versus Goliath style. You have to focus on your priority keywords.
And here’s the rub: your keyword may not be what has high search volume or high competition.
As communicators, it is likely that on some level, we will be competing with one another for some of the same phrases, such as public relations, social media, and content marketing.
If you want to be found for “media training” or “public relations” or “media relations,” it’s likely you’re going to have a hard time competing against the first results—Wikipédia, Forbes, PRSA—and your website won’t show up on the first page of search results.
However, we each have our areas of expertise which means we’ll each have to identify differentiated phrases that we can individually compete on.
To figure out what your target keywords or phrases should be, you should do this exercise:
- Write down all the questions you are asked in new business or sales meetings.
- Write down all the questions your customer service department is asked.
- Go to your website or your internal server, Dropbox or Google Drive and grab your most frequently asked questions sheet.
- Go into your sent mail and scroll to see what kinds of questions your clients are asking that you’re writing long answers to… everyday. Write those down.
This is your starting point: if you are being asked all those questions, this is what people are looking and searching for.
If you have the answers, and you’re best suited to provide the solutions, they should be finding you when they search these things.
Take the questions you just wrote down and distill them into keywords or keyword phrases.
Your priority keywords are extremely important.
Figure them out, focus on them, and talk about everything you can related to them.
Strategy Used to Generate Content Ideas
Here’s the strategy we use to generate content ideas:
- 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.
Congratulations! You just came up with 13 relevant pieces of content that you can create to add to your owned media campaigns.
It gets easier and easier the more you do it, too.
Once you get in the habit, you’ll be able to take any primary keyword or keyword phrase and turn it into dozens of great pieces to use and share.
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