There are numerous ways to strategize and execute a marketing strategy, but the best approach to marketing is an integrated one. Review case study after case study and you’ll find the best and most effective strategies are done by intentionally blending multi-various platforms, media types and campaigns into a full-spectrum, holistic marketing plan.
As the saying goes, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket, and using a blend of borrowed, owned, earned and paid media is the strongest approach.
In our experience, we’ve seen weak marketing strategies fail simply because they were top-heavy in a single area, relying too heavily on a single outlet, platform or media type.
When developing your own marketing strategy, make sure you’re pursuing campaigns in each category of media - owned, earned, borrowed and paid - to ensure the strength, longevity and sustainability of your campaigns.
Owned media is the content over which you have full control, from creation to promotion. For example, your website content, blog and email content are content media you fully own. You don’t have to worry about algorithms, and since you are likely paying for the platforms you’re using (website hosting, email providers, etc.) you have virtually full autonomy over the lifespan of this content.
With owned media, you have full control over the experience you want your audience to have. You strategize the content yourself, create and execute the content how you wish and publish it and promote it however and whenever you want.
This is one of the most valuable media types because you have full and constant access to its source and owner - you and your team! This is why blogging is still a crucial aspect of content marketing, and why the future of email marketing still looks very bright.
Leveraging Owned Media
Create high quality content to share as blogs and emails. Pay attention to the people on your email list. They usually represent some of the most engaged members of your audience. In case borrowed media ever collapses, want to have a central place (email list) to connect with your audience
Earned media is the publicity and “buzz” your brand garners organically, but you are not its source. This media is user-generated content, and it’s heavily reliant on your brand’s perception and reputation among your audience, community members, peers and clients.
Earned media consists of press mentions, social media mentions and tags, word of mouth referrals - all of which are essential components of marketing. With earned media, your customers or audience members themselves are the channel.
Leveraging Earned Media
Employ social listening. Use social monitoring tools to stay in-the-know about users who are actively mentioning you or talking about your brand across social media. Here are a few of our favorite social listening tools. As you employ social listening, be sure to track conversations surrounding topics, keywords, phrases, industries and hashtags that pertain to your brand.
Begin engaging. Proactively engage with users who are already talking about your brand, engaging in relevant hashtag communities, or asking questions related to your product or offering. Provide thoughtful, non-automated responses for the best results.
Share and repost user-generated content. When users talk about your brand, ask their permission to share or repost their content. Be sure to give the user full credit when making any post!
Borrowed media consists of media types and platforms we don’t own, like social media. While we don’t necessarily have ownership, we can create profiles that give us access to the users who are actively participating on these platforms and build an audience.
We “borrow” the pool of users on Instagram, for example, to create a social community around our brand, but we have limited control over our shared content, profiles, and have zero control over the platform itself.
Leveraging Borrowed Media
The best way to leverage borrowed media for business growth is to use it to direct traffic to your owned media. Think of borrowed media as billboards as traffic signs or signals, directing individual users from the stream of traffic to your destination (i.e. your owned media).
Use borrowed media like social media to build an audience and increase brand awareness, but don’t keep them there - direct them to the direct source of original, owned content!
Paid media is any content asset you need an advertising budget for, like Facebook ads, billboards, tv commercials and radio spots. Paid media even includes paid influencer partnerships on social media.
Leveraging Paid Media
While it is tempting for many marketers to revolve any campaign around paid media, it’s best to implement paid media in your strategy only after you’ve identified what’s working in your business and marketing funnel organically. Paid media is a way to amplify results, not manufacture results, through advertising to drive more conversions.
To best leverage paid media for the growth of your business, first develop your marketing funnel and any campaigns by integrating owned, earned and borrowed media first, then assessing how to amplify the results of that strategy with paid media.
A Blend of Each Media Type is the Strongest Approach
Remember, the most effective sales funnels are usually a strong blend of owned, earned, borrowed and paid media, with owned media being the cornerstone of your strategy. Owned media is where the most engaged members of your audience will be nurtured and deepen in that Know, Like and Trust factor (via nurture sequences, weekly newsletters and original content that is of true value).
If you’re looking for a marketing team with experience in developing and executing holistic marketing strategies that integrate each media type to the unique benefit of your business, reach out to us! We’d love to talk with you and learn how we can propel your business toward growth!