A marketing goal for all brands should be to control their own media. All brands now have the ability to own their media distribution through controlled media. With the continued emphasis on relationship marketing, two-way conversations and brand advocates, brands need to consider themselves as publishers of content. As a publisher you need to make sure you are in control of how you share your content.
This is Not An Attack On Paid Media
Options used to be limited for brands when they wanted to send a message or reach a new audience. The choices usually required the purchase of paid media. While the different types of advertising mediums can vary, we know that paid media by definition requires a brand to spend money. I am not devaluing the need for paid media, I am simply highlighting the value of controlled media for brands. Controlled Media is now feasible for all brands thanks to the internet as well as content managed websites, easy to deploy email blasts, social media channels and search optimized content.
As internet usage continues to grow the importance for brands to show up in search results grows by the day. By connecting digital content to your website you are increasing your chances to be found in search queries. The added value of publishing digital content is that is has a long shelf-life. Unlike that Direct Mail Card, Newspaper Ad or Radio Spot your digital content does not expire. Your digital content becomes an online archive for your brand, a treasure chest for consumers to find out more about your brand. The search results can be a resource for your target audience both today and down the road. White Hat SEO is the practice of creating digital content in multiple forms, sharing it and linking it to your site, when you follow best practices you will be rewarded by search engines. Just ask Penguin.
If you cannot be found online what does that say to a potential customer?
Lets say you are a retail store, the potential customer might just be searching to find your address or perhaps to check if you carry a particular product. And, what if you are a restaurant? Ever feel like reviewing a menu before committing to a place to dine or simple curious if they serve lunch?
93% of online experiences start with search
So I’ll ask you this, why spend money on paid media without having a website to send them to? Having an integrated marketing approach is about balance and support for all initiatives. Awareness is key, but just as important is validation. Consumers are more educated today than every before, we have choices and we expect to find information about a brand before committing our time and our money. Without online validation such as a current website, online listings, positive reviews and social media activity, you might just be throwing away marketing dollars. The more helpful and resourceful your content the better off you will be, because creating content matters for SEO.
“No matter how successful your marketing or advertising is, if you cannot be found online the consumer will move onto the next option.”
What Exactly is Controlled Media?
Controllable media is the idea of a brand having control of when they send a message. In order for a brand to control their own media, they have to own the vehicle. Most advertising requires the use of paid media, which can also be called borrowed media considering the brand is renting air-time, placement in a print publication or even banner space on someone’s website. Thus, as a renter you are never fully in control and your brand is subject to someone else’s schedule, their fee and the availability of space. Have you ever wanted to send a message to you customer right now?
The difference between media you own and media you control
Owned media is your website, your blog and your email database since you have complete control and ownership. Some might include Social Media Networks in this group but I consider that controlled media. Why is that? Technically you don’t own your brand page on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+, so at anytime they can sell, shut you down or change the rules. However, you do control the timing and the content that you share on those networks, thus the idea of Controlled Media.
Once you control the distribution channels you also control when you communicate to your customers. For marketers the more control the better, especially when you consider that control has shifted back to the consumer. Customers now expect to hear what a brand has to say, they look for guidance and support. This is part of the humanizing of brands, transparent communication through multiple channels. So go ahead and take some ownership with controlled media. You never know when you will need to share an update, alert your customers or you just need to drive traffic… like right now!