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Owned Media: How to Create the Best Content

Posted by Wendy Marx

Owned Media_ How to Write the Best Articles (2)

Your B2B PR strategy is much like a clock -- when you take off the face, you come head to head with many moving parts that all work to give you that end result. Each gear has its own job, which is essential to the smooth function of the overall product.

One such component is owned media, which includes the writing and self-publishing of articles. Let's take a few moments to look a little closer at this component and see how it can work for your strategy.

In this article, we'll cover:

  • An owned media definition
  • What you need to know about owned media vs earned media 
  • How to write articles that best promote your brand and B2B products.

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An Owned Media Definition

Owned content, or media, is a crucial part of a well-rounded strategy.

Quite simply, this is content where you're in complete control. You create it, publish it yourself, and decide what happens to it in the future. 

Owned Media DefinitionOwned content includes:

  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Website pages
  • Newsletters
  • Case studies

What makes this kind of media so powerful? It helps you to build long-term relationships with potential leads and build confidence in your brand as an expert in your industry. 

Owned Media vs. Earned Media and Other Media Types

But again, this kind of media is only one part of a well-rounded strategy. The three other components are as follows:

  • Earned media: This media is content that you earn, mostly from media outlets and other websites. 
  • Shared media: This media is content that you share on networks like Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Paid media: This media is content that you promote through paid promotion, such as Google Adwords and social media ads.

But a lot of brands tend to put more emphasis on earned media. They want to be featured in The New York Times or The Washington Post -- but creating their own content seems further from their minds.

Which begs the question...

Why should you invest in owned media vs. earned media?

While earned media is a powerful tool -- and essential in its own right -- owning your media puts you in the driver's seat, so to speak. You have control over how people view you. In fact, many brands, after investing in owned content, have seen an uptick in interest in their B2B products.

Plus, owned content often acts as a bridge to other forms of media. Once you have a solid library of content that you own, it gives you content that you can use within your shared, paid, or earned media strategy.

So we see how important owned content is, but how can you get started?

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While some people are natural-born writers, others have to hone this skill over time. But whichever side you fall on, there are few article writing tips you should keep in mind. Let's look at 8 powerful tipsto get the most out of your strategy.

8 Proven Ways to Craft the Best Owned Media

1. Define Your Audience

If you want to write articles that attract your target audience, then you need to know more about them. What are their interests? What do they read on social media? What are their pain points? 

Find out as much as you can about your target audience. Use an analytics tool to learn more about your website visitors. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What pages do they visit?
  • How do they find you (Social media? Organic search? Paid media?)
  • Where do they come from?
  • What positions do they hold within their company?
All of this is valuable information you need to get a feel for your audience.

2. Shoot for Original

Article Writing - Edit (1)As original as possible, that is. Of course, with the amount of content on the internet today, chances are someone has written on your topic. But how you spin it can push it towards the original side of the spectrum.

As you brainstorm topics, perform Google searches to see what already exists.

Can you explore an angle that hasn't really been done yet? Or can you improve on what's been done, perhaps going deeper into the topic, providing details that others missed? 

These steps can set your content apart from others on the internet, and make your brand more valuable to your target audience.

3. Create Value

Article writing is all about your audience -- if they don't find it valuable, they won't read it. It's as simple as that.

But, short of mind reading, how can you know what will interest your audience? This takes us back to the first tip: Discover what your target audience cares about.

Look through popular social media networks like LinkedIn or Twitter. See what articles are most shared and commented on. Look at sites like Quora to see what questions people are asking. Consider using a tool like BuzzSumo to do this research for you.

When you see what topics are most popular in your industry, it's time to buckle down and do the hard work. Write content that delves deep into the subject matter, looking at it from all sides. This might be a good opportunity to create a guide, infographic, or video, which appeal to a wide audience.

4. Craft Winning Headlines

Headlines are often the deciding factor when it comes to people reading your articles or not. In those few seconds, someone can either click or move on.

What makes a clickable headline? 

owned content -- headlinesHere are few pointers to help your headline hit the mark for both your audience and search engines:

  • Keep it simple. Don't confuse with a long headline. Be straightforward, but use powerful language that engages your audience
  • Create a sense of urgency. Make your audience feel like they'll miss out if they don't read your article. Use words like "now" or "latest," which create a fear of missing out.
  • Be honest. In other words, avoid clickbait in your titles. Don't sensationalize your article -- let your audience know exactly what to expect. This creates a reputation of honesty that will stick with you.
  • Consider length. Too long and your headline could lose your audience's attention (plus be cut off in search engines). The optimal length for a headline is between 50 and 70 characters.
Want a little help to craft the best headlines for your articles? Then consider using a free tool like Coschedule's free Headline Analyzer. With this tool, you can test a potential headline and see how it ranks and get a list of ways to improve it.

5. Consider SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the standard for anything written online. When you create content that lives online, such as on your blog, then SEO needs to play a part.

The first step to SEO is choosing the right keywords. This tells Google what your article is about. Once you nail down your keywords, they should be placed naturally throughout your article between 3 and 5 times. This tells search engines that your article is legitimately about a topic, without going overboard.

Your keyword should also be included within your title, URL, meta description, and the alt text of your images. While there is definitely more to learn about SEO, this covers the basics.

6. Edit...And Re-Edit

Article Writing - EditMake sure that your article makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. You don't want any spelling or grammar mistakes to cloud over an otherwise impressive piece of content.

To make sure that nothing distracts from your article, go over it a couple times to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

If you're not an expert when it comes to grammar, or want to double check, you can always have someone on your team give it a once-over, or hire a full-time editor to be part of your content strategy team.

7. Include Images

Visual content can be just as important as what you actually write. Studies show that articles with visuals get 94% more views than articles without -- and across social media networks, it has been proven that visuals increase engagement.

The importance of images cannot be overstated. And creating visuals has never been easier -- with free tools like Canva that put graphic design within reach for any brand. 

Look for ways to include a relevant title image in each article, as well as visuals throughout your articles to break up the text. This will help keep your readers engaged and happy as they read your article.

8. Give It a Boost

owned content -- paid promotionYou most likely house your articles on your website within a blog or other in-house set-up. But what if you want it to reach more of your audience, beyond those who already know you?

A great (and free) way to do this is with social media.

Sometimes, though, regular social sharing isn't enough to reach your target audience.

This is where paid promotion comes in handy. Use platforms where your target audience is already active, and create ads to help your content reach those individuals. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have social ad programs that you can use.

In review...

8 Secrets to Awesome Owned Content (1)

There's no doubt about it -- content is a key part of your B2B PR and owned media strategy. I hope these tips help you jumpstart your content strategy. 

Please let us know in the comments below what you have found to be the most important part of your owned content strategy.

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Jun 27, 2019
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx