There are four types of media in the world of public relations: paid, earned, shared and owned. Owned media is anything directly controlled by an organization, including but not limited to their website, newsletters, white papers, blogs and creative materials. While this is content that organizations develop for external promotion to some extent, there are ways you can look at it with an earned media lens to make the content work for you in more ways than one. You can even develop owned content specifically with the goal of securing media coverage. Later, this content can be shared on your own channels. Both options allow organizations to get additional impact out of content being created.
Developing a strategy to best utilize or develop owned content is key to reaching your earned media goals. Here are three tips to keep in mind as you create your owned content plan.
Guest Articles and Op-Eds
Guest articles and op-eds are great tools to pitch media your own narrative and can show your expertise as a thought leader in your industry. These articles are written on a certain topic or defending a specific opinion that help highlight your organization’s authority and provide value to the reader. As the media landscape continues to shift and newsrooms have smaller and smaller editorial staff, some outlets welcome the chance to include guest articles and op-eds to bolster their content. Always keep in mind how this information can benefit your audience and stay away from being too promotional. Outlets that accept this type of content will help you reach a wider audience than you could from your website and social channels alone.
If you are looking for a surefire way to secure a spot for your article, consider pay-for-play opportunities with fee-based sponsorships. Many national business outlets or local business journals have sponsorship options available. While this is not purely owned, it can help boost your profile to the media and earn you a place as a thought leader. Check out our work with First Choice Health as a prime example of how guest articles can earn you national media placements.
White Papers and Reports
White papers fall into a gray area between self-promotion and education and can be used in a wide variety of ways to garner media attention. A well-crafted white paper that contains a wealth of vetted data and information is a crucial resource for creating other PR tools. This data can be used in press releases, media alerts, thought leadership articles and more. Reporters are always looking for data-driven stories, and this provides an opportunity to play into that. White paper results are often presented at industry conferences and meetings, providing another opportunity to connect with media and boost your reach to new audiences. Adding these white papers and key takeaways to your website can also help boost SEO, more on that below. One of our family foundation clients developed a white paper on impact investing that we leveraged for media including securing interviews in outlets like Forbes and The Nonprofit Times, and complementing its roll-out with a guest article series.
Focus on SEO
You can use the content posted on your website to help increase your search engine results. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your brand more visible on Google and other search engines so when people are seeking out information, products or services your organization appears higher in the results. The more visible your organization appears in the results, the better. Using certain keywords throughout content such as in website page headers and blog posts, can increase organic traffic to your website. Think about what people interested in your industry may be searching for and try to tailor language on your website to those phrases. The trick is making it appear natural. On your website you have full control over what is said and how it appears. The knowledge you share on your website helps your audience, including the media, see you as an organization that is relevant within your industry. SEO is always top of mind as we update or develop new websites for clients or create content. Recently, Fearey refreshed its own website and has been looking for ways to improve its SEO. This includes ensuring the website is fast and passes industry standards for performance and structure because Google and other search engines want to deliver the best websites to users. Additionally, we have made sure the website is mobile friendly and passes industry standards for mobile speed.
Above all else, the key is always examining how you can use content and experts you already have at your disposable to drive success with earned media.