In such unprecedented times, we’re all looking at our business strategies and learning how to pivot, innovate and retain as much of who we are at the end of the COVID-19 crisis as we did before it, if not attempting to be stronger. With tactility on hold, digital is our pathway to nurture. Now more than ever, it’s time to look at digital holistically and understand how important it is to consistently converge your earned, owned and paid media, as well us appreciate their individual contribution to maintaining your brand identity for the digital audience. Who, right now, might just be your exclusive audience.
Owned media isn’t just a clever title, it is the media that you own and have autonomy over. So it’s not necessarily referring to the media you have literally purchased, although it does include that. It is your website, your social media platforms and platforms like YouTube. These are the spaces where the content, from your About page on your website, through to your blog articles, social posts and videos are all your own doing. You own this.
Paid media is, aptly, the media you pay for. You display ads, your ads on social media and your pay-per-click (PPC) activity all fall under this banner.
Earned media is the media you have least control over, but is arguably your most valuable in terms of return. ‘Word of mouth’ is an incredibly valuable marketing asset. Your digital reviews from customers, professional critics and unpaid influencers are all part of what nurtures future loyal, lifelong advocates, who also happen to be your most prized earned media.
It’s time to bunker down and take stock. What was working pre-COVID-19? Where were you focussing your digital marketing efforts and why was it working? Do you need to pivot to hold strong in this digital heavy consumer environment? Do you need a new strategy that further incorporates a pillar of digital you’d left neglected or stagnant?
If you have not considered ways to use influencer marketing, for example, brainstorm to find legitimate ways to pitch to them. It is better if it’s not paid (earned media) for the purposes of trust and transparency in the delivering of a review, but it is also a perfectly helpful tool to take a sponsored route (paid media) if you’re looking for a faster response time.
Start, continue or bolster your PPC activity. Search is only going to continue to grow and needs requirements along with it. Although PPC might not always show up in terms of direct conversions, it is a relatively inexpensive tool for brand awareness in a time where that is going to be required more than ever to stay top of mind.
Best utilised the reviews you have. Share them on your social media platforms, collate them into blogs, present them on your website. Source and share wherever you can.
Take stock of your messaging. Although consistency has always been important, it’s more so now. People are relying on your digital brand messaging more than even they realise. Use this time to tighten your overall digital strategy across all areas, and create a lifeline that can mean the very survival of your business. We don’t say this to be scaremongers, we say it because it’s the true landscape of the time.
In fact, the beauty of it is, you likely have, at the very least, the bones of what you need to build on, if not more to work with. You can use external platforms or people to help you implement and schedule owned and paid activity, and leverage earned activity. It's not a time to be scared, but a time to expand and succeed through this.
Understanding, polishing and persevering with your digital presence by way of all three paid, earned and owned media is the only way businesses can offer themselves and insurance policy through the most unpredictable of times.