What Is Owned Media? A Quick Guide to Unlocking Its Potential | Semrush
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What Owned Media Is and How To Master It in 6 Easy Steps


Margarita LoktionovaMay 19, 202312 min read

Owned media includes communication channels and content that you fully control.

Think of it as your online real estate—e.g., your website, blog, and email campaigns.

There are numerous terms to keep track of, including the types of media used to drive traffic and conversions.

Let’s figure out what owned media is and how it differs from earned, shared, and paid media.

What Is Owned Media?

What Is Owned Media?

Owned media is the online content and channels you directly own and manage, such as your website, newsletter, or blog.

It's unique content you've created yourself or in collaboration with external parties.

It is free for you to post and edit on your platforms.

The most common owned media types inc

  • Website pages
  • Blog posts
  • Video content
  • Email campaigns
  • Mail campaigns

Social media content and podcasts can also be considered owned media channels.

Why Do You Need Owned Media?

Why Do You Need Owned Media?

The core advantages of owned media are that you curate the narrative for the content and can share—and reshare—it as you wish.

It also encourages people to follow your brand marketing funnels and convert.

For example, someone could click on a blog you share, decide to book a consulting call, and eventually buy your product/service.

With owned media, you’re creating a platform that can continuously generate traffic and conversions for your business long-term.

For example, this blog post by Mailchimp has been steadily generating organic traffic, bringing over 342k monthly organic visitors in February 2023.

Owned media example from Mailchimp

The company can control this page, too. For example, they add updates to the blog to make sure it ranks high and test various CTAs (calls to action).

So, the page will remain an effective traffic and lead magnet for years to come.

Types of Owned Media Channels

Types of Owned Media Channels

There’s a variety of owned media channels you can choose from.

When selecting what type of owned media works best for your brand, remember to keep your target audience in mind.

You should opt for media formats that will resonate with your customers, generate the most views, and align with your brand story.

Let’s explore the most common and most effective owned media types more in detail.

Websites

Your business website is where you have total freedom to showcase your story, products or services, case studies, and other detailed information.

Your website is also where you publish your blog and gated content (such as ebooks).

In fact, there’s always room for creativity. Your website can feature data storytelling, free tools, and everything in between.

For example, check out this page on Semrush’s website where you can instantly check a website’s traffic:

Website page example from Semrush

You can also create a blog or video content series within your website, as well as run various experiments.

Blogs

Blogs are long-form articles that offer people insights about your industry, findings from your research, or guides to your products.

Blog content can be evergreen, meaning the content is timeless and has been optimized for search engines and search results pages.

For example, this long-form guide is optimized for search engines and has an evergreen topic. It can stay relevant and bring traffic for a long time, as long as it gets updated.

As of May 2023, it generates 4.9k organic views every month:

Owned media - blog content example from Unbounce

Blog articles can also be ad hoc or topical—for example, in response to a recent event.

Lead Generation Content

Another owned media example is leadgen content. Usually, it’s a gated content piece that helps you collect contacts for further nurturing.

Think ebooks, reports, white papers, and so on.

Let’s look at an example.

Semrush’s State of Content Marketing Report is a gated research paper that provides insights into the key trends in the content marketing industry.

Owned media - leadgen content example from Semrush

Such content can be promoted via paid and organic channels, as well as generate earned media for your business.

You can also easily repurpose it into other owned media types such as blogs, videos, and social media posts.

Video Content

YouTube might be considered a shared media channel.

However, you can also publish your video on your website and other channels, making it a great owned media example.

Video content is ideal for helping people understand how to use your products and get to know your brand, and lets you display your creative skills.

Short-form video is especially widespread these days.

For example, a bakery called “Tiny Kitchen Treats” regularly shares short-form videos featuring the baking process, memes, and daily life of the owners.

Owned video content example - Tiny Kitchen Treats

Podcasts

More and more people are listening to podcasts, and many companies have started their own podcasts as a form of owned media.

A podcast allows you to demonstrate your thought leadership and publicize what’s happening in your business via digestible audio.

Starting a podcast could also be a pretty affordable content idea, as you don’t necessarily need much of a budget to launch and manage it.

For example, “The Unconventionalists” is a podcast by Mark Leruste, the founder of The Unconventionalists, a coaching and training company.

His podcast features interviews with people who have followed unconventional paths to success.

Podcast content example - The Unconventionalists

Email Lists

Any content that people sign up to receive via email from your company is owned media.

These email lists are great for telling customers about special offers, company updates, new features or services, and asking for feedback about their experiences.

Newsletters, surveys, and interactive content are popular content formats for email lists.

Let’s look at an example.

Henneke Duistermaat, the founder of Enchanting Marketing, has a regular newsletter where she shares valuable thoughts and tips while also promoting her business offerings.

Email newsletter example

Mail Lists

It’s easy in the digital age to forget that physical mail is still part of your marketing channels.

Physical mailing lists (sometimes called “direct mail marketing”) can connect your company to customers offline and boost other forms of marketing like word of mouth.

Leaflets, letters, postcards, and catalogs are all good content for mail lists.

This tactic has been increasingly used in the past couple of years, especially by B2B companies.

Social Media

Social media can also be classified as a shared media channel. However, you still have significant ownership over content published on those platforms.

Social sharing can facilitate trust and transparency with your customers, as well as educate and entertain them.

Via social media, you can share photos, videos, and podcasts, and answer your customers’ questions.

Owned Media vs. Paid Media

Owned Media vs. Paid Media

Paid media is when you pay to put your content in front of an audience, usually in the form of sponsored content or an ad; for example, a display ad on a third-party site or a sponsored article.

It’s an attractive option for brands that want exposure outside of their current audience. However, it requires an investment—and its impact is usually limited in time.

There are times you could also use paid media to promote your owned media assets.

For instance, this sponsored article on Content Marketing Institute’s website promotes Semrush’s “State of Content Marketing” report—an owned, gated piece of content.

Sponsored content example from Semrush
Owned Media vs. Earned Media

Owned Media vs. Earned Media

Earned media is when you gain publicity for your business without paying for it.

Having a story published in the news or a magazine about your latest product launch is a good example of earned media.

For instance, Nike’s new shoes received a product review published on Hypebeast, a streetwear and contemporary lifestyle magazine:

Earned media example, Nike

Earned media can also be referred to as “organic media” because third parties publish content about your company without being prompted.

Your brand would have little or no control over such content. But, it’s a great way to reach new audiences for free.

Oftentimes, owned media can lead to earned media. For example, a research paper you published can be shared by journalists and influencers.

Remember that your distribution strategy should include all other media channels in order to be effective.

Owned Media vs. Shared Media

Owned Media vs. Shared Media

Shared media is the content that you post across your social media channels.

For instance, anything you publish about your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and other platforms is shared media.

Shared media is an important part of every content strategy. At the same time, it’s a short-lived channel and requires you to frequently publish new content.

How To Build an Owned Media Strategy in 6 Steps

How To Build an Owned Media Strategy in 6 Steps

Now you know exactly what owned media is and what it can look like.

But how do you go about putting it into action?

Start with these crucial steps and you’ll have a springboard to success for both your owned media and a broader marketing mix strategy.

1. Define Your Owned Media Goals

Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound) desired outcomes for your owned media.

Without defining your objectives, you might end up creating content for the sake of content.

However, what you want is to have a clear direction and an impact that can be easily assessed.

An example of a SMART-owned media goal is:

“We want these product marketing blog posts shared weekly on our social media and via newsletters to double traffic to our product landing pages by the end of the quarter.”

2. Pinpoint Your Target Audience

Any content you create should address a specific buyer persona. This is the best way to ensure your owned media generates the desired results.

Owned media encompasses a number of platforms and spaces. Selecting one media type over another will depend on who you are trying to reach.

For example, say you want to tell your Gen Z users about an upcoming apparel sale. In this case, physical mail or a white paper wouldn’t be the most fitting choice.

Research your audience and find out which channels and platforms they prefer. Then, come up with a list of owned media channels you’d like to cover.

3. Look at Your Competitors’ Owned Media Content

It never hurts to look at what your competitors are doing.

Make a list of your top competitors and then track what content they’re posting on their controlled platforms.

Analyze where, when, and what kind of engagement it receives.

You can do this manually based on likes and comments, or use various competitive analysis tools.

For instance, using Semrush’s Organic Research tool, you can see which pages bring the most traffic for your competitors.

Semrush's Organic Research tool

Based on your findings, you can make safe assumptions about what resonates with people.

4. Find Ideas and Create Your Content

There are multiple ways you can find effective ideas for your owned media content.

For instance, you can tap into your research insights, analyze questions your customers ask via direct feedback forms, and talk with your customer-facing teams.

You can also analyze social media and forums like Reddit and Quora.

Using keyword and topic research tools can also prove effective for finding data-driven ideas.

Alternatively, AI content tools like ContentShake AI can help you quickly find personalized content ideas for your business.

Simply enter details about your business and get topic suggestions.

Then, the tool will instantly generate SEO-friendly content that you can publish directly to your blog.

Create ready-to-rank content in one click!

Try ContentShake AI-a smart writing tool for small teams with big content marketing goals. Save time, see results.

Creating your owned media content is the next important step.

This is the juicy part of the process and will most likely require the most time and attention.

The content you share has to provide value to your customers, and it has to be optimized for where you’re sharing it.

5. Analyze Your Performance Metrics

Keeping a close eye on your metrics is essential to your owned media strategy, as it will tell you what’s working and what isn’t.

Whenever reviewing your metrics, you should have your overarching SMART goals in mind.

However, it’s also important to look at how each individual piece of content performs and keep track of the so-called vanity metrics.

For instance, you might want to measure traffic and on-page engagement on your blog posts.

Make sure to continuously assess your owned media performance.

By looking at the whole picture—not just the snapshot—you can make more constructive, long-term changes to your strategy.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Owned media not only requires minimal expense but also provides big returns.

This makes it a smart form of digital marketing for savvy entrepreneurs and marketers.

Every business needs to be executing a well-thought-out owned media strategy to cut through the crowd and be seen by the right people, at the right time.

Think of owned media as an extension of your products and services.

It is, after all, your own—and it should be treated with the same pride and potential as anything else with your company name on it.

Create ready-to-rank content in one click!

Try ContentShake AI-a smart writing tool for small teams with big content marketing goals. Save time, see results.