Marketers are exceptional at messaging during campaigns. They start with owned media channels (brand websites, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, etc.), amplify with paid media, and then drive towards earned media engagement. But there is still that time in between marketing campaigns where a rich vein of untapped opportunity exists for a brand. Think of owned media as a content network -- a TV network, if you will -- where the audience is always ready to consume content if the value proposition is there.
Let’s suppose that a brand has a YouTube channel populated with some fun commercials and other noncommercial content. Add to this a sizable Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a few Web sites. These assets are still regularly attracting viewers, even after a campaign has ended, but the brand is now in reactionary, community management mode . There is still an audience coming in that does not care that the brand is in between campaigns; they are expecting content.
The challenge is that originating content is resource intensive and limited to addressing campaign goals. The solution is this: Marketers need to employ co-created and curated content to fill in the gaps. A smart brand will look for aspiring web TV creators who produce content that aligns with their marketing messaging. They can then make a deal as follows: the content creator will still distribute their show on their own channels (YouTube, blip.tv, etc.) so that he gets credit for his video views. But the marketer will curate that content for their brand’s owned media channels, providing consistent content for its regularly visiting audience and building off of the content creator’s audience as well. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.
Let’s take the TV network analogy one step further. Think of the curated content as being piloted in between campaigns. The brand gets a chance to see how their audience will react to the content and how they will engage with it – if they will like it, if they will share it. And once marketing dollars do open up for a new campaign, successfully piloted content can be greenlit - the brand and the web series creator can now co-create new content. Because the marketer has a better idea of what to expect from the creator and the audience, a lot of the risk that brands fear when deciding on a new campaign has been removed. Another win for all parties.
Lastly, when the brand does decide to create original content (as a part of a new campaign), they can turn to the content creators that they’ve already partnered with -- in this analogy, their network show -- to help distribute and promote the new original content to their own audiences in a meaningful way.
Owned media is the key to transforming brand into publisher. The relationship that a brand has with its audience can truly move from sporadic yelling to an always-on value exchange. Content will pave the way.