In a recent report by Forrester Research called “No Media Stands Alone” media is broken up into three areas:

  1. Earned Media: Editorial influence of your brand, like a blog post which mentions your brand or product.
  2. Paid Media: Usually advertising space that is paid for, such as online banner ads.
  3. Owned media: Described in this study as a corporate website.

Did you catch that? OWNED media. We love this terminology! Your website is a form of media that you own—you have complete control over what it says, where people see it, and how often it is updated. You can (and you should) use your paid media to drive traffic to your owned media. Banner ads, print ads, billboards, radio spots. Your web address should be omnipresent on all.

We also think it is important to point out that social media, which has become a very powerful form of “earned media,” has the greatest potential to also become a form of “owned media,” too. Your company can absolutely leverage the power of social media by engaging in and directing the conversation about your product or service. For this to work, though, you need to be sure you are fully invested in your social media strategy:

  • Do you have the tools to communicate with your audience, and do they know where to find you? Which influential bloggers should you align with? What form of micro blogging are you using—Facebook or Twitter?
  • Are you listening? Do you have an understanding of what is being said about your product or your service—today—at this moment?
  • Are you engaging your audience? Are you ready to address positive and negative comments with equal exuberance?
  • Are you taking the time to generate conversation and ask for their input? Are you leveraging all the tools at your disposal? Are your social sites hooked to your blog? Is your blog prominently placed on your website? Are you using social media tools as part of your website?

Whatever your business, whatever your product, we say OWN it. Own your website and your earned media too. It will take some work, ownership always does.