Alliteration, rhyme, rhythm and symbolism are but a few of the terms attached to understanding poetry. We can borrow the end result of the careful synthesis of these words – a P.O.E.M. – as a mnemonic to help us understand the critical components that should be part of your online media mix.
These components are P – Paid, O – Owned and E – Earned Media. Each of these requires your business to commit resources to developing a strategy and implementing tactics to effectively maximize the value of your online media activities. If you don’t participate in framing the O and E component of your media mix, than for better or worse, your customers and competitors will be defining your business for you. Part of the reason for this change is that online media is no longer a question of a business being the content creator and customers being the content consumer. As a 2009 article in the IBM Institute for Business Value stated:
“Consumers can no longer be considered ‘the audience’ – they are simultaneously readers, editors and marketers, especially the younger demographics.”
Let’s look at deconstructing your P.O.E.M. - Paid, Owned and Earned Media individually and explore how they fit in your business communications and customer engagement strategies.
“Paid” Media is the easiest to understand because it is primarily a re-branding of advertising in the online era. This component of your online media mix includes any placements and sponsorships that your organization pays for using a wide range of new and traditional mediums including online publications, search engines or social media services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube. Among the “paid” opportunities for your business are to purchase display ads on traditional media sites or to purchase keyword phrases at search engines like Google or Bing. On popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace there are advertising opportunities to purchase micro endorsements through sponsored messages with services like Adly, Izea, MyLikes or Sponsored Tweets. Twitter itself is seeking to monetize their large number of users with advertising options including – promoted tweets, promoted trends or promoted accounts. Meanwhile Facebook offers advertisers an opportunity for the purchase of Facebook ads targeting a defined segment of their over 500 million users. For the business-to-business sector, LinkedIn isn’t far behind with their Direct Ads offering “highly targeted text ads” to reach your key target audiences.
Beyond the Paid of the P.O.E.M. are Owned and Earned Media. For the Owned category, your online media could be fully owned or partially owned. We partially own our corporate Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to the extent that they are open venues for moderated comments, feedback and dialogue from our market. We fully own other online media like our website, online whitepapers, online research reports, online web seminars and blogs; with the exception of the open dialogue option, should we allow comments and feedback on these valuable content assets. As part of our online media strategy we need to make sure that we are fully using our “Owned” Media to facilitate customer acquisition, customer purchases, customer service, employee acquisition, employee retention and market and industry relationships.
Meanwhile “Earned” Media can be our most valuable media, albeit our least controllable. This is the media that is generated by our advocates and detractors. This can be spurned (negative earned media) or positive earned media. When customers, prospects and others in the open market of online dialogue comment about our products, services, company, prices, staff, business philosophy or any other facet of our business we are generating “earned media” that it behooves us to monitor with social media monitoring tools. As the sentiment turns from green to red, we can seek through our interactive dialogue, customer engagement and responsiveness to the market re-gain our positive earned media status given the right actions on our part. Without attention to your “Earned” Media, you could find that you’re missing an opportunity to learn how to improve your business, generate new business, capture new customers, develop new products and services and engage with the opinion leaders framing the messages about your company and industry.
By carefully developing your strategic and tactical P.O.E.M. your business will be well on its way to creating the environment to connect with prospects, customers and your markets in a positive and proactive fashion.
For more on the latest tips, techniques and resources on e-business and marketing you can follow me on Twitter @thewebchef.