Let’s face it. Marketing your pet brand isn’t exactly a walk in the park. There are a lot of different avenues you can take and a lot of opinions about which way is the best.
This is especially true when it comes to paid, earned and owned media. Some experts come down firmly on the side of paid media while others believe that earned media is the only way to go.
But my 20+ years of experience in pet industry marketing has taught me that nothing is that cut and dried. The truth is that a successful marketing plan requires all three. They each have their place in your strategy; the key is knowing how to most effectively use each one, and when.
Simply put, earned media is any exposure or publicity your brand gains through word of mouth. When your blog post gets shared or someone mentions you on Twitter or a newspaper picks up your press release, that’s earned media. While earned media is often thought of as “free,” it does require resources like an agency or an internal person who has the time and expertise to approach journalists and producers with a case for “free exposure.”
Because it’s organic, this approach is a great way to build brand recognition and trust with your audience. It can also help you get new leads and gain new customers. However, it usually doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen on demand. That’s why earned media is best used as part of a long-term strategy to grow your reputation within the industry.
Owned media is exactly what it sounds like. It’s anything in your marketing toolkit that you own or are in complete control of. This includes your website, your email list and any custom content you create.
Owned media allows you to regularly connect with your audience, which helps create brand loyalty, turn leads into paying customers, and generate sales. While owned media is capable of producing quick results (think promotional emails), it does require ongoing effort on the part of you and/or your staff. It’s not a “do it once and forget it” strategy. Creating content consistently is the key to making owned media work for you.
Both earned and owned media are great at building your brand’s foundation and reputation. Once that’s established, paid media can help you leverage all that hard work and amplify your efforts.
Traditional outlets such as broadcast TV and radio are often thought of as only being available to those who have a big budget. But these days, there are actually many affordable radio and TV opportunities that reach national audiences. In addition, more and more pet industry marketers are taking advantage of digital options like ads on Facebook, promoted Tweets, and working with top-rated influencers like myself. The biggest benefit to paid media, of course, is that it is immediate, and the results are usually easier to track than either earned or owned media.
When it comes to marketing your pet business, there isn’t one right path that leads to success (as nice as that would be!). Using paid, earned and owned media together as part of your overall strategy will help you effectively promote your brand in a way that gets real results.
Remember, I’m always here to help pet-positive brands increase their reach and deepen their connection with pet parents. Click here to learn more about how we can work together.