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Rather like snog, marry or avoid, you can’t read a marketing magazine without seeing ‘earned, owned and paid’, the new mantra of content strategy proving a gamechanger when it comes to companies SEO rankings.
What’s perhaps even more surprising is the return of Public Relations (PR) in the marketing mix as a vital component to get your business on the front page of search engines and therefore on the front foot.
It’s digital PR rather than print media that’s the focus of the comeback and has seen the sector boom as PR revenue is predicted to grow by £4.3 billion globally in just five years.
Put simply, digital PR campaigns are the way to generate powerful third-party backlinks and turbocharge your SEO, vital to the new semantic approach to SEO.
So why is ‘earned, owned and paid’ gathering so much traction as a strategy? The answer is the ever-changing Google algorithm and the ingenious ways that marketing gurus are developing to win in SEO.
There is no simple action or answer anymore. Keyword strategies can no longer work in isolation and instead how these three pillars interact is now considered the secret to making companies an SEO winner or loser.
Definitions may vary slightly but in essence they are:
Earned is the hub of the new marketing trinity because it is the ‘earned’ content that Google uses to see how important your content is and therefore whether it should be prioritising your business when it is serving browsers pages. This is where the digital PR renaissance comes to the fore, as a crucial part of that decision-making will be governed by how many articles and other content Google can find online about your business. Social media likes and shares, are also part of the earned content strategy, but it is digital PR that is in the driving seat.
Owned media is basically any content that your business owns, so it’s content on your website, social media platforms etc.
Paid for, is again how it sounds. At its essence media buying but now a complex mix of social media paid for posts to payment for clicks and of course traditional advertising routes such as TV campaigns.
Pitch perfect digital PR
Digital PR is seen as the centre of the triumvirate and one that will not only help companies rank higher, but also brings a wealth of other benefits to brands.
But it’s not easy. One of the companies taking the reins is leading Manchester Digital PR agency Dark Horse who say relevancy is key when pitching your content to publications to secure coverage and backlinks from high domain referring websites to boost SEO.
By using digital PR in SEO, companies can maximise the use of keyword research. The aim is identifying and including relevant keywords in content that ensures it is fully optimized and contributes to SEO goals and within the piece, linking to any key-target pages to improve rankings.
But no publication is going to print an advert for free, so the skill comes in pitching stories and ideas that excite the media and gets the coverage both parties want through making content relevant and engaging for readers.
Quality is at the heart of any hard-working digital PR campaign as one high domain referring or industry specific media domain authority link, compared to several low DA sites with little authority, can seriously impact your SEO efforts.
How to make the three channels work
The ‘earned, owned and paid’ ethos can seem overwhelming, adding further layers to already complicated marketing and business strategies.
As always, the starting point should be with planning, setting your goals and objectives and importantly, budgets.
ROI has never been more important and as we all know, when money is tight many companies choose between fight or flight, either battening down the hatches and cutting spend or marketing their way out of crisis.
There are tools available that you can look to help make those decisions on ROI and the best options in a world of ever-increasing choices, especially for the ‘paid’ pillar.
There are also many strategies to help business translate Google’s needs, the four ‘Vs’ is one of them and is a rule that big data should be used within SEO and content strategies.
The 4 V’s in big data for digital marketing
Volume is as it sounds about creating constant content so basically Google knows your business exists. Velocity is the speed your business can give information to Google so they can serve your information quickly to browsers.
Variety is not just the spice of life but also Google’s cup of tea, so you need different forms of content, from blogs to videos.
And perhaps the final and most complex V is veracity. It is how your content is consumed and the appetite or desire of the consumer to digest it. This gives Google the information it needs to put a value on your content, again impacting on how it will rank your business.
Implementing the four ‘Vs’ across your earned, owned and paid content will help propel your business in the rankings.
How to measure success
Get the fundamentals right by monitoring your SEO in real time so you can see where you are ranking and what is working for your business.
There are many dashboard tools that let you see how your content is performing measuring through clicks, reach, impressions etc and where you need to put in extra work or resources.
A word of caution though as it will take time for a revised SEO strategy to impact as your company builds it content. Experts recommend allowing three months to see real change.
There are other ways to measure success (and more expensive ones) but one of the beauties of the digital marketing world is that data is literally at your fingertips.
However you measure, it’s important to acknowledge ‘earned, owned and paid’ are not just buzzwords but something that business needs to adopt to bring their SEO up to speed.
An outdated ‘keyword’ approach simply won’t work.