Paid, Owned, Earned

It’s very clear to me that the majority of small and medium businesses, including estate agents, really don’t have much more than the most basic understanding of highly effective marketing and many are stuck in past thinking and practices that centre around broadcast and print media in particular. But the world hasn’t just moved on, it’s unrecognisable from a decade ago, some might say even from last year and whilst we can debate whether video really did kill the radio star there can be no such argument that the web has seen off all but a handful of print media.

So, at our Summit Group meeting last week, I asked Ken McEwan, CEO of McEwan Fraser Legal, Scotland’s number one estate agency, to share how his incredible business model works and he ended up giving us a masterclass in digital marketing and I’m going to share one of his key messages with you.

Media needs to be seen under three headings: Paid, Owned and Earned.

In simple terms it’s everything you pay for to promote your business, products and services including: Portals, PPC, SEO,  Promoted/Sponsored posts on Social, all Advertising, Direct Mail – all the things you’ve spent money on to drive prospects to your “Owned” properties and media.

This is your brand properties including your web site, branches (which some EAs now call “high street billboards”), your facebook, twitter and other social sites, boards, magazines, brochures – all the mediums you can entirely control.

Earned media is the most valuable, costs nothing or very little money and yet is not in your full control and is the hardest to acquire. It’s basically your customers spreading the love of your brand by word of mouth, retweets, likes, shares, comments, reviews, and also things like google ratings and links.

Now the clever businesses convert from one to another – they pay for and create a brilliant video that is published in paid for media, this is then shown on their owned sites and is liked, shared and commented on positively by customers. And that’s how you should be thinking about all your marketing – how can we get our customers to provide free, “earned” media, for us? And whilst it’s never guaranteed that it will work when it does the results can be extraordinary such as this example by John Lewis which, at time of writing, had 25,144,595 “free” views on youtube and according to video analytics firm unruly had 1,949,387 shares.

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