June 24, 2023

How to utilise earned and owned media for your startup in 2021

Beverley Griffiths

It’s nearly 2021, so firstly we want to wish everyone a very happy new year, even if you’re at home on the sofa. Since we’re all still a little isolated there’s plenty of time to do some light reading! And so to kick off the new year we want to provide you with some ideas on how to utilise owned and earned media for your startup.

Owned media is anything that your startup can control and is unique to your company. Such as your website, blog or social media channels.

As a startup, saving costs is always a top priority and therefore, owned media is your salvation when it comes to digital marketing.

It can be costly to create your website when you first start your venture, due to the need for web developers (unless you have the skills yourself). The other alternative is to use website/ platform builders like Systemflow, Squarespace or Wix, which might provide less customisability in the long run, however you have plenty of choice to get started. Either way, your owned media is an essential cost, however, there is little point in creating a website to sell your startup if you don’t implement SEO and PPC strategies to market your platform, which will ultimately contribute to earned media.

Earned media is achieved when you create content that is shared or talked about. It is particularly important as statistics reflect that 85% of consumers regularly or occasionally seek trusted expert content when considering a purchase.

The diagram below provides a clear outline of paid, owned and earned media and ways in which you can use these in marketing your startup. Whilst it is important not to neglect the option of paid media, we are focusing on ways for you to enhance your owned and earned media due to it being the best option for limited budgets.

See also  3 ways to optimise your digital video strategy to connect with the right customers


Yes, we’ve mentioned SEO before in previous blog posts. But, it’s essential to ensure that your company appears in all the right places and for the right people (your clients and/or customers).

The most common approach to SEO is a blog on your website, writing content with keywords relevant to your startup that future clients or potential customers might search for. You can also guest blog and have articles on other high ranking sites link to yours. We’re writing for startups because that’s what we specialise in, advertising for startups. Maybe that’s even how you stumbled upon this blog post!

SEO can also be implemented on social channels and on your website. Using earned media initiatives such as encouraging comments on your posts, also increases the likelihood of your startup appearing to more people. Not only that, it builds upon relationships with clients and consumers.

Social media

A social media presence has been vital since the dawn of the 21st century. The COVID pandemic has only accelerated the use of digital platforms and given people more time than ever to scroll endlessly through social channels, discovering new, and a lot of the time, unnecessary, content.

However, you can use this to your advantage. Social media is just an SEO practice for businesses, really. It allows you to harness owned media efforts, showing your consumers what you want them to see, as well as encouraging earned media initiatives like the use of hashtags. It is important to share and engage with others and their content to build relationships and help facilitate the use of future earned media efforts.

See also  Part 1: How to increase your proposal wins with behavioural and design science

Journalists and influencers

Another important consideration is the use of journalists and influencers. Reaching out to journalists and influencers and encouraging them to write about, and share, their experience with your startup, is a great way to reach more clients or customers. As stated, 85% of consumers are influenced by expert content, but also, 67% of consumers agree an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing.

Although the term ‘unbiased’ is complex in this scenario, as influencers are usually persuaded to share your company if they are compensated for in some way; they still carry a lot of influence to their loyal fanbase.

Whilst it can be frustrating finding contact details to reach out to journalists and influencers, there are sources like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) which are perfect for sharing your startup and encouraging reporters to write about it.

In summary

Whilst all of these earned and owned media initiatives appear simple, they do not work unless you have a solid understanding of your target audience and brand identity.

Something we find useful, here at Sidekick Studios, is using SMART objectives when creating marketing strategies. It is incredibly important to ask yourself what your objectives are and what you are trying to achieve. Is it reaching out to new clients? Is it building loyalty amongst existing clients? Whichever it is, a tailored, SMART strategy ensures effectiveness.

If you need any help with your owned and earned marketing strategies, please get in touch!

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