Tag Archive: Websites

Life used to be so easy.

There was Paid Media = Advertising.

There was Earned Media = Public Relations.

And there were the legacy media gatekeepers: Newspapers, Radio and Television.

That’s how the world appeared to communications pros way back in the 1980s.

One employed earned media and/or paid media to deal with or get past the analog media deciders to reach target audiences.

There was B2B. And B2C. And even B2G.

Simple?  Oh, so simple.

As we all know, 20th Century Web 1.0 (websites) and 21st Century Web 2.0 (convergence of social, mobile and cloud) have thrown everything into a tizzy. And some are even talking about Web 3.0 or semantic web. We will leave that for another installment of Almost DailyBrett.


And now we can add Owned Media to the mix as well.

The neighborhood property values will never be the same.

What the heck is “Owned” Media?

One can spend money to place ads into legacy and/or digital native media: Paid Media.

Or one can choreograph public relations campaigns, hopefully garnering always in-demand third-party validation by means of effective interaction with analog and digital gatekeepers wherever they may be: Earned Media.

(Some used to call this category “Free” media. Practitioners know through painful experience there is absolutely nothing “free” when it comes to media relations).

As the influence of legacy media gatekeepers subsides and the flack-to-media ratio (presently 3.6-to-1) grows more lopsided, more-and-more public relations pros, marketeers and investor relations practitioners are embracing Owned media. These are media channels directly (for the most part) under the control of corporations, governmental agencies, non-profits, NGOs or anyone with a product to sell, a candidate to elect or an idea to spread.


Before Almost DailyBrett goes any further, at least partial credit needs to be directed to Advertising & IMC: Principles & Practice, 10th edition by Moriarty, Mitchell and Wells for its role in defining this growing-in-importance owned media category. “Owned media: Media channels controlled by the organization and that are used to carry branded content.”

And just like advertising and public relations, owned media is experiencing the full impact of digital communications revolution, and maybe even more than its siblings, paid and earned media.

Natural Reaction to Growing Paid Media and Earned Media Issues?

Advertising pros are confronted with the dilemma associated with just too much clutter, legacy media declining in importance and influence, and digital native media still undergoing growing pains.

PR, marketing and investor relations practitioners are dealing with the remaining legacy media reporters, editors, correspondents and analysts, who are wondering just how much longer their jobs are going to last. In any event, they are overwhelmed with PR folks pitching them self-serving story ideas.

The digital news aggregators are starting to make a mark for themselves as the Huffington Post drew approximately 85 million worldwide unique monthly desktop visitors this past March, up from about 65 million the previous March. BuzzFeed virtually doubled its online readership from nearly 21 million in March 2013 to 45 million two months ago. Business Insider recorded a gain of 15 million to 17 million in the same time period.

Some of these news aggregators will succeed, famously capitalizing on their first-mover advantage. Others will not. For PR types, they present a new avenue to gain the vaunted third-party acceptance.

Has “disruptive” digital  communications technologies (e.g., Web 1.0 and Web 2.0) changed the rules of the game for paid and earned media pros? Absolutely, but maybe not as much as for owned media. When one contemplates owned media, there is a seemingly unending string of digital ones-and zeroes.

Examples of Owned Media Channels

So what are these owned media news channels — in many cases digital self-publishing – that are allowing us to bypass the legacy and digital native gatekeepers and giving pause to making more advertising expenditures? Here are some examples:

● The organizational website. Websites seem so yesterday and yet they are the digital point-of-entry to the company, non-profit, governmental, agency and political brands. They reflect the basic messages, mission statements, raison d’etre, the look-and-feel of the brand through the careful use of art, fonts, navigation and style. And now they increasingly feature audio and video, and they invite two-way symmetrical communications.

● The 100-million digital essayists (including this one) who compose blogs on a daily basis. Obviously some are more important than others. Companies over the years have become less reticent to the idea of their employees blogging, and with proper controls they are assisting in the promotion of the brand.


● The corporate intranet is now providing for true two-way symmetrical communication between management and rank-and-file employees. For example, Southwest Airlines debuted in 2010 SWALife, a truly interactive portal allowing employees to directly engage in a companywide conversation.

● Social media sites including Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and LinkedIn accounts are at least being regularly monitored (or they should be) and being hosted to create a “buzz” as it applies to the organization.

● YouTube videos and Flickr photo pages are spreading the corporate brand, sometimes on a viral basis, which can be accessed with a few clicks on the mobile device or remaining laptops.

Yep, we have moved from B2B, B2G, B2C to B2C2C with brands rising and falling via word of mouth…the best advertising of all. And guiding these conversations or at least influencing them are organizational owned media.

Owned media is just another example of how our world has changed, digitally and permanently. And it may be the best response to digital communications angst.







Pressing Business?

Why can’t the PR community break its addiction to the word, “Press”?

Barely a nanosecond goes by in which one or another public relations practitioner preaches about the power of social media, which is uploaded copy via a series of ones and zeroes or digital technology. And these same evangelists in the next breath also lament about the astounding decline of traditional media, particularly newspapers as evidenced by the recent deaths of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Seattle Post Intelligencer.  Certainly there will be more newspaper burials in the coming months and years.

If electronic media is expanding with the widespread acceptance of digital radio and high-definition television, and the advent of Twitter, LinkedIn.com, Facebook, blogging, podcasting, webcasting etc., then why are we refusing to let go of the word, “Press”? Why should we care? It’s just a simple five-letter, one-syllable word. Right?

The reason is the word “Press” harkens back to Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press in 1450, not the digital age of the 21st Century.  The Oxford English Dictionary refers to the word in its noun form as “the art or practice of printing.” Let’s face it, the word “Press” is an anachronism that points to a distant past, not to the future.

A casual survey of 20 major corporation websites, even some companies that strive to be at the top of the coolness scale, reveals a slavish devotion to the words, “Press Room,” “Press Kits” and of course, “Press Releases.” Here’s a novel thought for consideration: “Media,” “Media Room,” “Media Kits,” “News Releases,” and “News Conferences.” The beauty of these latter words is they cover the old (pencil press) and the new (digital radio, high-definition television and social media).

What is surprising is that some of the older companies in terms of age, not mindset, have banished the word “Press” from their websites. Wells Fargo www.wellsfargo.com refers to “News Releases” and provides the media with a “News Room.” Oh by the way, the Stage Coach company was founded in 1852. Another example is Texas Instruments, which was founded in 1951 in its present form www.ti.com. TI references its “News Center” and “News Room” and offers journalists access to “Media Contacts.”

Another refreshing banishment of the word “Press” is employed by online auctioneer, eBay www.ebay.com, which provides a “News Room” with “Recent Stories” and archives its “In the News” and provides reporters with “Media Contacts.”

Even though I cannot make this statement with impunity, there appears to be no mistake that the word “Press” is nowhere to be found on the websites of Wells Fargo, Texas Instruments and eBay. These companies get it and they want to show the world in the way they speak that they have embraced 21st Century realities. Press is dead.

Alas, the following companies (not an exhaustive list by any means) all use the word “Press” one way or another and in some cases everywhere on their respective websites: Apple, AMD, Charles Schwab, Chevron, Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, LSI,  Microsoft, Nike, Oracle, Pfizer, Salesforce.com, Starbucks, Visa and even . . . Google.

Some will wonder whether we are making a mountain out of a molehill in this discussion. After all isn’t “Press” just another word to describe the “Media?” Try that one out on to a member of the traditional electronic media — radio and television — and see how enamored they are with the word. It is doubtful that bloggers, who are gaining greater influence with each passing day, would accept being described as “Press.”

Let’s make it our resolution for 2010 and the second decade of the 21st Century and give the 14th Century word, “Press,” a decent and proper burial, particularly from corporate, non-profit, educational and government websites. It’s not just time, it’s past time to attend to this Pressing Business.

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