Join Our Mailing List



Are You Doing Enough To Grow Your Audience?

By Amy Graver | Elements, Principal & Creative Director | SMPS CT Member


To gain the full potential of the new media landscape, you must actively engage in all three media types: earned, rented and owned.

— Amy Graver

We are in the age of micromedia. This means it doesn’t take us more than a split second to decide to either engage or to change channels, keep scrolling, swipe left or close a tab. Having so many choices means
we expect more from those select few we seek out and choose to follow. But, it only takes one too many self-promotional posts, off-targeted tweets, or “all about me” messages to lose our attention forever.
The challenge isn’t getting our attention—it’s keeping it.

Here are the three types of media you need to be actively engaged with:

  1. Earned Media

Earned media is when you receive exposure on someone else’s platform—earning your way to be in front
of their audience. It is extremely difficult to gain earned media because you are at the mercy of the gatekeepers (the people who own the platform and decide who gets in and who doesn’t) and they are
not easy to get past.

Examples of earned media are speaking engagements, television appearances, events, press release mentions, an opinion post that is picked up by media sources, something you post goes viral, a great
review on something you did (art exhibit, book you wrote, etc.) or any other media exposure in general.

  1. Rented Media

Rented media, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, allows us to have a presence on their platform, but make
no mistake, we do not own our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google, Pinterest or other rented media platforms; we are borrowing space on that company’s platform. At any moment, any social media
platform can change the rules or algorithm and limit your exposure or shut you down completely.

Think of rented media as a way to reach a much larger audience than we could reach on our own and a means to interact and engage with them—the goal being to keep their attention on you and to discover creative ways to lead them to your own stage. Examples of rented media are any social media channels
or advertising spaces.

  1. Owned Media

Owned media is the space you own on the internet that is completely yours and in your control, such as your website, blog or vlog, email list or podcast. Growing this audience is the key to mastering your online efforts because it is your stage to get out your messages that will benefit your audience—and you—directly.

Each type of media (earned, rented and owned) builds upon one another. To have a fully integrated, effective online strategy, it is critical for you to use all three.

All three types of media complement one another and, when used skillfully together, are greater than
the sum of their parts. Keep in mind that as a general rule, your goal is to lead people from earned and rented media to your owned media.


Building Your Audience

The strategy you should adapt is one where you are creating a compelling call-to-action (CTA) that will continuously move people from earned and rented media to your owned space—your website, blog, vlog, podcast, etc. 

These days, we are all short on time and attention spans, so you need to give something of real value to
your audience, such as sharing your expertise, insider industry knowledge, entertainment or share something helpful they could put to use.

The first step is to create a solid researched strategy and decide how your time is best spent. You should
get clear on what your goals are or you will be spending wasted time in areas that will not provide the best return on your investment. Next, answer the question of which social media channels are be the best place to reach your audience to gain and keep their attention.

Once you have your strategy, time investment and platforms nailed down, you need to work on content. Write, research, take pictures, share information and create posts that will give people a reason to engage and return again and again.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating compelling content to lead your audience to your owned media:

  • Does it clearly convey the value you are offering?
  • What is your prospective client gaining that is valuable? Have a clear CTA that leads them to your website to obtain a free value item. Some ideas are a video, free assessment, quiz, access to a photo gallery, a download, discount or other industry information of value to them;
  • If you are able to create emotionally engaging content, fans will share it, post about it, comment on it and thereby start engaging and paying attention to you;
  • Have an opinion;
  • Never lead with a sales pitch; creating value and generously giving away expertise will create a connection with your audience, however, selling to people over and over will drive them away, possibly for good. Focus instead on informing, entertaining, inspiring and being authentic;
  • Post consistent content;
  • Give yourself some time when you first start becoming active for people to seek you out and discover you. Monitor over time to ensure that your audience is growing. If it isn’t, it could be the platform you’re on or the content you are providing—take a hard look at each and adjust accordingly;
  • Make your headline memorable.


 Final Words of Advice

Don’t allow the fast-paced world of micromedia push you into rushing your written, spoken, visual or the design of your communications in a way that presents you as is anything less than professional, accurate and engaging. Taking a little extra time to ensure your message looks great and communicates perfectly is time well spent.

To summarize:

  1. Start with a researched strategic social media plan;
  2. Decide your time investment upfront and your dedication to each channel that you feel is best
    for reaching your audience;
  3. Put together a weekly / monthly / quarterly content schedule;
  4. Create engaging content;
  5. Monitor for responses and results over time;
  6. Engage daily and reply immediately with your audience;
  7. Adjust strategy, platforms, time commitment or content / topics as needed.

We look forward reading, watching, learning and being inspired by your content!

— Amy Graver | Elements, Principal & Creative Director

Return to list


    Leave a Comment