What’s “Owned Media” – and Why Should Your Jewelry Brand Care?

Most jewelry brands today are so focused on perfecting their Instagram profiles that they forget about some other forms of content marketing that can help them attract the best-fit customers in a natural way, without having to shout over the noise of an overcrowded Instagram feed.

The main trouble with Instagram is that it’s owned by Facebook, so any time you post on Instagram, you’re borrowing Facebook’s platform to reach your customers. As a result, you’re completely at the mercy of Facebook and any changes they decide to make to the platform.

As someone who’s used Instagram for both personal and professional reasons since its early years, I have seen first hand how much it’s changed over time. In the past, it was fairly easy to earn a following, if you put in the time to engage with other users, selected the right hashtags, posted at the right time, and took compelling photos.

Your feed would fill with photos chronologically, as they were posted – because the idea of Instagram was that you could see moments of other people’s lives instantly, as they were unfolding. In fact, I remember someone criticizing me once for posting a photo I had taken days before because the person believed I was misleading my followers and contradicting the spirit of the app.

Today, Instagram works much differently. Photos no longer appear chronologically. Instead, they’re “served” to users based on a complex algorithm. Furthermore, nearly everything is highly edited and pre-planned, and photos are rarely “instant”. They’ve been curated, staged, etc.

For all we know, tomorrow Instagram could make more changes and updates that affect your brand and what you must do to reach as many users as possible. You have very little control over the future of this platform except for doing your best to follow the rules and standards. Doesn’t that sound limiting – and kind of scary? What if Instagram suddenly shut down? Would you know what to do?

That’s why “owned media” is so important. According to HubSpot, “owned media is content you’re in full control of. Think of content for your company website, your blog…” When owned media is part of your content marketing strategy, you never have to worry that the terms will change or that the platform will suddenly be taken away – because you’re in charge.

I’m not suggesting you completely stop posting on social media and replace your Instagram presence with owned media. However, building at least some owned media presence can help you set yourself apart from the competition and have full control over your message and how it’s being delivered.

I recently read about an excellent example of a jewelry brand using owned media effectively. Los Angeles–based Spinelli Kilcollin released a print magazine called .925, which includes original content like Q&As, profiles, neighborhood maps, and other features. It’s more than a glorified catalog; instead, it’s a beautiful piece of content that someone would actually want to sit down and read – and maybe even keep on a coffee table in their house.

While it’s true that Spinelli Kilcollin will be investing more money into this than they’d ever need to invest in Instagram (unless they were doing a massive advertising campaign), the benefit is that they completely own this platform and all the content. As long as they can pay for it and continue to produce interesting content, they’re in full control.

Furthermore, they seem to be targeting an audience that maybe isn’t so influenced by Instagram and its endless stream of  “buy me”, “buy me”, “buy me”. Savvy, smart shoppers are feeling fatigued by all the ads on Instagram, and they’re looking for a less-exhausting way to shop that’s more in line with their lifestyle. Fashion-forward, urban-dwelling older millennials and young Gen Xers who may still read magazines and who like to devour unique content will find a community in Spinelli Kilcollin. Before they know it, they’ll be looking forward to the next issue – and the next. They’ll begin to get curious about products and how they can become part of the movement.

In 2019, your brand should resolve to explore at least one piece of owned media, whether that’s with a blog, a live event, podcast, ebook, video, or something even more creative. Just make sure it resonates with the customers you’d like to attract.

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