Why owned really is the new earned.

Have you heard the buzz phrase – PEO is the new SEO?

Do you think it’s portentous nonsense and another example of appalling jargon? Me too. But there is something really important we can take from it.

If P is paid for and represents advertising and E stands for earned, which is what old style PR was all about ie. getting clients in the newspapers or on TV – then it is the O that we really want to look at.

O stands for Owned and is a key marketing development to emerge from the internet maelstrom.

Advertising and PR experts were all about getting exposure for a brand. They took the established media, whether that was billboards, tv spots or magazine editorial and worked hard to get their clients some space there in order to showcase their wares.

But the internet turned the world upside down and made space, which was scarce and expensive, into an infinitely available commodity. Anyone can publish content on the internet. You want a blog post? – Have ten. You want to show me your beautifully shot arty photos? Have an account with Flickr.

The O part of PEO – the Owned bit – looks at all that cheap space and says – ok, we are going to use this freedom – we are going to become our own publishers with our own community of readers and viewers, with our own agenda, which we OWN.

This is a marvellous opportunity for brands with a strong following to step off the treadmill of someone elses agenda to make their own and the kings of this, in my view, are Boden.

This upmarket clothing label didn’t even have a blog a year ago, now they have an entire community. It’s a hive of activity with hosted discussions and guest ‘columnists’ talking about style and kids parties and Christmas…..there are places to post photos, to chat and ask questions. It is, in short. a brilliant use of the owned space.

Would it work with a smaller community for a lesser known brand? I think this is basically what we all need to be aiming for and the medium is the Facebook page. It can be hard to get a community going when people are reluctant to comment and get stuck in, but if we don’t start engaging people then I think the consequences are serious.

Pages with low levels of engagement simply won’t show up in people’s news feeds. If you want your page to thrive you are going to have to start creating the kind of content that people want.

If you build your own buzz, nurture it and develop it you may find that the O part of PEO turns into more than just jargon.



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