Own Your Audience: The Benefits of Creating Owned & Operated Content
With social media’s evolving landscape, where algorithms seem to change overnight, having reliable, stable content platforms can be a steady foundation for Creators to rely on.
Enter owned and operated content (aka, O&O): the bedrock of a Creator’s online presence. O&O content remains a relevant and necessary channel for Creators looking to establish their brand, foster deeper connections, and future-proof their content strategy.
Here’s everything you need to know about O&O content, and why you should be creating it.
What is owned and operated content?
Owned and operated content refers to content that you produce, publish, and have complete control over on channels that you fully own. Types of owned content include:
- Personal App
- Private Groups and Communities
- E-books and Courses
- Text Message Communities
Why are these channels considered “owned and operated?” Well, these platforms allow you to have full control over the design, presentation, and distribution of your content. They also allow you to have a direct line of communication and ownership over your audience’s information.
Importantly, O&O content can include some types of social media content (like a private Facebook group), but posts on platforms that are controlled by specific algorithms are generally not considered “owned and operated.” Essentially, these platforms can be a Creator’s digital sanctuary, and a place to engage their audience on their terms.
Why owned & operated content is still so important.
There are many reasons why you should be using owned and operated content. Here are a few of the most important ones:
Social media platforms may rise and fall in popularity, and their algorithms change, affecting the reach and engagement of your content. Unlike content shared on third-party platforms, O&O content isn’t subject to algorithm changes or sudden platform shutdowns, providing you with stability in an ever-changing digital landscape. O&O content can serve as a central hub for your content and ideas, even as trends shift and platforms evolve.
Investing in O&O content makes you more resilient to platform changes because you’ll always be able to speak directly to your audience. For example, if you’re posting consistent Instagram stories about the best upcoming events in your city, but noticing poor engagement, the algorithm might not be serving those stories to your audience. Instead, you might choose to pivot and deliver a customized newsletter to your local audience, who’s now getting updates on the best upcoming events directly to their inbox.
By creating owned and operated content, you can protect yourself from platform changes and ensure that your content is always accessible to your audience.
2. Creative Freedom & Niche Targeting
Unlike the limitations and design restraints of social media platforms, owned and operated channels offer you a canvas to let your imagination run wild. You can customize layouts, experiment with different content formats, and deliver a unique brand experience however you see fit.
You may feel constrained about how to post your travel content to social media. But on your blog, you don’t have to follow strict character counts or specific photo dimensions; you can feel inspired to create an in-depth travel journal that tells a story through compelling visuals, engaging writing, and a diary format.
Similarly, O&O content allows you to dig into subjects that might be less trendy or popular on social media, but speak to your niche audience’s interests. You don’t have to worry about whether your content will hit Instagram’s explore page, or only create something simply because you think it will go viral.
3. Long-Term Brand Builders
Owned and operated channels are a long-term investment. O&O channels allow you to take your audience with you along your Creator journey, build your brand, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
O&O channels also allow you to curate an immersive brand identity that extends beyond individual pieces of content. Consistency in design, voice, and values across all O&O channels reinforces a powerful brand image that helps your audience get to know you better.
4. Deeper Audience Connections
Owned and operated content is a great way to engage your audience and build relationships with them because you can build a community around your brand. When your audience subscribes to a channel—like a blog, newsletter, or podcast—and you consistently show up, the audience will see you as a subject matter expert and a trustworthy source of information. These channels give your audience more opportunities to get to know you beyond the limitations of a single platform.
Additionally, these channels allow you to cultivate a community with a direct line of communication. A community forum, for example, is a great way to speak directly to an audience. These community groups are highly valuable hubs where people with similar interests can meet, chat, and share knowledge. By owning one of these groups or forums yourself, you can direct the conversation, foster engagement, and get real-time feedback on the subjects your audience cares about.
5. Traffic & Income Drivers
O&O content can help you direct your audience to your affiliate links and drive traffic to other content and channels. A newsletter can help you drive traffic directly to blog links, and your blog posts are a helpful, central hub for your audience to shop all of your affiliate links. In fact, 78.3% of affiliate marketers use SEO, and 22.8% use email marketing, as primary traffic sources. Similarly, a link in bio tool (like TapTo.Shop), gives you a consistent space for curating affiliate links, blog posts, and product recommendations from your social media bios. That way, you don’t have to depend on driving traffic and sales from every individual post.
These channels can also help you bring in income beyond affiliate sales. Those highly-engaged newsletter subscribers, podcast subscribers, or community members are captive audiences that brands would love to tap into (and pay you to advertise to!). You can also run ads on these channels and sell products and services; the monetization opportunities are truly endless.
Use SEO as a main source of traffic
6. Data Ownership
Understanding your audience is paramount in content creation. With O&O channels, Creators have direct access to invaluable audience insights and data. This data isn’t filtered through an algorithm; it’s raw, genuine, and can inform content decisions with precision. This deep understanding of your audience’s behavior and preferences can drive more effective content strategies.
Similarly, when you own audience information (like their email address, phone number), you ensure that you always have a means of communication; it’s much easier to leave a social platform than to change your email address or phone number. Owning audience information gives you a long-term strategy that you can always count on.