How to Leverage Earned, Owned, and Paid Media to Get the Best Return

Marketing any product or business on the internet is a skill in its own right and one that you have to master to grow your business potential to the maximum level. It is essential that you are aware of the benefits and disadvantages of each type of media, to extract every penny from your marketing investments. To begin with, let’s cover the different types of media, so you can develop a strategy for each.

Earned Media

Think of earned media as a recommendation from a friend or family member. When someone you trust and respect recommends a book, movie, or anything else, you are more likely to try it out. That is why earned media is so valuable, but it takes a lot more time to generate the levels of trust required. Recommendations, positive reviews, Google Maps results, Trip Advisor listings, are all excellent ways for your brand to get extra publicity and drive more traffic to your site.

In many ways, it could be argued that earned media, which costs the clients nothing, is actually the most cost effective marketing format. However, while it may not cost financially, earned media is tough to generate as it relies almost in its entirety on engaging with different stakeholders to make a profit.

There is even the opportunity to occupy more than one position on the front page of the search engines. Make sure you pay attention to these sources, respond to reviews, take decisive action with any negative comments, and over time people will see that you are responsive and will respect that.

Owned Media

This is effectively your online real estate. It consists of anything that you or your company have physical control over. Your business website, your social media accounts, LinkedIn, and guest posts are all places where you can dictate the agenda.

They provide valuable opportunities to get your message out there, and every avenue you ignore or neglect is a chance missed. People will constantly change how and where they search for information.

While it is not possible to post content to every social media platform, it is worth ensuring you have a presence in as many places as possible. Google recommends using social media in a positive way and encourages it in a bid to make your website and content more appealing and interactive.

Paid Media

Paid Media, which as the name suggests is content which the company has paid for, such as advertisements, is still an important strategy to generate more traffic and ultimately more business. The key benefit of paid media is that it can generate your traffic and business overnight, versus earned and owned media, which are more long term.

The negative aspect of paid media, other than the financial cost, is that banner ads, text and in-app advertising are the least trusted forms of advertising. Online advertising can also get very expensive, very quickly, so in terms of ROI, it may not be the best option for your business. Proper split testing is critical for paid media, constantly tweaking and improving the ad until it reaches a response rate that you are satisfied with.


There is little doubt that you can generate significant business online, but there is no quick and easy route to success. You need to invest time and energy into the process, gain the trust of people, and provide them with the information and help that they are seeking. Paid advertising can work, but it will never compete with earned or owned media in conversion terms. For most businesses, it may be that you need to invest money in paid media to generate some income and brand awareness. Then over time, grow your brand and customer base by creating trust and controlling the message that you send out there via owned media. This two-pronged attack will pay dividends in both the short and long-term.

At Arcalea, we are constantly evaluating new ideas and concepts to support our customers and their needs. For the latest industry news and ideas, visit our blog regularly.