How to get more clients with “owned, earned and paid” media

11th, Sep 2020

The most successful marketing incorporates multiple channels to get a message across. Yet, many professionals will focus all of their efforts on one or two things missing great opportunities to develop new business and stay in touch with potential referral sources. This is a big mistake because it often doesn’t cost that much more time or money to push out your marketing piece through other outlets. Before you limit your marketing, consider these options:

Owned media. This refers to marketing channels you own or control, such as your website, email, and social media. It also includes events, webinars, videos, podcasts, or publications that you host or create. Since you decide what you are promoting and when and how it appears, it is a waste not to take full advantage of owned media. Yet I regularly see professionals who forget to use these channels.


  • Promote your activities on all marketing channels you control. For example, if you speak at a conference, include it on your website, social media, and email.
  • Pay attention to how your message is presented. Update the design and copy on your website and in your email template. Write compelling headlines and intro text on social media and add images to posts.
  • Test different marketing tactics/strategies to improve results. Vary email subject lines, social media text, design and images, and the day/time when you send out promotions.

These activities will not cost additional money but can have a significant impact on results.

Earned media. When someone voluntarily mentions you, it carries more weight than what you say about yourself. As a result, earned media is highly coveted and the most difficult to get. Examples of earned media include client reviews, awards, press coverage, backlinks, and invitations to speak and write for third parties. Public relations firms are paid well to help their clients. However, professionals can do a decent job themselves if they are willing to put the time in.


  • Ask clients, vendors, and contacts to give you reviews on Google, social media, and other relevant websites.
  • Reach out to organizations where you are either a member or have good relationships with those in charge about opportunities to write or speak.
  • Let your contacts know you are looking to write or speak and ask them if you can guest blog on their websites (and offer to reciprocate).
  • Follow relevant organizations and reporters on social media to learn what issues they cover so you can develop a relationship with them, offer assistance and make appropriate pitches to them.
  • Sign up for HARO (Help-a-Reporter-Out) which publishes requests by journalists/editors for people who can help them with a story they are working on.
  • Research awards that you can apply for to boost your visibility and credibility.
  • Share your good publicity on your website, social media, and email.

These efforts take time, but they add up. As a result, once you have established credibility and have garnered some earned media, you will find that new opportunities will come to you.

Paid channels. Ads, sponsored content, event sponsorships, pay per click advertising, and paid social media can be helpful, but expensive. However, advertising today is very sophisticated allowing you to carefully select the audience you want to target and track results in detail.


  • Don’t engage in one off advertising. It’s expensive and unlikely to bring results.
  • If you want to advertise, you need to commit to doing it for at least a few months to gauge results.
  • Be clear on what you want to accomplish and carefully review your metrics. Clicks to your site and phone calls are great if your goal is visibility, but if you are looking for good leads, you need to pay close attention to who you are attracting.
  • Test different ads, keywords, etc. to improve results.

Which marketing channels are missing from your toolbox? If you’d like help with your marketing, contact us for consultation.

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