September 29, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Using the PESO model for effective PR

Using the PESO model for effective PR

The “PESO” model has been gaining ground and favor in public relations circles for good reason: it applies a holistic approach to public relations that works well to promote your organization’s messages in today’s fractured media landscape.

So what is “PESO”?

PESO is an acronym that stands for Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. Each of these areas represents an important media “region.”

Paid Media – In a PR context, this represents media that is paid for; things like sponsored content, Google AdWords, and promoted posts on social media channels would fall into this category.

Earned Media – This is “classic” PR media coverage. A newspaper or magazine article or a televised interview with a client, or a book or restaurant review, etc. would fall into this category.

Shared Media – These are social channels that you use to share content to: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter—basically any of the social platforms that you have a presence on but are owned and operated by someone else.

Owned Media – These are channels or properties that you own and control the content. Your blog or website, email or printed newsletters, and other promotional materials all belong in this category.

How should you use PESO in your own PR efforts?

There is no standard PESO mix—every organization will have a different balance that needs to be achieved across all four categories. However, it makes good sense to place your initial focus on the channels that you own; those are the places where you have complete control of the message, delivery, timing, and promotion.

Planning your strategy for using the PESO model should take into account how and when you should use each category. Content posted on your blog should be reinforced in emails, and then dispersed to a broader audience using your shared media channels. In some cases, what you are covering in those areas may get picked up in other places and reported on, and that earned media can then also be reflected back to your owned and shared properties.

Media relationships matter and it makes sense to cultivate those relationships through your shared media channels. Find and follow journalists relevant to your industry on Twitter and Facebook—what you share on those channels could lead to earned media coverage. Sharing content will also help to grow and foster your relationships with your online communities—which is why you are on those platforms in the first place.

Paid channels also play an important role in your overall PESO efforts. Whether it is sponsored content in a publication that speaks to your target audience, Google AdWords, or promoted posts on Facebook, don’t ignore this aspect of PESO.

By designing a PR plan that uses all of the aspects of PESO, you are ensuring that messaging can be maintained across these platforms in a coordinated fashion. This helps to create a consistent image, but more importantly this is how PR is now conducted. Organizations that remain overly (and obsessively) focused on just getting traditional media coverage are missing three-quarters of the picture.

This is a “quick start” version of the PESO model. For a more in-depth picture, check out Gini Dietrich’s post over at Spin Sucks—she has long been a tireless advocate for the PESO model, and the post features one of the best charts detailing all of the different facets of PESO.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the Director of Marketing Communications for CARMA. She is also the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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