Gini Dietrich

Use the PESO Model to Supercharge Your PR Program

By: Gini Dietrich | May 18, 2016 | 

PESO Model

By Gini Dietrich

In a recent Marketwired survey, it was found that 36 percent of respondents used earned media and 33 percent use owned media, but shared and paid media?

Neither one hit the 20 percent mark.

This makes me sad.

We cannot be successful communicators if we don’t integrate a full PESO model (paid, earned, shared, and owned media).

I know, I know.

In many cases, paid media belongs to marketing, which means you don’t have the budget to test sponsored content or amplification. You have to go talk to marketing and sometimes that’s not where they want to spend their money.

It’s Just an Excuse

I call malarkey.

For less than a plane ticket—which doesn’t typically need sign-off within your organization—you can test paid media.

Once you’ve proven the test to work, I guarantee your communications budget will suddenly have some money in it to build on your theory.

And shared media, really?

How are less than 20 percent of communicators using shared media for content promotion and amplification?

That doesn’t even make sense, considering most of use are tweeting and Facebooking and snapping our lives away.

We have to do better. We must do better.

After all, when we integrate a full PESO model, we establish authority in our field. And, with authority comes both market share and Google share.

This is, after all, the golden ticket we are all after.

Start with Owned Media

To integrate the PESO model into your public relations strategy, remember that all roads lead to owned media—so start there.

This is where you control the messaging, the anchor text, the links, the distribution, the story, and the audiences.

Without owned media, all of your paid, earned, and shared efforts are moot.

That said, your owned media efforts have to be smart, strategic, unique enough to rise to the top, and provide value to your prospective and current customers.

Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, recently wrote an article about where the industry is with content marketing.

How do you create owned media?


Start with an editorial calendar, and fill it up with engaging, educational, evergreen content.

Before you go crazy with posts, remember to plan your content around your goals and your audiences.

  • The top (or broad content) goals should simply be to build industry awareness, attract links, and reach new audiences.
  • The middle (or discovery content) goals should be to create awareness of a solution you have to an industry problem, awareness of your organizations, and help prospects to remember you.
  • The bottom (or consideration content) goals should be to build product awareness and convert prospects to customers.

Once you have your owned media in place, it’s time to increase your reach, awareness, and distribution to lead people back to your home.

We’re working backwards from owned media, so let’s talk about shared media next.

Use Shared Media for Distribution and Promotion

This is where your social networks come into play.

It’s not one size fits all, but there are some best practices for every platform to help you get started.

It’s important to tweak your approach, test, rinse, and repeat.

You don’t have to be on all of these platforms, but wherever you have a presence, do it right.

  • On the day you publish a piece of owned content, share the link on Twitter four times, three hours apart. On day two, send it out twice. On day three, once. You can even send it out a few weeks post-publication to get a long-tail effect. CoSchedule can help you with that so you’re not constantly going into your older content to share it manually.
  • Don’t neglect your Facebook page. Post your content there once a day, and amplify it using paid media (which we’ll get to in just a minute).
  • Google+ lives—at least for search purposes. Optimize your title, your content, and any image you upload with proper titles and post your content on there once a day. Trust me, Google owns it and they want people to use it so they will give you a gold star in search engine optimization for taking three seconds to post content there.
  • Pinterest is growing in influence and popularity. While it may not make complete sense for all of your campaigns, if you’re working with a visual heavy client, consider it to reach new audiences.
  • There are many other social networks (with new ones popping up every day). Do your research and establish your presence on the ones that make sense to your goals.

Paid Media is About Your Funnel

Paid media is exactly what it sounds like: You pay to reach new audiences.

One of my favorite Facebook advertising experts is Scott Oldford. If you take anything of his—free or paid; webinars, videos, or eBooks—you will have a great funnel to lead people to buy in less than a month.

And it’s extraordinarily important for PR pros to understand how all of this fits into the PESO model and be able to do the work.

For as little as $5 a day on each platform, you can test Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

They each have their own native advertising options, and they usually offer coupons for first timers.

Give it a try!

You don’t want to put money behind every single piece of content you produce, but I would look at the most popular for the month and amplify or sponsor that. 

Test it out once a month on each platform and see what happens. It’s an inexpensive test and I promise, once you show results, you will easily get more money to do more.

While Counterintuitive, Earned Media Is Last

The last piece of the PESO model is your earned media, which I know is counterintuitive because—as an industry—we are known for media relations. 

But in today’s world, it cannot happen without the help of the rest of the PESO model.

How many of you have been asked by a journalist or influencer to share where you, your boss, your company, or your client has been featured?

I’d be willing to bet it’s most of you…and they won’t be as willing to run your story idea or interview your boss if you can’t demonstrate your ability to amplify their content.

That said, remember not every influencer is created equal.

As you’re identifying potential journalists, media outlets, and influencers, evaluate them on these factors: Direct influence on customer, reach or circulation, and ability to drive leads.

These relationships take time, trust, and due diligence, so earned media may not give you immediate results—which is why it should be just one part of your PR strategy.

As you’re building those relationships by commenting on and sharing their content, remember that you also have to work on your own content and shared media efforts so you can show them a big bang for their efforts.

Just like you want them to drive leads for you, they want you to drive website visitors and pageviews. Without shared and owned media, you’ll lose to someone who has those things and can help the journalist or influencer.

The PESO Model Drives PR Success

The PESO model is a strategy to drive PR success using integrated marketing.

It is not one size fits all, and the right ingredients will vary for each campaign.

Start by creating strong content and use the PESO model to distribute it to reach new levels of success.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I love this post. I have been fighting with the silos I see on Twitter. Agencies have formed over segments. Digital. Social. PR are reasonable ones. Influence marketing and Employee Advocacy specialists are some of the less savory ones. Where because they are in segments….all solutions have to come from their segment because that is what makes them money. Vs what is best for the brand or the client. I know when I attack their narrow mindedness they think I am a hater or just against what they are selling.

    The reality is every business can have an affordable mix and that works best. The restaurant I moonlight at uses: Some social (mostly Facebook..5 posts per week I get 1000-2500 views….I don’t care about engagement anymore on Facebook)….Paid Advertising (Radio,$10-20 in FB ads a month), Print (printed menus, we are listed on the local tourist map and in some tourist publications. Directories Trip Advisor blows away Yelp! for us. Sponsorship’s…we support the 99 Car at Thunder Road Speedbowl which is full sized stock cars. Community outreach: If you fill out a comment card you get a $10 gift certificate at Christmas (900 sent out last year) and lots of gift certificates for causes (people come in all the time wanting them for their school event or community group). This is for a 25 table + 8 seat bar restaurant (summer adds 12 tables outside) and 4 room Inn. And organic media relations. The Inn was showcased on a travel channel show (they approached us) and now will be on a Ghost Hunter program (also approached us).

    I bet in total the owner spends $15k on marketing.($9k in the gift certificates) Plus about $3k in Christmas and Halloween decorations because we are a destination just to see the historic firehouse tricked out.

    We don’t blog. The only created/owned content is what I do for Facebook and Twitter/Instagram.

    Yet the biggest business driver by far is offline word of mouth!

    This proves everyone can do the PESO model.

    As for the silos in bigger orgs. Go to the top. If you can show the CFO/CEO your work will generate X ROI you can get the budget. The CFO will actually itemize every aspect of the business to decide budgets based on highest short and long term ROI. If you can’t show your worth the budget that is your fault.

    • Great post Gini and that’s a perfect example Howie of how PESO works so naturally in the small business world but for some reason integrating it gets all funky in the bigger business world.

      • Travis I think in bigger businesses segments become departments and there are egos abounding and ingrained ways of doing things. What manager wants to lose staff even if that is the best for the company’s future.

        When I was in B2B sales I was told to try to get to the highest decision maker possible because they can over rule lower people who resist change. Easier said than done though.

    • That’s so fascinating that TripAdvisor outdoes Yelp (and I know that’s just a small piece of your comment). Yelp is one of the few social bandwagons I haven’t jumped on yet, so I feel a tiny bit vindicated.

      • Yelp is squishy. You can expect a review for like every few thousand customer transactions. And they send this report to business owners showing the money they made you. Problem is if I view the business, click to their website, then call the business up, then click for directions they count me as 4 people. The Ladder 1 Grill has I think 15 Yelp reviews in total yet they serve my guess 1000+ meals a week.

  • Laura Petrolino

    I keep reading and re-reading that 20 percent number to make sure I’m not reading it wrong. How can only 20 percent by using shared media. That’s shocking!