A Deep Dive Into Owned Media In a PESO Model ProgramThe PESO Model has been around for a few years.

It’s a fairly new integrated model, in the big scheme of things, but it’s been in practice long enough that we know what works, what doesn’t, how to apply it to corporations and to non-profits, and how it works for B2B and B2C organizations.

The challenge with it, though, is a good majority of marketers and communicators look at the graphic that accompanies it and think, “Oh, I can do that!” because it’s simply a list of tactics.

When we revised the graphic earlier this year, we paid particular attention to how the media types overlap and what makes sense strategically.

Of course, people still look at it and think, “Oh, I can do that!” because all they see are the tactics.

But it’s not a tactical process. It’s a fully strategic and integrated model.

If there were ever a time to learn how to build a strategic PESO Model program, it is now.

Between the pandemic and furloughed jobs, and civil unrest and social injustice, the ability to evolve quickly has become more relevant.

That’s why we’re spending the next several weeks working through a strategic PESO Model framework.

Last week, we took a high-level look at it and the certification that accompanies it. 

In the forthcoming weeks, we’ll look at how the media types strategically build into a PESO Model.

Today we’ll start with owned media.

Start With Owned Media

I know it seems a bit backwards to start with owned media. After all PESO begins with P.

But it’d be a rare campaign led by marketing or communications that began with paid.

In nearly every program—not all, but most—owned media is the start.

You won’t, after all, have anything to distribute on social without owned, or anything to amplify with paid without owned, or anything to have rubber stamped through earned without owned.

And you certainly cannot build credibility or reputation, especially online without owned and earned combined.

This is the most important media type for creating your PESO Model foundation.

Sure, you can do one of the media types without the others and you certainly can be a specialist in one.

But the PESO Model works best when you have all four and integrate them so they work where they overlap.

Starting with owned media, we’ll begin to build your brand’s or your executive’s or your own credibility—both online and off.

Begin By Building Your Content Hubs

A few years ago, my friend Andy Crestodina wrote a really good blog post about content hubs

In it, he describes how to compete with the big boys—David versus Goliath, if you will.

He says:

A content hub is a set of content (usually web pages) organized around a specific topic (usually a central page). It could be a category on a blog or a section of pages on a website. So content hubs are relevant to both web design and ongoing content marketing.

In web development, you might build a content map for a sitemap, website sections, or even an ecommerce product catalog.

And you can build them for your editorial calendar.

In fact, you should.

The general idea is to simply create content, focused on targeted keywords, organized around a central hub.

But you’ll get better results if you take a more strategic approach.

The big key is to create content that makes sense for both humans and search engine spiders.

To do that, you’ll focus on priority keywords and answer the questions customers, prospects, and other stakeholders ask. 

To get started, you first want to build a content map around your main topic.

That will be your most competitive key phrase.

But here’s the rub: it may not be what has really high search volume or really high competition.

It’s likely going to be competitive from the perspective that you can actually compete for the word or phrase.

Answer These Questions to Get a Starting Point

Let’s say, for example, you sell copiers.

You likely cannot compete with the word “copiers” (unless you’re Xerox or Amazon), but you might be able to compete with “what are the best all-in-one copiers on the market?”

Likewise, if you want to be found for “robotics” or “public relations” or “automotive,” it’s likely you’re going to have a really hard time competing and your website won’t show up on the first page of search results.

The goal of a PESO Model-driven owned media program is to show up on the first page of search results.

This gives you the credibility you need around certain topics or subjects.

To figure out what that keyword or phrase should be, there is an exercise you can do: 

  • Write down all of the questions you are asked in new business—aka sales—meetings.
  • Write down all of the questions your customer service department is asked.
  • Go to your website or your internal server/Dropbox/Google Drive and grab your most recent frequently asked questions sheet.
  • Go into your sent mail and scroll through to see what kinds of questions your clients are asking you that you’re writing long answers to … every day. Write those down.

Also think about how people search both on mobile or desktop and by voice.

For instance, if I’m on my desktop or phone or tablet, I will type in “what is media relations?”

But if I’m doing it by search, I might say, “Alexa, who’s good at media relations?” or “tell me about media relations.”

Stretch Your Left AND Right Brains

Now that you have answers to your list of questions, you are ready to start planning out your owned media.

This is one of my most favorite things to do because, once you truly understand how keyword research will help you plan your content, you become invincible.

There is a challenge to this work, though: it’s not how we were trained to create content.

It takes both the left and right sides of our brain to make it work—and because we’re human, it’s tough to do that.

I’m going to help you, though!

Before you know it, you’ll love to do this work as much as I do.

And you’ll enjoy stretching both sides of your brain. 

To start with the technical side of your owned media foundation, or the keywords, you’ll build your main topic around your most competitive key phrase. 

For instance, I work with an agency that does legal marketing.

At the start of this year, we built an editorial calendar around the complete guide to legal marketing.

This will come as no surprise to any of you, but we built each section around the PESO Model.

We started with owned media and are now on the earned media section. 

The most competitive key phrase for their owned media section is “content marketing for legal marketers”. 

Research Your Priority Keywords

Once you figure out what your main topic is (in this case, owned media), you have to find keywords where you can compete (content marketing for legal marketers).

To do that, go to the Google Keyword Planner, the Moz Keyword Planner, or another keyword tool of your choice.

I prefer Moz, but it costs $99 a month so if you don’t have the budget or won’t use it for anything else, just use the Google Keyword Planner.

It’s free and you can get what you need for this work.

To show you how this works, I’m going to use a term most of us can relate to—and one that is highly competitive—”media relations”.

This will show you how you can use a highly competitive phrase and still get on the first page of Google results, which is our goal through this process. 

Type in your keyword and hit analyze. 

This brings you to a page that has keyword suggestions, SERP analysis (search engine results page), and mentions.

More importantly, there are between 851 and 1,700 searches per month for this topic. 

This is good!

This tells me, while it’s still a competitive phrase, I’m not going to have to compete among hundreds of thousands of searches.

I also need to know if I CAN compete at all for this term or if it’s a moot point and I should start somewhere else.

Figure Out If You Can Compete

To do that, you want to go to your browser of choice and open an incognito window.

In Chrome, if you go to File, you’ll find “new incognito window” as the third choice.

Click on that.

The reason you want to do this is because you want to see the search results people get when they are not connected to you.

This means a prospect who doesn’t follow you on the social networks or hasn’t already visited your site will see these search results, compared to someone who already knows you and will get more personalized results. 

In that incognito window, type in your keyword or phrase.

In this case, it’s media relations.

If you do this work along with me (you don’t have to, but if you do), you’ll see the results are things such as Wikipedia and a couple of blog posts, but mostly job openings on Indeed, LinkedIn, and others.

This is really good information to have because it’s likely, if someone searches “media relations,” they’re looking for things such as careers or job descriptions…not necessarily a tutorial on media relations.

This means I need to tweak the priority keyword from “media relations” to something that people will search when they’re looking for help with media relations—either to hire a PR firm or a tutorial on it. 

This is where the work you did to answer those four questions earlier comes in handy.

If I were to write down a list of questions prospects and clients ask us, it would include things such as, “What can media relations do for my company?” 

To keep digging, go back to your incognito window and search the question people ask that also includes your priority keyword or phrase.

In this case it’s media relations, but I’ve expanded it.

So, rather than search “media relations”, I’m searching, “What can media relations do for my company?” 

Or, in the case of my agency client, we don’t use “content marketing”, but have expanded it to “content marketing for legal marketers”. 

Learn How to Effectively Implement the PESO Model

When you do this, you’ll find all sorts of articles, blog posts, and other content that provide information to a prospect about the work we do.

It also answers the question we are asked by prospects. 

Now my goal is to get Spin Sucks on the first page of Google results.

So, when someone asks this question by typing it into Google or asking a voice-activated assistant, they find us, come to the site, love our brilliance, and decide they’d like to talk to us about working with them.

This is exactly what you want to do!

Like I said, this takes work from the left and right sides of your brains.

But once you have an editorial calendar—or content map—created out of one priority keyword or phrase, you are well on your way to building credibility and authority for the organization, an executive, a subject matter expert, or yourself online and off.

I’m not so naive to think this will come easy to you when you’re starting out or even if you’ve done it before and need to do a refresh.

I’ve worked with lots and lots and lots of marketers and communicators on this process and EVERYONE gets stuck here.

If you need help, definitely check out the PESO Model Certification.

You learn all the ins and outs of this process intimately.

Plus, you learn how to integrate the other media types and, more importantly, how to measure your efforts.

I’m also happy to answer questions in the Spin Sucks Community.


Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich