How to Integrate Owned and Earned MediaBy now (and especially if you’ve hung out with us for any amount of time), you are comfortable with the PESO model.

Therefore, I won’t belabor the “you should use it” point.

I won’t talk about how owned media is the cornerstone of your efforts.

Or how earned media enhances both your expertise and your search engine results in your industry.

Or even how paid media can level up what’s already working, and shared media helps you connect with your audience on a human level. 

You know it already.

(If you don’t, check out this article, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Or sign up for the PESO workshop I developed for PRSA.)

But where we will spend some time is talking through how to integrate owned and earned media—and how to get the most out of both. 

You see, each element of the PESO model work well on their own, but the real power is when you integrate them as one. 

Let’s Talk About Webs, Baby

Not a web like Charlotte built, but one that can connect your efforts into an integrated PESO model program.

Let’s start with how to integrate owned and earned media.

I’ve often said the most important place to start with the PESO model is owned media.

I know, I know.

The PESO acronym starts with paid, but it’s that way only because it’s easier to remember than OESP.

But you should always consider owned first.

This is because, without it, you don’t have anything for journalists to learn more about you, nothing to share on social, and certainly nothing to boost or advertise.

Always start with owned.

How to Integrate Owned and Earned Media

The easiest way to think about this is to start at a high level.

Choose a keyword.

Maybe it’s something you want to rank for but don’t yet or it’s something you do rank for but not on the first page of Google results or maybe it’s a new category.

Choose just one.

I’ll use “PR metrics” as an example.

When we started talking about metrics PR pros can use in their reporting, NO ONE searched on the topic and there was no competition.

But it was important to us that we start that conversation and start to show the industry that we absolutely and positively can attribute the work we do to real business results.

So, while there wasn’t any search volume yet, we looked at it as if we were launching a new industry category.

I don’t recommend this approach, unless you truly are launching a new category, but to focus instead of keywords that have search volume and where you know you can compete.

When you focus on one keyword at a time, this allows you to put all of your time and energy behind one topic for your owned media.

This comes in handy as you start to integrate the other media types.

Once you’ve chosen your keyword, start to brainstorm different topic ideas using that one word or phrase.

For instance:

  • What are the PR metrics executives should lean on communicators for?
  • Are vanity PR metrics applicable in communications campaigns?

If you need help thinking this through, this article will help you step-by-step.

Now Divide Your List

Once you’ve brainstormed all of your ideas, you want to divide your list in half.

Which topics are you going to own—or keep on your own website or blog—and which ones are you going to use for contributed content—or use in your earned media efforts? 

There are lots of benefits to dividing it up this way, but the biggest one is you can now earn a valuable link to your keyword-focused content on your website from a high domain authority site, such as a newspaper or magazine.

This is one of the factors Google uses in determining your search results and if a newspaper or magazine says you’re an expert on any given topic, which is indicated by the link to your site, Google gives you a gold star.

Just like in school, gold stars are good!

To see how well this works in real life, Google “PR metrics”.

You’ll see that Spin Sucks comes up second and that we also own the featured snippet.

To boot, several of the PR industry trade organizations rank, which means the category we created in terms of search volume has taken hold.

Take It Up a Notch

Now that you have a big pile of content ideas, and a fair estimate of which you’ll selfishly keep for your site and which you’ll generously give out to journalists and bloggers, let’s talk promotion.

We used to create a ton of new content.

Every day.



And then we discovered syndication and repurposing—and realized we were working ourselves to the bone for no reason.

Let’s look at both options.

Syndicating Your Content

Syndication is the same as Friends now appearing on Netflix, er, HBO Max.

Or, back in the day, going to every NBC affiliate in the country.

When you syndicate your own content, it appears on other platforms, such as LinkedIn Pulse or Medium.

It also happens when a larger distribution platform runs it, such as Business Insider or Forbes.

And it’s when your trade publications do the same, such as PR Daily and Ragan (which both syndicate Spin Sucks).

Repurposing Your Content

Repurposing takes a little more work but can also be more fun and have longer term rewards.

This is when you take the content piece you’ve created and change it to work on a different platform, such as:

  • Turning a blog post into an infographic or a speech into a video and LinkedIn Slideshare
  • Breaking it up to make it fit more naturally in other places, such as generating a Twitter thread or Instagram story with the different points you covered.
  • Changing the medium you created it on, such as altering a podcast episode to work as a video or blog post.
  • Using it as a jumping off point for conversations online, such as hosting a livestream discussion group, or as engagement questions on social. 

Repurposing content not only saves you time and lots and lots of angst, it helps with your search engine optimization, is great for engagement, and reaches a wider audience.

Once you get into the habit of thinking about the first piece of content as exactly that—a starting point, you will quickly turn one asset into many. 

It Works for Earned Media, Too

It can be pretty easy to imagine doing all of this with your owned media, of course, but how does it work with earned media when it lives elsewhere? 

Well, not to be too snarky, but I have yet to experience a journalist or blogger say, “No, no! Please don’t share or promote this! We don’t want new visitors or new audiences learning about us. Don’t do it!”

Sharing, promoting, repurposing (respectfully) and generally giving earned media “the works” makes everyone happy.

The only recommendation I have when repurposing earned media is to ask the journalist or blogger how long you should wait and if they have rules around how it’s repurposed.

For instance, we always ask for 30 days and require a link back to Spin Sucks.

Most major news outlets are the same.

Not that we’re a major news outlet, but you know what I mean.

We all have only 24 hours in our days and, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend all of them at work, creating content.

That’s why the PESO model exists and why integrating the media types is far more effective than doing one at a time.

When you intentionally combine the four media types, you’ll see exponential growth from the same amount of work…and then you can spend part of your days binging on Netflix and sleeping. 

Now It’s Your Turn

That’s a pretty good look at how we integrate owned and earned media for ourselves and for clients.

I’d love to know how you do it, as well!

The comments are yours…or join us in the Spin Sucks community.


Watch our FREE masterclass and learn how to implement the PESO model to achieve unparalleled communications results. 

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Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

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