As many of you know, this year is the 10th anniversary of the PESO Model©. We’ve been celebrating every month with something new introduced—and we have more goodies planned for you for the rest of the year.

As part of our celebration, many podcast hosts, journalists, and influencers have reached out to have me on their shows to continue the celebration with their audiences—and I cannot thank you enough for that. It’s fun to share how the model has evolved and what I think will happen in the next ten years.

The question that inevitably arises during every interview is this: “Where do I start my PESO Model implementation?”

Let me back up for a second. When I graduated from college with a degree in English with minors in creative writing and statistics, my parents wondered what the heck I would do with my life. I love to write, but I wasn’t going to be a journalist. And statistics was easy, so I got a minor in that. There was no other reason except that I knew I’d get As in those classes, not because I would do something with the degree.

When I went out into the world, I thought I would go to law school—and I figured knowing how to write would help in that career, but those plans were foiled.

When my first book was published, my dad said, “Ohhhhh. I get it now! You made a career for yourself, using your passion.” This is a long way to say that I love owned media—or content marketing. 

And that is the answer to the question about where to start: with with owned media. Without it, you have nothing to share, nothing to help you earn credibility, and nothing to amplify.

Which is why, on this week’s Spin Sucks podcast episode, we’re going to talk about how to implement a measurable PESO Model program with owned media as the foundation.

Foundation of a PESO Model Program

I often say that if I were to order the PESO Model in media type importance, it would go O S E P or O E S P. Unless you’re selling widgets and your goal is to sell as many as possible in one quarter, you rarely start a PESO Model program with paid media. You almost always begin it with owned. 

You need owned media to have something to share on social media, gain credibility with earned media, and amplify with paid media. Sure, you could start with the others—and there are plenty of great earned and/or shared media campaigns. But to fully implement a PESO Model program, start with owned.

When we talk about owned media, what do we mean? It’s content that you own that people read, watch, or listen to. This is not content that you create and share on social media. You create content that lives on something you own—your website or blog—and then loan it out to social networks and places such as LinkedIn, Medium, and Substack. 

There is often a debate about this and how it works, but the PESO Model framework is pretty staunch that the content you create must live on something you own so that you never lose it. Ask the users of Google+, Vine, and others who have come and gone what it feels like to create content in those places…and then lose it. Don’t be that person. 

It’s something you’ve created that lives on something you own.

Using Pillar Content As An Example

In this case, let’s use pillar content as an example. We’ve had clients call this many things—killer assets, agile content, long-form content, pillar content, and more. Whatever you call it, it’s a large piece of content—an eBook, a white paper, a webinar, a guide—that will live behind a landing page.

You might create all sorts of free content—blog posts, articles, thought leadership—but pillar content is valuable enough to gate it.

In a PESO Model program, pillar content is the foundation, and the other media types promote and distribute it.

Let’s use an eBook as an example. Once it’s written and designed, you have a beautiful PDF to show for it—or maybe you’ve used digital magazine software to make it more interactive. 


Now what?

Now, you will use paid media to create a landing page, write and design Google and social media ads, write emails, set them up to segment and trigger based on actions, and get budget approval for extra sponsored content. 

Then you’ll create graphics to help promote the eBook. (If you don’t have a graphic designer, I cannot recommend Upwork more. I find the best talent there.) Perhaps you have an infographic of what they’ll learn inside. Or you have short videos of subject matter experts discussing what they’ll learn. Or you create a checklist or a best practices tip sheet that will entice people to want to learn more—and therefore, download your eBook.

If there are journalists, bloggers, or influencers you think will be interested in the content, send them a free copy of the eBook before the launch. 

Perhaps you’ll use a webinar or a virtual or in-person conference to launch the eBook.

A Mini PESO Model Campaign

You now have a beautifully designed eBook that you poured your heart and soul into—and now it’s time for the world (or at least your prospects) to know about it. 

I like Propel’s approach when launching its quarterly Media Barometer Report. They invite an industry expert to co-host a webinar with them, and they review the results together. Then, everyone who attends gets a free copy of the report. They also promote it through contributed content, sponsorships, email marketing, and more. But they launch it with a webinar.

I love that—and it’s highly effective because they’re giving away so much value in exchange for an email address. You get a webinar with an industry expert (who ideally gives you all sorts of value) and the report. So much goodness!

Everything You Need Ahead of Launch

You don’t have to take that approach, of course. If you decide adding a webinar to a full campaign is too much for you and your team, that’s fine! Focus instead on just getting the eBook out into the world.

To do that, you need a landing page. There are lots and lots and lots of examples online of great landing pages that convert. Also, if you don’t have a designer internally (or one you have hired for this project), it’s crazy easy to create your own landing pages with LeadPages or Unbounce or another software. You can do that yourself.

Create that beautiful landing page and test it to make sure if someone enters their email address, they automatically receive your eBook. I cannot stress this enough. Test, test, and test again. Test with different email addresses. Have your colleagues test it. Then test it again.

Once the landing page is ready, it’s time to set up an email marketing campaign. This is where segmentation, triggers, and automation come into play. If you aren’t an email marketing whiz, do something simple: if they download the eBook, you send it to them immediately and then send an email every few days to nurture them along to something bigger, such as another piece of content, an RSVP to an event (online or in-person), or even a demo or the purchase of something.

But if you’re an email marketing whiz, you know how to trigger all of this so, based on the person’s activity, they get something new and different than someone who has no activity. 

You don’t have to be proficient at email marketing to have immense success. Just do what you can, and you can build from there next time.

Once your automated drip campaign is set up, make sure all of the assets to promote your eBook are ready—an infographic, social media images, videos, quotes, a blog post (or two), some contributed content, exclusive stories for industry pubs (if applicable), an influencer program, and some social media ads with fun and creative copy. 

Once all of this is complete, you are ready to go!

Measuring Success

The owned media is your eBook and lives behind a landing page on your website. It also includes any content you create, such as blog posts, that live on your website or blog. 

The shared media includes all social media assets—the infographics, images, videos, and quotes. 

The earned media is contributed content, influencer marketing, and exclusive stories with industry pubs. 

And the paid media is your email marketing, the social media ads, and if you do any Google ads.

When all of this works together, people will come to your website in droves to download your eBook, and then you will have built a huge database of potential customers.

All of this can be measured—and all of it can be attributed to the work you do in your PESO Model program.

You can see it’s not a small undertaking and often will take months to get it all going, but it’s worth every second of time and every penny you spend. It will be successful, and you will be carried around the office atop the shoulders of your colleagues.

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