PESO modelIn 2017, the Global Communications Report out of the Annenberg Center at USC, stated that 60% of marketers and communicators predicted the two would become one by 2022.

That’s only two years away. And it’s not good…the prediction is going to come true.

Last year’s Global Communications Report shows nothing has changed.

I don’t know that it’ll happen by 2022, but I’m willing to bet it does in the next five years.

This year’s Report focuses on activism so we can’t compare to the previous two years, but I’m willing to bet good money that the prediction is even closer to coming true.

One of the questions I continually have been asked in the past two months is, “Will the PR industry exist when this pandemic is all over with?”

I really, really hope so, but the logical side of me says no.

Here’s why: marketers now own content and social media. Three years ago, when first surveyed, they were just beginning to own those media types. They now own them.

And, in the next two years, if that trend continues, communicators will be shut out of paid, owned, and shared entirely.

Which leaves us with…earned media.

But it’s not just us earned media belongs to now.

SEO specialists are doing earned media because they know how valuable that link back to an organization’s website is—and we’re too afraid to ask for a link when we do earned media.

Marketers are doing it because they also understand how valuable that link is. 

While neither are doing a great job of it—and a lot of it is done by robots—they’re kicking our butts at our own game.

Relationships, Storytelling, and Communication

Some of you may not take issue with this, but it’s greatly disturbing to me.


We are relationship builders. And storytellers. And communicators.

Because of that, the entire PESO model should belong to us.

Or, at the very least, we should be part of the planning and participation of the entire model. 

I would venture to say earned media is the backbone of what we do.

But because of our innate ability to tell stories and make news interesting, we’re also content creators. That puts us smack dab in the middle of owned media.

And because we’re relationship builders, that puts us in the middle of shared media.

And, while paid media may seem like it should belong to marketers, it’s email marketing and native advertising (the new advertorial) and sponsored content. All of that falls into storytelling and communications.

There is no reason on earth 60% of us think we’ll be one with marketing in two years.

And yet…

We Must Demonstrate Business Results

Part of our problem is we (the industry) don’t have a standardized way to report results.

And, while 81% of senior marketers in a Cision study said earned media is far more valuable than paid media, CEOs don’t agree.

In the same Global Communications Report, 44% of executives said they expect PR to help sell products or services.

So what are we to do?

Marketers are taking over our roles and we can’t live up to an executive’s expectations.

Sounds pretty dismal, doesn’t it?

But it doesn’t have to be!

What if we could show CEOs that an integrated communications program, using the PESO model, can help sell products or services?

It can be done, particularly if you’re smart about how the four media types integrate—and you aren’t afraid to ask journalists, bloggers, and influencers for a link back to some great content on your website.

The PESO Model Certification teaches you how to do this.

It definitely takes some forethought and strategic thinking and, if you’re not willing to ask for the link, some attribution software, such as AirPR (now Onclusive) or Trendkite, can help.

But it can be done!

A PR Metrics Example

Let me show you how it works…

You’ve spent some time building content: a blog, some Facebook Live videos, a podcast, a couple of webinars, and an eBook.

All of that content lives on your site and you’ve used social media to promote and distribute it.

Now you want to bring earned media into it and you place a story—contributed content, a feature on your CEO, an interview, or even just a quote. That story links to some of the aforementioned content on your site.

When the story runs, you post it on social and let it run for a couple of days and then you boost it.

Now you can go into Google Analytics and see how much referral traffic that content has, both from organic and paid social and from the story that ran in a media outlet or blog.

In the content the story links to on your site, there is a call-to-action that captures the reader’s email address…which then goes into the customer relationship management software.

It looks something like this:

  • Your work, so far, has sent 500 unique visitors to your website
  • One hundred of those visitors clicked on the link to download additional content on the topic
  • Sixty of them downloaded content

At this point, you can report that 12% of the visitors are marketing qualified leads.

Now they’re in your sales funnel and they start to receive nurturing content from you (this is where paid and owned overlap).

Within a week, 20 of them request a demo of your software or use a coupon or discount code or schedule a consultation call or ask for pricing (or whatever you deem is the call-to-action at this point in the funnel).

Now you can report that four percent of the visitors—or 33% of the marketing qualified leads—are now sales qualified leads.

If sales then converts five percent (or one lead) and the lifetime value of a customer is $32,500, you can lay claim to that amount in your results report.

Of course, sales also gets credit, but you’re the one who brought them into the funnel and nudged them through it until they became a customer.

You did most of the heavy lifting and made the job of the sales person incredibly easy.

The PESO Model Belongs to Us

It’s certainly a different way of looking at things—and it does take some left brain jiggering.

But it’s worth switching your brain over once a month, as you create your results reports.

You can also use marketing automation software and Google Data Studio to do this work for you.

It doesn’t have to be done manually and, all in, can cost anywhere from $300-$3,200 per month.

As we begin to show executives that PR does sell products and services, we demonstrate that the PESO model belongs to us, but it definitely requires us to do more than earned media.

And, as we begin to take a leadership position on the integration of all four media types, the threat of being absorbed by marketing disappears.

That is a future I can get excited about, but it is up to us and only us.

I’m willing to fight for it. Are you?

If you want to learn how to do all of this and effectively prove your work does sell products and services, become PESO Model Certified today.


Photo by Garidy Sanders 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