Gini Dietrich

PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model

By: Gini Dietrich | January 4, 2018 | 

PESO ModelThe business world, in the last decade or so, has been upended with the introduction of social media and access to better data.

This is good, but it also means change.

And change is hard.

Human beings don’t always like change.

Sure, we want the latest and greatest gadgets and love to try new restaurants, but when it comes to our daily routines and how we’re accustomed to doing things, it’s not quite as exciting as a new flavor of potato chips.

That’s why the PR industry, in particular, has stayed somewhat stagnant.

There are industry voices who will say any PR professional who says they can tie their efforts back to your business results is a snake-oil salesman.

And, on the other side, there are voices such as Monique Bonner, the vice president of marketing at Dell, who told Mashable, “It drives me crazy when PR people say they aren’t in marketing.”

PR is marketing and sale and customer service.

PR can generate leads, nurture them, and convert them to sales.

It can attract new donors.

And PR absolutely can provide value to other stakeholders.

Your PR team can do these things better if it uses an integrated PESO model and stops thinking of itself only as a brand enhancer and not a business driver.

What is an Integrated PESO Model?

The PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.

  • Paid Media. Paid media, in this case, doesn’t refer to big, fancy commercials and highly creative print ads. On the contrary, paid media for a PR program is social media advertising, sponsored content, and email marketing.
  • Earned Media. Earned media is what you know as either publicity or media relations. It’s getting your name in print. Having a newspaper or trade publication write about you. Appearing on the noon news to talk about your product. It’s what the PR industry is typically known for, because it’s one of the few tangible things done.
  • Shared Media. Shared media is also known as social media. It’s evolving as well, and continues to build beyond just marketing or customer service teams using it. Organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communications internally and externally.
  • Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog. You control the messaging and tell the story in a way you want it told.

When you integrate the four media types, you may find you also have influencer engagement, partnerships, and incentive programs that extend beyond your internal walls.

And when the PESO model is working at its best, it can help you establish authority.

Authority means you’re a thought leader.

Others see you as an expert … even your competitors.

And Google links to you on the first page of results because it also sees you as an expert.

This is the golden ticket.

But how do you achieve it?

Where to Start

The easiest place to start—because you can control the messaging, the anchor text, and the links—is owned media.

There is a four-step process to content creation, which includes the other three media types.

It begins with an editorial calendar.

This will help keep you and your team of writers on track, particularly if someone is a subject-matter expert and not necessarily a writer.

It’s a great way to both generate ideas and hold people accountable.

It is simply a schedule of content topics that helps ensure you always have a supply of written, visual, and auditory content.

As you begin to fill in topics for your calendar, start with one large circle in the middle of the page.

This is your main topic.

From that circle, draw six or more medium-sized circles. These are your subtopics.

From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.

Your main topic is the most competitive key phrase you want to rank for.

The sub-theme is more refined, such as questions people consistently ask in new business or sales meetings.

They support your main topic and go into your medium-sized circles.

Then, the small circles surrounding that medium circle is content you can produce on that one topic.

For instance, create a debate between someone in your office and an industry influencer, talk about trends around the topic or interview an industry influencer.

These go into the small circles.

Continue that until you’ve exhausted all your ideas around that one topic.

In this case, you would have 13 pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.

How Do I Use a PESO Model in My Business?

Now it’s time to use the PESO model.

You have the content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.

Shared Media

Shared media definitely is not one size fits all, but there are some good rules of thumb to start with … and then test for your own audiences.

  • Twitter. On the day your content is published, tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, tweet it twice, and once on day three. We like to use CoSchedule because you can create a template that will share your content up to a year. After the first week of publication we share our content on Twitter once a week for a year.
  • Facebook. While the algorithm at Facebook keeps changing so only those who pay get their content to show up in the news feeds of their followers, you don’t want to ignore your page. Post your content there once a day, and then consider sponsored content as part of your paid media campaign.
  • Google+. While Google+ isn’t great for social networking, it’s incredible for search engine optimization. Post content in there once a day.
  • LinkedIn. Post once a day to your personal account, your company page, your showcase page, and to the groups you belong to.
  • The Others. It’s important not to ignore StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and some of the others. Test post in those spots just once a day and see what happens. For instance, if you have a nice image on a piece of content and you pin it to a board on Pinterest, it could help drive a good amount of new readers.

Paid Media

Paid media may be in the form of paid amplification (such as Outbrain or Sprinklr), sponsored content, native advertising, or sponsorships of influential blogs.

It also could take the form of sponsored content on Facebook or LinkedIn or sponsored tweets on Twitter.

You can start with a budget of as little as $5 a day.

LinkedIn also often offers free advertising coupons to those who use the social network often.

Take advantage of those!

While you don’t want to spend money to sponsor all your content, it’s a good idea to test it with one piece each month.

I go into greater detail on how to do this in The Communicator’s Playbook, our new PESO model book.

Earned Media

Now it’s time to build relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and other influencers who may share your content—after they learn who you are and what value you might bring to their readers or followers.

  • On Twitter, create a list of bloggers and journalists you want to collaborate with. This will make it easy to follow them, share their work and start conversations with them.
  • Create a list of books and podcasts you want to review. Every author and podcaster needs reviews and ratings to gain more traction. They may be appreciative of the work you do there, and may be willing to do something for you in return.
  • On LinkedIn, create tags—such as “influencer,” “blogger,” “journalist” or “super cool kid”—so you can easily follow what they post and then share, share, share! This may lead to new relationships where you can ask them to share your content later.
  • On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Then any time they publish new content, share it with your own networks.

Eventually these influencers may share your content, include it in their own content or interview you for a piece they’re producing.

What Should I Measure in a PESO Model?

Now that you have a PESO model working well for your content, it’s time to determine the PR metrics and be certain it’s working.

For each media type, there are different metrics to track.

Paid Media. It depends on the tactics you use under this umbrella, but could include the following:

  • Social media marketing, such as Google AdWords.
  • Landing pages and how many people download your content and go into your email marketing database.
  • Increases in the qualified leads in your email marketing database.
  • New fans or followers who come from reading your sponsored content.
  • Leads and conversions.

Earned Media. Earned media got its name because you garner results from the relationships you earn—with influencers, journalists and bloggers.

To measure the effectiveness, consider the following metrics:

  • Influencer scoring: Does an influencer with 10,000 followers have the same score as someone with 1,000 followers? It could very well be that the person with 1,000 followers can incentivize purchase with 10 percent of his followers, while the person with 10,000 followers can incentivize purchase with only 1 percent.
  • How much Web traffic comes from a story about your organization? See if those news outlets and blogs are sending visitors to your site.
  • An increase in new audiences.

Shared Media. You have to track the number of fans and followers, because sharp declines—or a trend of decreasing followers—will tell you something is wrong.

But an increase, week after week, do not results make.

The following do:

  • Are you using brand ambassadors to help spread the word about your product or service? If you are, track their effectiveness.
  • Assign points to things such as likes, retweets, shares, and comments. This gives you numerical data on whether something works.
  • Use unique URLs, coupons, discount codes, or even telephone numbers only in your social media efforts. This will tell you whether you’re getting results from these efforts.

Owned Media. The beauty of owned media is it completely integrates with the other three media types.

Think about the following:

  • Pay attention to unique visitors, time spent on the site, and bounce rate. Those things, such as an increase (or decrease) in social media followers, can indicate success or failure.
  • If you have an organized owned media program, you’re likely distributing through email marketing. When you integrate your content with this paid media tactic, you can track things such as downloads and shares. Do people download the content? Do they read or watch or listen to it once it’s been downloaded? Is it so good they can’t help but share it with their communities?
  • Are people sharing your content? This is important to know, because it provides proof to a new reader that you know what you’re doing.
  • Track the effectiveness of a community (people who comment on and share your content) by whether they’re referring business to you.
  • Is it driving sales?

If you start with content you’ve created and use the PESO model to distribute it, it can help you find success you can build on.

Start with just one piece and move from there.

Walk, then jog, then run—and then you can fly.

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!

  • ginidietrich

    ltccarver You are hip!

  • I’m not sure explanations of the PESO model ever get old. They make so much sense (but are undoubtedly under-used….).

  • biggreenpen @ginidietrich Not sure I can add much to your comment other than the importance of integration. I used to work with larger clients with budgets for large paid programs. Now I’m trying to figure out the best way to develop and integrate paid programs for small clients. Have either of you tried UberFlip? Further suggestions welcome.

  • Gini, what is your response to Jay Baer’s model POGLE ?  I know you have been asked and have answered this question before, somewhere.

  • Hola Amiga Gini

    Como esta hoy? Quieres todo de pesos? Yo Gusto Pesos Me encanta gastar dinero. Mucho Pesos me hacen sentir rico.

    Sorry I was late. Was being mischievous taunting some marketing charlatans this morning because I felt a need for some fun. And great fun was had by all….well by me at least….my victims maybe not so much.
    This is a great post. It really is why businesses need…ahem…a strategist that is agnostic vs tied to a channel or product or niche. It is really hard to achieve this when certain people are biased based on what they do (silos) or what brings them income (poor compensation agreements).
    The other option is compensation based on sales/revenues/profits in a way that out weighs special interests. For example you might bill more with media relations than recommending a TV commercial. So how does the Brand/Client ensure you choose what is best for them vs themselves? 

    So while your post is dead on and very informative…it is very complex to achieve it. Small businesses are naive and big businesses have too many agencies etc each with self vs common interest.
    Best to just head to rosarita beach and party up with them pesos!

  • FGrau

    wellcomm muy interesante.. y con argumentos de ‘peso’ 😉 SpinSucks jmoral

  • laragilchrist

    rachaelbews thanks! I’ll check it out! U0001f44d

  • jmoral

    FGrau wellcomm SpinSucks U0001f601 desde luego!!!! Que bueno…

  • Digital_DRK I don’t agree with it at all. I think it is gimmicky.

    Granted is owned content that you put out there. All content that is published can be taken by anyone and used and reshared or published or changed etc. That then becomes earned media. 
    Leased is Granted media that they named leased because POGE sounds funnier than POGLE. They say Social Media here which is BS.

    So if I create content and only distribute it on Facebook. It is Leased. But if I distribute the same content on Facebook and Twitter it is then Granted?

    That is why people shouldn’t smoke crack or meth because they feel amped and can’t sleep and need to do something so they create gimmicks. I saw this exact thing on Breaking Bad season 4 btw.

  • Digital_DRK OMG can’t even comment there! I feel if you claim to be in social media and dont have comments you are a fraud. Right @ginidietrich ? What does dannybrown think? So I asked you don’t have commenting on your site? Any reason why? I find ‘s POGLE very gimmicky and disagree but can’t.

  • Howie Goldfarb  I tend to favor your you assessment I think  POGLE is trying to define and compartmentalize too many layers of channel types for a media life-cycle.  I have to disagree with your Breaking Bad season 4 gimmick opinion though. Season 4 continued as a solid character driven drama with plausible non-gimmicky plot development. 
    I believe all comments for must go through this publicist.

  • biggreenpen I keep preaching to the choir in the hopes that we reach new people with the message.

  • EdenSpodek biggreenpen I haven’t used UberFlip. Want me to ask around here and see if someone on my team has used it?

  • Digital_DRK I think YOU asked me about it. LOL! I think it’s too hard for people to remember, let alone execute. Do I think there are pieces of the PESO model that go deeper into this? Absolutely! But I’m trying to make it as easy as I can for communicators to do something that goes against their grain.

  • Howie Goldfarb I shall take your advice and retire now.

  • ginidietrich  I think I did ask you about this before!  Sound fair.

  • Digital_DRK You crack me up!

  • This needs to be made into a checklist!

  • LauraPetrolino Yes!

  • Dawnchoruspr

    ginidietrich Well said. Thank you for that U0001f64c

  • Digital_DRK ginidietrich so update. We talked on the Twitter. Jay says no comments because he says plenty of convo happens on the social nets. I find that a cop out. Most people turn off comments because they want no one putting in permanency on their site any dissension…especially if the disenter has the game and the proof that a thesis or post is wrong. Most social media rock stars of the bygone era have done this and now I can put Jay in that group. I feel having discourse on your blog/site is healthy and it is ok to be wrong. The probem with Thought Leaders (jay is one) vs Doers (like Gini) is like new products 9 in 10 new thoughts turn out wrong. I could give 20 examples in 2 minutes from the last 5 years.
    Secondly Chad and I talked a bit and I agree with you Darryl on compartmentalizing. His view of leased is if another closed site hosts my content. And his view of leased is putting that content in places that naturally are not closed.
    My point to Chad which he did agree with me about is that any content I created is my Owned content. But once it is published anywhere I lose control of it because of the open graph technology and the fact we screen shot and share links. So in reality anything published can be taken and done with it as someone pleases minus copyright/IP infringement.
    Great case in point is I have been banned from commenting at millennialCEO because they dont like that not only do I dissent, the fact is I am right almost always and thus I am a danger to their business. (Wouldnt be an issue if they didn’t just republish press releases, have almost all content paid/sponsored by brands trying to sell something, or was accurate in data and reality). But I can still bring my dissent up on Twitter, Facebook, my own blog , other websites etc. So while they own their blog posts (except when caught plagarizing like they did stealing a Huff Post piece and rewriting it for Forces). they can’t stop me from doing whatever I like doing with it as long as I don’t lie to defame them or republish and make money off it (why would I do that with content that is shallow, lying, or just so fantastical only they believe it?)
    So just kind of blew up POGLE huh.

  • I would just be happy if they get their outreach right. From my Inbox 5 minutes ago…

  • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich BOOM!  Okay I can see Chad’s interest in wanting to define how owned content transitions into the “non-owned / uncontrolled” sites. 
    When does Gini fall under the “bygone social media rock star” classification?

  • Danny Brown OMFG Mommy how could you not be ready for vacation!

  • Digital_DRK well ginidietrich was never a rock star so she still exists.

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  • Oh Gini… thank you for this post. One of my goals for the year is to really fine tune my content calendar, but this will help me create something even better.
    –Tony Gnau

  • Thanks for sharing this information. This model is something I plan on implementing into my business.

    Paperless Expert

  • Thanks for sharing your process Gini.
    The model inspired me to create a set of visual magnetic cards that we use at the office to plan and track our PESO campaigns.

  • Kevo2982

    Absolutely love this!

    By the way, i’m a new member and would love to be able to present this info to my firm in a powerpoint. Is that a possibility?

    • You absolutely may! Just credit Spin Sucks and it’s yours to use.

      • Kevo2982

        Awesome, thank you!! And I definitely will!

  • Video Stuff

    I have never heard before about the metaphor ”the snake-oil salesman”. Every day you learn something new!

    I’m a beginner in this industry so this will be very helpful, thank you.

    • I hope you are never called one!

      • Video Stuff

        Thank you, me too! Trust is a hard thing to gain and preserve.

  • Eileen Melnick McCarthy

    Brilliant stuff. Glad I found you.