Happy New Year! I hope everyone had very happy holidays and a happy start to your year. 

I have a friend who always says we should celebrate the new year on the first day of school. That’s when things really change. The only thing that changes on January 1 is the calendar. But on the first day of school? New routines, new classes, new friends, new teachers, new rules, new activities…it all changes. 

I digress a bit, but I hope with the change in the calendar came resolutions, and you are ready to get back to work!

This is a great time to talk about 2023 planning, what you should be thinking about, trend-wise, and what you want to be sure you don’t miss.

We have quite a few things happening this month that will help you with your planning, help you stay abreast of trends, evolve some of the work you do, and—most importantly—measure your efforts to the objectives of the organization (or client’s organizations). 

New Year, New Goals

Ah, the start of the new year. We’re all optimistic about the things we can achieve, and life looks fun and exciting. The gym is also full of people who won’t be there past February, so I have to be extraordinarily patient for 45 days or so. But yay! A fresh new year.

With the start of a new year comes new plans and ideas, with the need to understand how to measure it all so that our work is valued the same way sales and marketing are. It’s not an easy task, but it can be exciting if you look at it as a fun challenge to unravel. 

Part of that challenge is figuring out how to use the PESO Model™ to advance your career, provide new ideas, and measure your work. 

The PESO Model™ is a framework my team and I came up with TEN years ago (that’s crazy!) to evolve the work we do with clients. 

It’s More Than Earned Media

Back in the day, we primarily did earned media. And, for those of you who do that work, you know there are peaks and valleys. If there is a new product or service or a new campaign or some actual news, you have lots of stories placed. Everyone is happy because it feels like the entire world is talking about the organization. Hence, the peaks.

But, as you well know, those stories dry up when there isn’t anything to talk about or announce. So you have valleys. And, when you run an agency, clients don’t particularly love paying a retainer when they perceive there is no work happening. (Of course, we know it’s not that simple, but that’s how they view it.)

We were looking for a way to fill the valleys so that the peaks were less eventful and there was something happening that drove results consistently. 

The PESO Model™ Framework

Enter the PESO Model™, which includes paid, earned, shared, and owned media. It was fairly easy to add owned media to the work we already did, but it was a little tougher showing how all of that creative work affected sales (more on that after the break). 

Then we added in shared media, particularly as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn became household names and executives stopped thinking about them as a fad. 

The last thing we added in was paid media. It was the easiest thing to measure, but it felt like it flew in the face of what we did because we had to pay for it. But once we changed our thinking about it—after all, how many advertorials did you write early in your career?—we realized we could still provide proper communications and storytelling even though we were paying to place or boost it.

But the real magic came when all four media types were used together. It became a fully integrated model that also allowed for influencer and email marketing, community building and partnerships, and events and affiliate marketing.

But the absolutely most valuable thing about implementing the PESO Model™? It created credibility, trust, and authority—both online and off. And…it was measurable. 

And that is the golden word for 2023: measurable. 

PESO Model™ Vanity Metrics

I know measurement is the bane of existence for many, but I’m here to tell you it’s not as scary as you may think. It’s storytelling using data to support your narrative. When you think about it that way, it becomes less scary and more intriguing. 

First, let’s talk about the metrics you might use when measuring your PESO Model™ efforts. At the very tippy top of the marketing funnel are what I like to call vanity metrics. They make you feel good because you can see them increase pretty rapidly, but they don’t matter to an organization’s goals.

That said, you do need them so you know what’s working—and what’s not. They will also tell you when it’s time to tweak efforts or abandon something altogether.

They include:

  • Website traffic from the stories you place, your contributed content, and from interviews and feature articles. For website traffic, you want to look at several things: how many unique visitors were on the site in the past 30 days, how many pageviews were there, and how many of those visitors came from work that you did? In many cases, the organic and direct traffic will be correlated to the work that you do.
  • Blog traffic from all of the content you produce. Likewise, the blog traffic will tell you which content resonates and which does not. Track unique visitors and pageviews, just like with website traffic. In the case of the blog, though, pay attention to the top pages people view. We’ll come back to why that is important later.
  • Branded search terms for the organization. Branded search terms will help you understand if people are searching for your organization—or not.
  • Search visibility. Search visibility data will tell you if your website has increased or decreased in search. 
  • Number of subscribers. An increase in blog subscribers means your content is resonating and people are sharing it. A decrease means something else is going on—people hate your content, the website is broken, you’re not getting the same open and click-through rates you once did (which goes back to your content not resonating). 
  • Social media fans, followers, engagement, saves, and shares. While you track these numbers, overlay them with engagement, shares, and saves. This will tell you what people like to share and what’s falling on deaf ears.
  • Boosted content and promoted social media. If you’re doing any boosted content or promoted social media, the data you get from the social media networks or content amplification software will tell you what to keep doing more of—and what to stop doing.
  • Domain authority. Domain Authority is a metric first developed by Moz that predicts how likely a domain is to appear in search results compared to its competitors. It is a signal to Google that people trust their content and it’s relevant to their audiences.

PESO Model™ Data-Driven Metrics

After your vanity metrics, you can start to get into data-driven metrics. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. They include:

  • Leads. When we think about how PR pros are generating leads, we typically look at organic and direct website traffic. If the organic traffic increases, we know that your content marketing and social media efforts are working—and that you’ve appropriately optimized everything for search. When direct traffic increases, it’s because people are actively typing your URL into their search browsers. We can correlate that to increased brand awareness, which means your earned media efforts are working.
  • Marketing qualified leads. The marketing qualified leads, then, are those that have come in through your efforts and have shown some interest in buying from you.
  • Sales qualified leads. After the marketing qualified leads are ready for sales, they become sales qualified. They’re ready to move into the sales process, which can mean different things for different companies. But the gist of it is that they’re likely ready to talk to sales—see a demo, talk about pricing, receive a proposal, or meet in person.
  • Shortened sales cycles. If you’re in a consumer business, this is less important to you. But in a B2B organization, a sales cycle could be anywhere from two days to two years. Work with your sales team to figure out how long the average sale takes and set a goal to beat it.
  • Increased revenue. Figure out how you can affect growth. If you have ecommerce, your campaigns will drive to landing pages where people can buy. If you don’t sell online, your content, email, social media, media relations, and other efforts will be measured through the leads you generate, how you nurture them, and how you help sales convert them.

Where to Learn More

There is a lot more to do all of this, of course. Far more than I can cover in one article. But the good news is that there are two places where you can get more help: PESO Model™ Certification and Fundamentals of Media Measurement (coming in the next few weeks!).

Just click on the links above so you can see how each will help you both implement a PESO Model™ program and measure it. Now is the time to think about how to do something new and more effective in 2023. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Get Even More Help

If you want to learn more about measurement, the PESO Model™, and trends in communications in general, join us in the Spin Sucks Community

It’s a community full of crazy smart professionals. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s smart…and you might just learn a thing or two from your peers.

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