For the past couple of weeks, we’ve unintentionally been doing a deep dive into the PESO Model™.  I had been thinking about all of the changes that have been brought about in paid media from a communications perspective, so we started there. And then there was a discussion in the Spin Sucks Community about all of the challenges that earned media is wrought with today, so I went there next.

Well, it just makes sense to discuss shared media today—and I guess we’ll go on to owned media next week! Yay! My editorial calendar is planned out!

It’s important to note that you wouldn’t necessarily start with paid media in your PESO Model program just because it’s at the start of the acronym. And you probably wouldn’t start with shared, either. 

Shared media is an entire one-fourth of the model, it’s just as important as the others, but it doesn’t also mean every brand should have a presence on every account.

Not in the least.

The places you choose to engage should be relevant to your industry and your audience.

I know you’ve seen this poorly done. So why do we try to be in all places and be all things to all people? It just doesn’t work.


One of my favorite stories to tell is of a client that hired us and then wanted us to “be all over social media” for them. When we asked why the answers were versions of “because we need to be.” We kept asking “why” (we’re like two-year-olds…why, why, why?), but they couldn’t give us a strategic reason outside of “because we need to be.” So we suggested we find out where their audience was hanging out and already engaged.

If we guessed, we would have said LinkedIn for this particular client. But, rather than guess, they sent a survey and asked their customers. And guess what? LinkedIn was in the second spot.

In the first spot were forums for their specific industry—and it wasn’t something any of us had considered. The client didn’t even know these forums existed. So, the first year we only worked inside the forums rather than trying to be all over social media or LinkedIn.

Of course, we grew it from there, and we eventually got to LinkedIn and other places, but we started in one place, got good at it, and grew from there. It took a long time, and patience is hard for executives, but they trusted us, and it worked. Today, they still have a primary focus in the forums and have a large following on LinkedIn.

How to Validate Your Shared Media Use

It’s a good thing we were obnoxious toddlers with our constant asking “why”—and you should be, too. 

It’s crazy easy to be distracted by the newest, shiniest penny. Does anyone remember Clubhouse? 😂

Ask yourself “why” and then validate your usage once you’ve answered “why?” at least five times.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Search. Take your top 10 keywords and search for them on Google. Where do conversations around those topics occur? Look for the specific social media platforms where there seems to be the most discussion. For instance, if I Google PESO Model, I find many people who still haven’t adequately attributed the model to us (we have our work cut out for us on that front). We see most of the conversations happening about it on Twitter, with LinkedIn as a close second.
  • Analyze. Log into your Analytics and look at your referral report. Which social channels send you the most traffic? If many people are coming FROM a particular platform, it should be on your consideration list.
  • Survey. Conduct a survey and ask clients or customers to share where they get their information online and which social channels they use. This can be interesting, and you may find out something you didn’t expect about how your audience uses social media (like we did with our client and the forums). 
  • Conversation. Slip a simple question about social media channel usage into your next conversation with a client or other audience members. Ask your customer service or success teams to do the same.

Create a Shared Media Strategy

If you put a little time in on the front-end of adding a new social network, you can carefully decide where you want to spend your time and whether or not the latest and greatest social network is the right place to be. You also might find out that your assumptions about which social platforms you should use were way off.

Your shared media messaging should be informed by your company vision, your brand voice, and what you know about your audience. If your blog is very professional and information-based, it doesn’t make sense for your Twitter feed to be an unending stream of cat videos.

The rest of your strategy bolsters consistency across your shared media.

That Is Consistent and On Brand

Last week, when we discussed earned media in a challenging environment, we talked about how most journalists will check out your social media feeds before featuring you in a story or as a source. And according to the 2022 State of Journalism Report from MuckRack, 77% of them go to Twitter first.

If what they find is at odds with what you’re pitching them, they will question whether or not you can deliver on your promise. To stay on brand and focus on your target audience, it’s best to be on fewer platforms and have some checks and balances. And it’s OK if you’re not on Twitter. It’s far better to be good at one social network than try to add more in simply because one audience prefers it. 

If you do this, you’ll get great at making connections and driving engagement, which will result in increased revenue.

Every time.

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.

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