Why and how PR pros should adopt the PESO model

In a system that merges four kinds of media—paid, earned, shared and owned—savvy communicators can keep up with the shifting landscape of news and information dissemination.

The business world has been upended with the introduction of social media and access to better data, but the PR industry has stayed stagnant.

Although there are industry voices committed to the idea that a PR professional who says she can tie her efforts back to your business results is a snake-oil saleswoman, there are also 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 sales and customer service. PR can generate leads, nurture them, and convert them to sales; it can attract new donors.

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 the Integrated PESO Model?

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

They are:

  • Paid Media . For a PR program, this is social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing.
  • Earned Media . This 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 or appearing on the noon news to talk about your product.
  • Shared Media . Shared media is another term for social media, and refers to the many ways organizations have begun to use it as their main source of communications—internally and externally.
  • Owned Media . Owned media is your content that lives on your website or blog.

When the PESO model is working at its best, it can help you establish authority, where others see you as an expert—even your competitors—and Google links to you on the first page of results.

How can you get started with the PESO model?

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

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

Shared Media

Shared media is not one-size-fits-all, but there are some basic rules that you can start with and 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. After the first week of publication, share your 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 other platforms. Test posts in those spots just once a day and see what happens.

Paid Media

Paid media refers to many activities, including 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 or take advantage of free opportunities, such as LinkedIn’s free advertising coupons to those who use the social network often.

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.

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 relies on reviews and ratings to gain more traction. They might be appreciative of the work you do there, and could 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 away! 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. 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.

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. A version of this article originally appeared on the Spin Sucks blog.

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