The PESO Model – An Integrated Approach to Modern Communications

by Jennifer Marsnik

Not long ago, core business activities like advertising, public relations and marketing content creation were silos within an organization. But today’s communication channels lend themselves to a more integrated approach.

The PESO model is a communications strategy that combines four categories of media: paid, earned, shared and owned.

Integrated programs use a variety of communication assets and channels in all four PESO categories. Together they work toward building brand awareness, creating audience engagement and establishing credibility to achieve marketing and public relations goals and objectives.

PESO media types are essentially what their individual names imply:

  • Paid media encompasses traditional and modern channels including print, radio and television ads, sponsorships, native advertising placements and display ads or sponsored content on social media platforms. It may include nominal investments for sponsored tweets or significant spend on Super Bowl commercials. Paid media options are available today to reach nearly any audience with an array of messages and fitting almost any size budget.
  • Earned media is publicity gained on its merits, such as placements of bylined thought leadership articles, brand mentions and in-depth coverage generated by press releases or story pitches and source quotes in editorial content. Today, outreach to secure this coverage isn’t limited to journalists, but by pitching bloggers and other influencers who reach your core audiences. Earned media requires time and patience, but the credibility it builds can be invaluable.
  • Shared media occurs when paid, earned or owned media is distributed to a wider audience. This occurs directly, by sharing it via website, blog, social media, emails or even things like traditional mailers. It also occurs when others share that content or media asset, an outcome with both benefits and risks. Having others organically share your content puts it in front of more eyes and provides a strong endorsement for your message. The risk is the loss of control over who shares that message or any subsequent comments they might make about it.
  • Owned media is content that resides on your website, blog or other platform and is generally useful to your audience. This may include informative blog posts, white papers, e-books, webinars, podcasts, videos and other content. Assets like a company LinkedIn or Twitter profile may be considered owned media. As the creator or curator and owner of the content, you control its message or the narrative you want told.

While the PESO acronym is useful to remember the four media types, they aren’t necessarily employed in that order; in fact, the reverse order is more common. Owned content assets are often created to serve as the foundation for a holistic PR and marketing program. Then, as part of an integrated campaign, shared media can be used to distribute that content, earned media to validate it and paid media to amplify it.

It is where these four media intersect that we achieve things like SEO, lead generation and a community of advocates and partners to help promote your brand and key messages.

Want to learn more? Contact Edge Marketing to see how a PESO approach can work for you.

About the Author

With Edge Marketing since 2007, Jennifer Marsnik specializes in helping clients develop and implement strategic plans that support their overall business goals.

She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys golf and cheering on the Twins, Vikings, and U of M Gophers.

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