PESO model

The PESO model and how it can help your business or client

The term PESO model may not mean much to you, but if you create content for your business or manage any aspects of PR or marketing, you will already be utilising this model in some way.

Put simply, PESO takes in all important forms of media that are relevant to marketing and PR and combines them into a framework. Not only does the framework provide an overview of marketing tactics, but it also serves as a helpful planning tool and enables you to look for opportunities that arise from the areas that overlap. Developed by Gini Dietrich, it’s a great tool to use when planning for the big picture. It also helps put in context the media channels that you use and how they work together.

PESO model explained


What is the PESO model?

Each letter represents a different form of media and the action it takes. It breaks down like this:

  • P is for paid

    Perhaps the easiest to grasp, paid media refers to advertising that you pay for. Traditionally, this would have referred to TV, radio and print media ads, but the advent of social media has changed all that. Nowadays, a typical strategy takes in social media ads, advertorials, influencer marketing Google Ad campaigns, retargeting strategies and native ads (the kind that look natural on the platform where they appear), and any form of sponsored content. Email marketing for lead generation falls under here as well.

  • E is for earned

    The mainstay of traditional PR, and an area we have a strong focus on here at AMBITIOUS, earned media refers to third party endorsements. This might include online reviews, blogger and influencer relations, media mentions in newspapers, magazines and websites, link building and broadcast interviews. It takes in all the coverage that you don’t pay for, but that you have to work hard to get – hence why it’s called ‘earned’.

  • S is for shared

    Shared media is often referred to as social media too, but we believe there’s a wider context at play here. Yes, much of the sharing is done on social platforms, and this has become a key driver in the success of any PR strategy. However, a good PR plan will consider the partner networks that can be harnessed too. Partnerships, charity links and influencer engagement all play a part in ensuring those shares spread with meaning across social networking.

  • O is for owned

    This means all the content that is owned by you, and that you have full control over. Owned media includes your company website, blogs, newsletters, reports, and white papers, and audio and video content. It doesn’t include social content. While it’s true that you produce the content that lives on your social channels, you don’t have ownership of it if that channel closes down. Your content marketing efforts sit here.

The framework is summarised in the diagram below:

Venn diagram of the PESO model

What’s the best PESO model combination for a successful PR strategy?

There’s no doubt that earned and owned media live in the heartland of PR. Not only that, but skilled PR professionals will still spend considerable time and energy developing these tactics for their clients.

But to focus on these at the exclusion of the others is to miss the point.

The media landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade, as has the PR industry, and a good PR plan will recognise the value of considering the PESO framework as a whole. The four parts may not have equal importance in every campaign, but it’s likely they’ll play a part in some way.

Consider these questions:

  • What is the objective of your campaign? How will each type of media help you to achieve this? It’s likely that one form will lead your activity and the others will overlap at different points.
  • How much trust will each media type bring to your business or client?
  • What is the cost of the activity? While it’s clear that paid media comes at a cost, what about other costs, such as getting assets created for owned media?
  • What areas of overlap exist and how can these be fully utilised? For example, will investing in more owned content give you better opportunities to be shared and a higher chance of media coverage?

The PESO model in action

You’ve created some great content for your business or a client, but how can the PESO framework combine to give it the best chances of being noticed?

Perhaps you’ve interviewed a fascinating thought leader for a piece to be published on your company blog. It’s great content, but simply publishing it on your website won’t give it the attention it deserves.

Let’s look at the PESO model. When it comes to owned media, not only can you use your blog to publish it, but you can also feature it in your next newsletter, social media posts and on prominent promo spots around your website to link visitors to the blog post.

Opportunities to gain earned media may be less obvious, but there are often ways to get those important media mentions.

  • Ask the interviewee to syndicate the blog post on their own blog, or to post it as an article on their LinkedIn page, mentioning that they were interviewed for your company and ideally linking back to your site.
  • Scan the interview for newsworthy topics. Did the influencer comment on something relevant to your industry or to the general news agenda? If so, draft a press release with their quote and include a quote from your founder. Add some useful tips or insight and send it out to relevant titles.
  • Email contacts in your industry network to ask if a link back to the blog can be featured in their upcoming newsletters.

Using the PESO model

Your opportunities for sharing the content across social media are wide and varied. At the very least, a snippet and link back to the blog can be posted on each social channel. Here are some more suggestions:

  • Break the interview down into a series of short quotes and overlay text onto images for social posts.
  • Short audio or video clips from the interview if it was recorded in this way.
  • Takeaway advice and tips – particularly shareable on LinkedIn if it’s industry-related.
  • Republish the entire post as a LinkedIn article by your CEO, tagging in the influencer and encouraging them to share too.
  • ‘Behind the scenes’ images or videos work well as Stories on Instagram and Facebook.

Now it’s time to consider some paid opportunities. Has a Facebook post already gained some traction? If you can see it’s a popular topic, spend a little of your budget to boost the post and make it work harder for you.

Or maybe this topic has good search potential? If you’re already running a Google Ad strategy then consider adding the page to your campaign to boost its rankings and drive traffic through to your site.

Of course, this is just one example with a single piece of content. Applying the PESO framework to your bigger PR strategy will take some careful consideration and mapping, and at this level, the overlap between each strand will become more obvious.

Lead with the media that will deliver the strongest results for your campaign’s objective and integrate the other media types when they overlap in an effective and valuable way.

Your next steps

Contact us to understand how you can apply the PESO model to your PR and marketing work. Drop us a line [email protected].

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  1. […] can you use your own channels to boost your profile – The Peso Model, which stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned, is the best model for spreading the word when […]

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