Using the PESO Model to Drive an Effective PR Content Strategy

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While we typically like to plan for the following year in the fourth quarter, how many of you actually got it done? Did you, like me, spend the holidays thinking about what you’d like to accomplish in 2017? Sometimes, despite our very best efforts to write down our goals, we tend to skip over creating a documented PR content strategy.

This is a significant missed opportunity. Recent research from The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found the top two factors in increased content marketing effectiveness are doing a better job with content creation (85%) and developing or adjusting their content marketing strategy (72%).

Why are these two factors so important in your content’s success? Without a documented content strategy in hand, you’re left creating random pieces of one-off content that may or may not support your business objectives and the goals you’ve set for your PR efforts. Luckily, the PESO model makes it easy to define an effective plan, and ensure your content will produce measurable results.

What is a PR Content Strategy, and How Does the PESO Model Fit in?

A PR content strategy is a documented plan that identifies what content you’re creating, for which audience, to meet which objectives, and with what projected results. At a minimum, your plan should include:

  • Brand personas. Who are you trying to reach with your content? This should include your ideal customer and those who influence their purchase decision.
  • SMARTER goals. What are the measurable, time-bound goals you need to accomplish through your efforts?
  • Metrics. How will you measure your results against your goals?
  • PESO tactics. Which PESO model tactics will you deploy to reach your goals?
  • Ownership. Who’s responsible for the PESO activities?

Defining Brand Personas

If you are creating content that attempts to appeal to everyone, then it’s destined to meet the needs of no one. That’s why it’s important to understand what your brand stands for, and in turn, who the ideal buyer is for your product.

Start with understanding why your company exists—what’s your unique offering and what’s your brand promise? Next, is your brand one that reinforces, supports, or challenges the status quo way of solving your industry challenge? With this information in hand, you can define your brand personas.

If you are a meal delivery service, your brand personas could include a 20-something urban professional, a couple looking for a “Netflix and chill” dinner, and startup office managers. The content you create—and the PESO tactics you deploy—to reach each of these audiences may overlap, but are likely to be distinctly different.

With these personas in mind, how does that affect how your brand should present itself across your communications channels? What sort of tone is most likely to resonate with them?

For instance, a financial services firm that is focused on easing high-achievement Baby Boomers into retirement products wouldn’t want to have a flippant, sarcastic tone that relies heavily on current pop culture references.

How can you stand out from your competition in a positive way that helps you connect with the people most likely to purchase your product or services?

Setting Your Content Goals and Identifying the Right PESO Tactics

When identifying the right PESO model tactics to deploy, it’s important to understand how different types of content work best at different points in the buying decision-making process, and map to different types of goals.


Your top-of-the-funnel goals should be to build industry awareness, attract links, and reach new audiences. To achieve these goals, you’ll want to focus on influencer outreach, and crowdsourced content. Align your media pitching and your editorial content calendar to keep your message focused.

Your middle-of-the-funnel goals focus on creating content that informs an audience that has already become aware of your organization. This content maps to deeper awareness goals, such as to create awareness of your company’s solution to an industry problem and to help prospects remember your organization.

  • What are the questions your customers keep asking your support teams about?
  • What are the keywords coming up in searches that lead to your blog or website?
  • What social media channels and content are driving subscribers to your emails?

Your bottom-of-the-funnel goals come into play when your ideal buyer is ready to make a purchase decision. That means your content goals should focus on how well it builds product awareness and converts prospects to customers.

  • What makes your product stand out from the competition?
  • How is your company different in its approach to customer support and product development?
  • Why are you better suited to solve this challenging industry problem than your peers?

This is where your customer and employee stories come into play:

  • What do your existing customers say about you?
  • Who are your employees and what unique experiences and aptitudes do they bring to the table?
  • What is the driving force behind your company?

By using the PESO approach to creating an integrated PR content plan, you ensure you will not be creating your content in a vacuum. Instead, you’ll be making sure you have a well-rounded approach to reinforcing your company’s message—and meeting your business goals—across all the channels you touch. And attaining those measurable results is how you put PR on the map as a business enabler, and not just a nice-to-have supplier of vanity metrics.

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About Gini Dietrich

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. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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