Apr 25, 2018 / by Lacey Miller

In our recent survey of communications professionals, more than half — 52% — say C-level marketing, communications, or other executives control earned media budgets. No problem! Because it’s time for marketing and PR to create a whole new level of alignment.


It’s time to get all of your brand’s internal content creators on the same page. One way to do it is to start thinking and talking about content the way marketers do. Many marketing professionals use the PESO model to strategize content that is paid, earned, shared, or owned. Each content type has associated uses, costs, and benefits.


P = Paid Media

E = Earned Media

S = Shared Media

O = Owned Media



Your task is simple: Understand PESO and evangelize the power of E, earned media, to drive success across the entire content model. Let’s work backwards through PESO to break down what we mean:  


Owned Media: When marketers think content, they often think owned media. This is the content a business creates to tell its story, sell its products or services, or educate the marketplace. Websites, articles and blogs, white papers, videos and all kinds of fun stuff fall into this category. Creating this content represents significant investment.


Fact: Marketing tends to spend a lot of budget to create owned media, but comparatively little on driving interest in the content they create. Guess what? PR can maximize attention to owned media by adding an outside viewpoint, driving interested traffic, and increasing SEO.


Shared Media: Every day, people create content on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, you name it. Sometimes their snaps, tweets, or posts are about your business. This social content may be positive, negative, or neutral — and its value to your business may be the same.


Fact: Earned media becomes shared media. Articles that highlight your brand, business value, or point of view are much more likely to be shared than paid media, or even owned media. When earned media is shared, the value to your business is measurable.


Earned Media: Why do people trust earned media? They appreciate a timely, relevant, independent point of view. Great placements and articles help people who are seeking information become aware of a business — and appreciate its value — in context to something they care about at that moment.

Fact: News is a constant conversation. Rather than sending off a press release “at the end,” of a busy launch cycle, skilled PR practitioners add value to the news conversation across the lifecycle of business development. Say a business plans to drop a new “seed” of value into the marketplace in 6 months. PR can prepare the “soil” beforehand, amp up attention at launch, and offer new angles to keep the conversation going far beyond launch day.  


Paid Media: Unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday, you can bet your audience ignores advertisements. And that’s what paid media is. Yes, some paid media formats that blur the line between ad and article, but paid media is bought and paid for, and people tend to skip it completely or regard it with a grain of salt.

Fact: Earned media is more influential than paid. In fact, paid strategies may be better used to leverage the trust earned media offers. Using ads to drive traffic to earned media may be a more effective way to generate attention for owned media than ads that promote owned, directly.


And there you have it! Whether your marketing department uses the PESO model or not, the big point is to start a conversation, and look for bridges to more holistic content creation strategies in which PR plays a connected role.


Whatever you do, don’t allow your organization to fall into the “channel bragging rights” trap. Recognizing PR’s place in the PESO model should not be viewed as just one more task on marketing’s to do list, but as a way to fuel success across every kind of content your business cares about.


In the digital and mobile era, customer journeys are complex. Constantly connected and awash with information, today’s consumers and B2B decision makers will be exposed to your business across many channels and content types. That’s as it should be — because it can take 6 to 8 separate touches to generate a qualified sales lead.


Arguments over which type of content is "better" reflect silo’d thinking. Instead, use the power of digital to measure and strategize across the PESO model. When we understand what content customers value, PR and marketing can work together to create additive, influential experiences that set brands apart.


Ready to put earned media at the heart of your marketing mix? Request a demo to see how TrendKite helps you prove your impact, make data-driven PR decisions, and power your digital strategy.


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About Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.