The way companies communicate and present themselves to the world is evolving – and at a fast pace. From the explosion in social media sites, to the millions of smartphones that mean brands are now right there in a customer’s hand. Marketing teams have more channels than ever before at their fingertips and the opportunity to reach and engage with new and existing customers is huge.
As the technology, different comms channels and importantly ‘Joe Public’s’ behaviour continues to develop, so does the way teams need to use and approach their marketing – if they’re to achieve its full potential. Lots has been written on this subject, but one concept in particularly that’s been causing a stir in the PR and marketing world is the PESO model.
So what is it and why do you need to know about it?
The PESO model
Developed by American PR and social media guru, Gini Dietrich, the PESO model stands for Paid Earned Shared Owned. In a nutshell, it is basically about the need to combine each of these elements (paid, earned, shared, and owned media) to achieve company goals and adapting how you use the different media based on the goal you’re aiming for – for example, building credibility will require a different approach to that of nurturing prospects.
What the PESO model offers is a framework for you to shape your strategies and tactics round. Different components of PESO are likely to be more effective for different parts of a buyers’ journey and decision making process.
Here is a breakdown of the different elements in more detail:
· Paid Media – as the name suggests, any media you pay for
This may include things like social media ads, sponsored posts and online advertising. Also above the line stuff like direct mail and sales promotions, which still have a place in the mix.
· Earned Media – what others say about your brand
This is achieved through positive PR – getting a journalist, blogger or other online ‘influencer’ to write about the company and share your messages, so giving it a third-party endorsement. For example, if you were a B2C then getting your products featured in a national newspaper’s ‘Top ten….’ list is going to work wonders. Or to get your product reviewed positively by a blogger with a huge, targeted following would also boost sales (as long as your product’s good!).
· Shared Media – like earned but more specific to social platforms
This is all your social sites and includes things like video sharing and online forums.
· Owned Media – content you create
This is anything you own and create. It may live on your website or a company blog, but the important part is that it is content you create and control.
PESO in action
So how does it work in real life? A very simple example would be:
1. A company produces a well-researched and well written white paper that will be of interest to potential prospects. The paper is published along with a blog post on their website = owned media
2. The link to the blog is then shared across the company’s social media channels. It is picked up by others who like, comment and re-share it = shared media
3. An industry journalist sees the online activity and decides to do an article on the topic, citing your company and the white paper = earned media
4. To make sure it is seen by exactly the right people and the specific, target demographic, the company also runs sponsored social media ads that take people through to the blog. This ensures every avenue has been used to its full advantage = paid media
While this is a very simplified example, it shows the part that each chain in the PESO model plays. Without using all of them, there is a huge gaping hole of missed opportunities.
For your own situation, look at all four elements of PESO and think where they fit within your sales process and how you can best use them. The lines between the four areas will be closely interlinked and in some places be downright blurry, but that integration is important too. They shouldn’t be looked at as separate entities. The secret is to see the big picture and then break it down, with PR, marketing and sales teams sitting round the table together to form a plan and put a strategy in place.
What the PESO model highlights very clearly, and what industry boffins have long known, is that content is a massive deal. It is at the base of everything and making the digital world go round. The content you’re creating, the content you’re paying for and the content produced by ‘influencers’ is all having an impact for your brand. As a company, you’ll be most successful (and more credible) if you are generating and providing good quality content across the board, as part of a content marketing strategy.
Providing high quality content is vital for reaching and engaging with people. And let’s not forget, it is also important when it comes to search engines. Long gone are the days of sticking in a few key words and churning out any old copy for the sole purpose of getting a better Google ranking. Search engines are now far cleverer and far more sophisticated. Their search isn’t limited to keywords, it is looking for the context and meaning behind someone’s search terms.
Ultimately, the PESO model and similar streams of thought are all getting at one thing – how your company represents itself to the outside world. Start by understanding who you are talking to, what is of value to them, and where they look for this information. Once you have that, every piece of content needs a purpose and every type of media needs to be used, creating a full circle of strategically driven, interesting and tailored communications. If you ensure you’re best leveraging what you have to offer in this way, then you won’t go far wrong.