The PESO Model stemmed from a revolution in the public relations community and is often underused by marketing departments. The acronym stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned components. The model can be helpful when trying to organize and recognize promotional opportunities, which includes segmenting all of the marketing channels into discrete groups. It allows marketers to look at marketing efforts through four lenses to see if there are any opportunities to integrate additional channels into a new or existing program.
The Evolution of the PESO Model
- In 2008, marketing communications had 2 and a half houses.
- Public Relations handled earned media, such as press mentions and publicity for which no money was exchanged.
- Advertising handled paid media, which is exposure in exchange for money.Some marketers recognized a third house: “Owned” media, which was when the brand published its own content and built and nurtured its own audience
- Publishers kept their houses separate and a lot of effort went into preserving the delineation.
- Around 2008, PR started to drastically change.
- Blogging and the internet forced PR to recognize the Owned component of the marketing landscape as a first-class citizen.
- Social media and blogging gave consumers a voice with the same reach as publishers, creating another channel that wasn’t paid, earned or owned.
- The walls between ad sales and editorial started to fall as publishers grasped for revenue.
- Publications folded. Journalists were laid off or move from staff to freelance, thereby breaking down the established PR relationships.
- Peers gained authority as review sites and social media allowed anyone to crowdsource.
- Public Relations had a bit of an identity crisis as they tried to integrate social media into their practices, only to have algorithms turn social into a paid channel under their feet.
- PR needed a new model to provide more than just the earned media channel.
- In 2014, Gini Dietrich introduced the PESO model, giving a name and infographic for the PR industry to rally around.
- Now, most modern PR firms work within at least three, if not all four areas to get results for clients.
The Background of PESO
- The model is a means of segmenting all of the marketing channels into discrete groups.
- It allows marketers to look through any of four lenses to see if there are opportunities to integrate additional channels. It also provides a means of making sense of and organizing existing resources.
- The Four channels:
- Paid: When money is exchanged for distribution, whether an ad or content.
- Example: Online advertising to get the word out about the program. This might include banner ads, a paid video promotion and some Outbrain/Taboola placements of some blog posts sharing the “craze” on various news sites.
- Pros: Scalable, reliable and fast.
- Cons: Low trust, expensive and ephemeral.
- Earned: Trading valuable content for an established authority’s audience.
- Example: Press relations, hoping a story on the campaign would land on everything from daytime TV to the local paper, as well as the mommy blogger contingent.
- Pros: Authoritative, cost-effective reach and long-term benefit.
- Cons: Unreliable, hard to scale and expensive.
- Shared: Amplifying content through your own audience.
- Example: Call to action that, to complete the challenge, you must share a video of yourself with the purple hair in a prominent public place.
- Pros: High trust and low cost.
- Cons: Unreliable and not scaleable.
- Owned: Aggregating an audience that seeks you out for content and distribution of your content to that audience.
- Example: The official “Purple Hair for the Cure” website which would include touching videos of others who raised contributions with purple hair because they had been touched by the disease as well as regular updates on fundraising goals. Visitors could subscribe to get updates in their email.
- Pros: Low risk and long-term assets.
- Cons: Slow and not independent.
- REFERENCE: Pros and Cons Table
- Paid: When money is exchanged for distribution, whether an ad or content.
- A grey area exists when influencer programs are often compensated. They live in two buckets, earned and paid.
Charity Of The Week:
How To Apply The PESO Model
- PESO gives us an easy checklist to run through to recognize opportunities to expand or introduce new synergies into an existing program.
- It forces us to look outside of our comfort zone.
- It also provides a structure or framework for our efforts, making for easy categorization and budget/resource allocation.
- New times call for a new model to organize our marketing efforts.
- The PR industry gives us PESO and it’s a great set of lenses we can look through to organize and recognize opportunities, even for “paid” natives.
- PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned. Each channel has its own pros and cons and each can compensate for the flaws of others.
- Marketers should adopt this model to help us put some order to our efforts and recognize opportunities to extend our programs into appropriate mediums.
I want to thank everyone for making a little time for us this week.
We hope you want to join us on our journey. Find us on IterativeMarketing.net, the hub for the methodology and community. Email us at [email protected], follow us on twitter at @iter8ive or join The Iterative Marketing Community LinkedIn group.
The Iterative Marketing Podcast is a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste.
Until next week, onward and upward!
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Iterative Marketing podcast. I am your host, Steve Robinson, and with me as always is the determined and gritty Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Earin: I am good, Steve. How are you?
Steve Robinson: Good. I don’t mean gritty in the sense of –
Elizabeth Earin: I was wondering when you said that.
Steve Robinson: I’m reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, and it’s fascinating. so definitely worth a pickup. I’ll talk about it more when I’m further into it. So what’s new in your world?
Elizabeth Earin: I have a 2-year-old, so we are sick yet again.
Steve Robinson: As are we in our family. I hope my voice continues for the duration of this podcast because my children did infect me again, so…
Elizabeth Earin: It’s like we live in a petri dish. It’s just, I don’t think we are ever going to get better. Maybe when they move out. I have no clue.
Steve Robinson: Well, I have got three kids, so I’m hoping that the third one here is getting all the germs the other two can bring home and she’s going to have the most phenomenal immune system by the time she’s four. And I think we will be smooth sailing from there. So what are we talking about today, if we not talking about sick children?
Elizabeth Earin: We are going to talk about the PESO model. And we have referred to this before in other episodes, and we will refer to it in the future. And so given that, we decided it was probably a good idea to take some time and explain what it is, and I’m really excited we are talking about this. I mentioned this briefly to you before the podcast, but I was actually talking to a gentleman last night, John, who has a startup that he’s self-funding. And he called me last night for some advice and we were talking, and I said, have you heard of the PESO model? And he said, no. And I said, well, perfect because we are recording a podcast on it tomorrow, so I will forward you the episode as soon as it’s recorded. But this really covers each of the different areas, paid, earn, shared, and owned. Sorry, thought I said that backwards for a second and I think it’s important and it’s where a lot of marketers get hung up, and so I’m very excited that we are talking about this today.
Steve Robinson: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s really underused by marketing. I think that it came out of PR, and it’s underused by marketing and I think it’s a great, great, asset — and I’m looking forward to the discussion today, especially the part where you go through the pros and cons of each particular aspect of the model : Paid, earned, shared, and owned, and when each one shines, right? So you can layer them appropriately based on your objectives.
Elizabeth Earin: But before we do that, you are going to get into a bit of the background of where it came from. And I’m excited about this, because as I was speaking with John last night, unfortunately I think a lot of marketers have this idea that specifically when we talk about public relations and press releases, that our press release is this magical document that is going to help get their company all of this fame and fortune, and unfortunately, sort of the model and how we operate in and the world in general has changed and so that one document doesn’t necessarily – it’s more than just the words on the paper. There’s a lot more behind it, and we are going to talk a little bit about that today.
Steve Robinson: Yes, and for those PR pros that have been around the block and have lived this because it was their world, if I make any misstatements here, please email us at [email protected] with some corrections. We’ll get them out in a future episode because I have worked around PR professionals much of my career, but I haven’t actually been in the trenches. So if I misspeak, please send the correction.
Elizabeth Earin: And I was in the trenches, but I was in the trenches a while ago and for a short period of time, so I definitely don’t have the expertise that I am sure some of our listeners do.
Steve Robinson: So, here’s where PESO came from. It really came out of an evolution in the PR industry and has since started to gain a little bit of traction in marketing overall. It really comes back to a time period – there was an inflection point that occurred kind of around 2008 where public relations had a huge sort of change and identity crisis all at once. And prior to 2008-ish, the world was different. You really had basically two to three houses of marketing, right? You had your paid and your earned, and those were obvious. Paid is when money is exchanged for getting your message out, and then earned is when no money is exchanged for getting the message out. So publishers would try and cater to this as well and try to make sure that they were separating their houses internally, at least the good publishers, right, would make sure that there was a wall down the middle of the publisher’s house that you had ad sales on one side that handle the paid end of things, and then you had editorial on the other side and you wanted to make sure that your paid wasn’t influencing your editorial.
Elizabeth Earin: And thank you for clarifying good houses, because anyone who’s worked in PR knows that there are those ones that you want to avoid, that aren’t exactly playing aboveboard and there’s a lot of tit-for-tat. So thank you for calling that out, because that is something that I think all PR professionals have endured.
Steve Robinson: Yes, yes. It was the ideal, right? And then there is this third house called owned media, and owned media has sort of stood on its own. This was the opportunity for a brand to develop its own voice, its own megaphone, build its own audience through its own publishing. And prior to 2008-ish, that wasn’t that big of a deal anyway because it was expensive. You had a launcher on news platform, your own like literally print publication, but as blogging came online, in particular as branded blogs came online, all of a sudden, every brand could be a publisher and if it built up enough of an audience, it really could develop an owned media channel. And so owned became a thing as well. And for a long time, this is really how public relations operated. They stayed within their earned channel and maybe dabbled in owned for the brands that could work, until things started to change. And there were a lot of things that contributed to these changes. As I mentioned, blogging came on and that really amplified that owned component as well as giving everyday people the opportunity to launch their own media platforms. And now all of a sudden, you had citizen journalists, and where did they fit into this model? Social media gave everybody even further voice, because now, you didn’t have to know HTML and launch a blog, but now you could just start pushing stuff out into the world. And so now your consumers actually have a voice and an audience. Where do they fit into this model?
Elizabeth Earin: Well, and I remember back in probably 2005-2006 working for a very large brand and having that conversation, do we get involved in social media? Do we set up a Facebook page? And whose responsibility is it? And we literally went back and forth, me and marketing, our advertising manager and our PR manager, and kind of sort of argued who owned it. And none of us wanted it because none of us really understood it at that point, and so that kind of added an extra little hiccup there.
Steve Robinson: It was a challenge. And a lot of public relations professionals were like, well, isn’t social just basically earned, only with smaller audiences? Isn’t it the same thing? And others would push back and say no, it’s its own animal. It’s completely different. And this is also back at a time when you publish something on Facebook as a brand. It actually got read. So it was a channel for pushing out content. As well, it kind of sort of sat in the owned bucket. So it got really, really muddled and it didn’t help as well that the publishing model was starting to break down as well. So you had publishers that were folding. You had journalists moving around constantly. So all the relationships that these public relations professionals had built up over the years weren’t quite as valuable because the journalists weren’t staying put, and it became harder to monetize those relationships. As well, those walls were falling between editorial and sales, and now we have branded content coming out and content studios are launching within publishers. And all of a sudden, it’s like, well, what’s the difference between paid and earned now? And all of this really led to sort of an identity crisis because public relations was looking at the fact that, now, a lot of them had owned social. The algorithms were forcing them to turn that into a paid channel where they weren’t supposed to be playing. The walls between paid and earned were falling with the publishers and they needed a new model. And thankfully, one of the more prolific personalities or influencers within public relations, Gini Dietrich, launched a book called Spin Sucks. There were a couple of other books coming out about the same time about this evolution of PR, but Gini proposed a model called the PESO model that we are talking about today that really allowed public relations to escape its little earned hole and look at marketing more holistically as it went to do its job.
Elizabeth Earin: So that, I think, is a great summary of sort of how this evolution has occurred. If we haven’t lost any of our listeners yet, then now I know we mentioned earlier, but PESO — what it actually stands for is Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.
Steve Robinson: Yeah. And let’s go through what each of those actually means, right? So they are all channels or groups of channels that we can use to reach our audience. And by putting them into these buckets, we are able to look at our marketing efforts through a different set of lenses depending on what our objectives are, and understand the different ways we could go about getting our messages to our audience, right?
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah, definitely. And the different opportunities that exist because, even as we sort of look at these four channels, there is a lot of crossover between them. They are not distinct and separate, and we are going to talk about that in a little bit as well.
Steve Robinson: Why don’t we define what each one is? Do you want to start with paid?
Elizabeth Earin: Sure. So paid advertising, you mentioned this earlier, but it’s when money is exchanged for getting our message out there, whether it’s an ad or content. We are paying someone to help us distribute that to our target audience.
Steve Robinson: And earned is exactly the opposite of that. It’s when we are able to trade the value of the content itself to reach an established authority’s audience. And I think that established authority’s part is important, because it’s sort of what separates a media outlet from any old customer of ours, right? So they have to have an audience. They have to have some authority within that audience, and we give them some great content. Off of that great content, they turn around and distribute that content and give us a mention or even play some of our messaging.
Elizabeth Earin: The next one, shared, kind of touches on earned a little bit in that an audience is sharing our content. They are putting it out. There, the difference is that this is our own audience and they could be sharing content that we have created. They could be sharing ads. We see that all the time. I remember when I first had my son, I think it was Johnson & Johnson came out with one of their tear-jerker ads about moms and it was a full-on advertisement. It was a commercial that they shot, and I shared it with my network of moms like crazy because that really resonated with who I was. And so it can be content or it can be an ad that’s been created.
Steve Robinson: Yeah, and this is the area where I think there’s a little bit of ambiguity and not everybody is on the same page as to what shared means, because as a distribution channel, that can also kind of include the brand’s own social media properties and the brand sharing stuff on social on the hopes that it gets then re-shared and distributed. That’s harder to do these days without paying money, so it falls kind of more into paid these days, but again, that kind of comes into the gray area, right?
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah, there’s definitely some crossover there.
Steve Robinson: But the point is that it’s everyday people. It’s not media outlets that are sharing this or influencers or bloggers with huge audiences. It’s normal everyday customer.
Elizabeth Earin: And don’t – There’s still a power there. I may not have a network of 100,000 or 300,000 people on my Facebook page, but I share it with other people who have like interests to me and they share with the network and it’s just this exponential burst of brand awareness that goes out there to ideally your target audience, because a lot of times, we are hanging out with people with like interests to our own.
Steve Robinson: And we’ll talk about this more when we get to the pros and cons, but there’s also a higher level of trust. I mean —
Elizabeth Earin: Definitely.
Steve Robinson: — I am sure that your sisters trust your word more than they trust Parents magazine or some other mommy blogger or even the New York Times.
Elizabeth Earin: I think it depends on which sister you talk to, but potentially, potentially.
Steve Robinson: The last one is owned. So, the O in PESO is owned media. We talked about that earlier. That’s when you actually control the platform and the audience. So you are building up your own audience that comes to you to seek out your content, so they are subscribed to your newsletter or they have another means of getting your content when they want to, and you don’t have to pay for that distribution.
Elizabeth Earin: So let’s provide some examples to help, I think, put this into better context for our listeners. When we are talking about paid, we are talking about print and online ads. We are talking about outdoor, advertising, sponsored stories, native advertising falls into this category as well.
Steve Robinson: Earned is going to be coming back to more traditional PRs, your press mentions, your influencer relations, even investor relations could be considered earned media.
Elizabeth Earin: I think we are going to talk about this later, so I don’t want to go too far into it, but again, none of these – very few of these are specific to just this one channel that they are talking about. And influence relations, I think, is a really good example of this where there’s crossover between paid and some of our paid and shared, and so we are going to get into that a little bit later. These aren’t necessarily distinct buckets that don’t have any crossover.
Steve Robinson: So your shared is going to be your — these are your own brands, social accounts, because they are means to get stuff out there to be re-shared and re-tweeted, etc. Other examples would be, like, sweepstakes that you run where people have to go and share content to participate, or other efforts to encourage sharing of your own content, online reviews would fall into this area as well as even basic referral programs, trying to spark that word-of-mouth, it really falls into that shared bucket.
Elizabeth Earin: And then owned is – exactly, it’s the channels that you own, the channels that you control that no one can take away from you or shouldn’t be able to take away from you. It’s going to be things like your blog. It’s going to be your podcast and print magazines. Anyone who is a Costco member, you get that monthly Costco —
Steve Robinson: Costco Connection.
Elizabeth Earin: Costco Connection, yeah. And it’s their publication, and that’s owned by them and that’s something that they control all of the content and all of the messaging that goes within that publication.
Steve Robinson: So if we were to put this in the context of, like, a fictional scenario, right? What would this look like?
Elizabeth Earin: So if we are talking about, let’s say, a charity looking to raise donations for medical research, they could apply the PESO model to help round out and create a very comprehensive marketing program that touches in each of these areas. And I think you came up with sort of an idea for a campaign of your own. Would you like to share your brainstorm here?
Steve Robinson: Sure. You don’t want to take credit for my fictitious campaign here?
Elizabeth Earin: No.
Steve Robinson: That I totally blatantly ripped off the ice bucket challenge?
Elizabeth Earin: I will let you do that, yeah.
Steve Robinson: So let’s throw this fictitious campaign out there. We’ll call it Purple Hair for the Cure, where people pledge and go with their friends into dying their hair purple to get the word out about some treatment or raising money for research on some medical treatment. If we looked at this fictitious scenario, you’d have a paid channel to get things started for sure, right? So, you would have to put together some online advertising to get the word out about the program, otherwise nobody’s going to know about it. So this could include banner ads, video promotion, maybe some Outbrain or Tabula placements of some blog content in order to get that sponsored content out there as well in order to get kind of ignite the challenge.
Elizabeth Earin: And then moving into earned, you’d be looking at press relations. So you are hoping to get a story about the campaign on the Ellen Show, or on your local news, out to your local paper. Or perhaps a blogger that has a connection to this specific medical treatment, get them to write about it.
Steve Robinson: Shared media would include doing things like building a call to action into the campaign, encouraging those people participating in order to really qualify to share their purple hair online, maybe in some public prominent place or something fun like that. So you are building in that shared component into the campaign itself to try and amplify the message among those people that are participating.
Elizabeth Earin: And then owned is going to include the official website, the Purple Hair for the Cure website. That is going to include information about the campaign. It’s going to include touching videos of other people who have raised funds for this. This is the one that always gets me every time and makes me cry, but people — why they have contributed to this, why they have dyed their hair purple and sort of the personal connection that it has to them as well as regular updates on fundraising goals. And then there’s an ability there for visitors to subscribe to get emails, updates as well as information for making donations.
Steve Robinson: I want to circle back, and something that Elizabeth brought up a couple of times, there is gray area. Not everything fits cleanly inside one bucket. And I think the greatest poster child is influencers, right? Because if you have done any work in influencer marketing, you know that that’s kind of both a paid channel and an earned channel. You are not going to get an influencer that doesn’t believe in your product. It’s not a good match if they don’t, but at the same time, most of those influencers expect to be compensated to be giving you those mentions and getting your name out there. So it falls on both sides of that bucket.
Elizabeth Earin: And one more thing before — I know we are getting ready to head to a charity break, but one more thing I want to say is any one of these channels on their own has power, and it’s great, but when you combine all four of them together, you have created a comprehensive program that is touching people along multiple touch points in their day. They are hearing about it from their friends. They are seeing it on their local news. Banner ads are popping up, and now you have really created something that they cannot ignore, that they would have to literally be living under a rock to not understand what the purple hair challenge is.
Steve Robinson: So without further ado, let’s go and help some people.
Elizabeth Earin: Before we continue, I would like to take a quick moment to ask you Iterative Marketers a small but meaningful favor and ask that you give a few dollars to a charity that’s important to one of our own. This week’s charitable cause was sent in by an anonymous listener. This listener asks that you make a contribution to 4 Paws For Ability, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children with disabilities and veterans by training and placing quality task-trained service dogs. Learn more at 4pawsforability.org or visit the link in the show notes. If you would like to submit your cause for consideration for our next podcast, please visit iterativemarketing.net/podcast and click the “Share a Cause” button. We love sharing causes that are important to you.
Steve Robinson: And we are back. So before the break, we went through a long and rambling history of public relations to finally get to what the PESO model was. We gave you a few examples so we could make it tangible. Now let’s talk about how you should decide where to really put your efforts for a given marketing program, which channel groups or channels are going to work well for you under certain circumstances or others. Do you want to start off with some of the pros to – we will start with paid, and you want to start with some of the pros? Maybe you can be the pro person, Elizabeth. I’ll be the con person. I’ll stay in the negative camp.
Elizabeth Earin: Oh! Okay, someone is going to get to be so positive here. So when we are talking about paid media, one of the really fabulous benefits of this is it’s very scalable. The more money you spend, the more distribution you have. And so if you have got a limited budget, you can really use this to help define and create a program that fits within the budget that you have but then still reaches your audience. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can scale this, whether it’s based on the audience that you are targeting, the geography that you are targeting, the frequency of your advertising, but again it’s very scalable. The other thing is it’s very reliable, you know. You are creating these ads. You are putting them out there so you know that you are getting guaranteed exposure for the exact message that you want people to be receiving. And finally, it’s fast, especially when we are looking at digital media. Media that you place today is going to be in front of your audience today. Print advertising obviously can have a little bit of a longer lead time, but again, it’s very quick and you can decide the timeframe that it’s running. It’s up to you when that appears in market.
Steve Robinson: Now, there are cons to paid advertising as well. So when you look at your paid channel, its lower trust. Everyone’s a little bit skeptical when they see an ad. They know it’s an ad. They are not necessarily going to believe it, at least not on the surface, so it’s not as effective as other channels from that standpoint. It can be expensive, particularly if you try to scale it. So as you reach more audience, it’s going to cost you more. So if you need to get something out to a broad group of Americans or even globally, you are going to have to pay for that. I think one of the biggest downfalls is its very ephemeral. When you stop paying for advertising, it doesn’t take very long for the benefits to start to wear off. You are going to have some residual brand equity, but the ads go offline, people are going to stop clicking on them, that newspaper gets tossed in the garbage, people are going to stop looking at it. So when you turn off the tap, the water stops flowing right away.
Elizabeth Earin: When we look at earned media, there are definitely some benefits to using that as well. And the first one, and I think this is the one that sort of pops out when we first talk about this, is it’s very authoritative. It’s not just you talking about your brand. Someone else is coming in and saying, yes, this is something that you should be paying attention to. It’s giving you some third-party authority that money cannot buy. And so there’s definitely a benefit of the authority benefit side attached to earned media. One of the others is that it’s cost-effective. You have the ability to leverage the size and trust of a very established audience. And my friend, John, who I was speaking with last night, national publication within the industry they are targeting is giving them a write-up, so this falls under earned media. They are an unestablished company and now someone is coming and saying, hey, take notice of these guys. That’s not something that they can buy. That’s not something that has – it doesn’t have that trust behind, and now this audience is going to say this publication, I trust trusts this company. I should check them out. And then finally, there’s some long-term benefits of it. Unlike the digital media or paid media, when it stops running, it sort of disappears. Past press mentions or placements can be — live on forever. They can be referenced and really create some long-term SEO benefits, so there’s definitely some long-term benefits associated with your earned media.
Steve Robinson: And of course, with all of the pros, there are the cons. So there are downsides to your earned media as well. It’s not as reliable. You can’t really guarantee a press mention. And particularly, if you start to get into more of your commercial type messages, it could fall flat altogether. So it’s somewhat hit-or-miss. Certainly the better relationships you have with the press and the better your — PR hates the word “pitch,” but the better your content is, the more likely it’s going to get placed, but it’s still a gamble. And then other cons include that it can be hard to scale, so it’s not like if you just put more money or more effort towards PR, you are automatically going to get that much more reach or impressions. It’s going to top off at some point. There are a limited number of outlets that are going to run with your story and then you are done, right? And well, it can be very cost-effective. It can also be a bit expensive if you are going outside to get it done. So, it’s not expensive in the actual like media dollars, it’s expensive in time and resources. And so if you are doing it yourself internally, it’s going to be a big time suck. If you are going outside, you are going to have to pay some public relations professionals money to do this on your behalf with limited guarantees on what they are going to accomplish.
Elizabeth Earin: Thank you for mentioning this, because I feel like a lot of especially small businesses think that earned media is free media, but it’s not. You may not be necessarily paying the dollars to get your message out there, but there is a big time investment. Especially if you are doing this right, there is a big time investment in making those connections, building those relationships and getting that media placed or that message placed.
Steve Robinson: I think the key to understand is it’s not a direct correlation between the amount of time or money you put in versus the amount of reach and benefit and trust and message you are going to get out. It really depends back on, like, the value of that content and then the relationships of the person who is putting that to work, right? So if you have got high value content and you are either working with the public relations professional who has great relationships or you personally have great relationships, you are going to get that much more bang for that time investment than if you are working with content that maybe is more commercial in nature or isn’t as valuable or isn’t as good or you don’t have the relationships.
Elizabeth Earin: Jumping into shared media, there is a very high level of trust in shared media. And you touched on this earlier, but people trust their peers more than they are going to trust media or an ad, even more than they may trust the earned media that you are getting. A recommendation from a friend or a parent or a co-worker, someone who’s in a similar situation who they trust and know and understand is going to have a much higher value to them than a publication or even paid advertising. Also, there’s low-cost. The ability to amplify your message is tied to its quality and not necessarily the dollars behind it. And so again, if you are putting out great content that is of interest to your audience, then while there is a cost of producing that content, you can get it out and reach people in a way that, if you were trying to do this through paid, could cost you quite a bit of money.
Steve Robinson: But along with that really cost-effective reach is — the flip side of that is it’s really unreliable. I don’t know how many clients come to us and said, well, can we produce a viral video? And the answer is, no. We can produce a really great video and we can do our research to set everything up so that we think this is along the lines of something that could go viral, but at the end of the day, there have been studies to really get into the probability of something going viral and being a shared media success and it’s really unpredictable, really unreliable and it really comes down to chaos theory and chance so it’s not something you can count on. It’s also unscalable. It’s not a matter of, well, if we just produce more media or more content then that means that we are going to get more shared amplification and it doesn’t work that way. You are limited based on the audience that you have and their audiences as they share their content, and you are only going to get the reach that you are going to get.
Elizabeth Earin: And finally looking at the last – owned. Owned media is low risk in that you own that channel that you are talking on, so you can’t be shut down by the medium when its policies change or the platform dies. If the algorithm changes — there’s no algorithm that’s going to change. It’s going to impact whether or not your content is being seen. So, very low-risk. It’s something that you own and also it’s a long-term asset. Again, you own it and so the evergreen content that you are creating today is going to draw audiences as long as the content is relevant, and your audience will continue to serve you as long as you nurture that audience. And so this is really a long-term asset and you have talked about long-term term assets in past podcasts and blog posts. We will link to that in the show notes, but definitely a pro of owned media.
Steve Robinson: Owned media has one huge con though: It’s slow. In other words, if you don’t have an audience today, you are looking at six months to a year to build that audience to the point where you can really put it to work. And so this is not something you can just turn on overnight; it’s going to take time. The other thing is owned media cannot operate in a silo. It’s not just build it and they will come, right? You are going to have to pay for some distribution at least early in the life cycle of the owned media in order to build that audience. At some point, that audience will refer others and it will start to grow organically, but in the beginning, if nobody knows about it, nobody’s going to be talking about it and nobody else is going to know about it. So you are going to have to layer on some paid, earned or shared on top of your owned in order to be able to get it to ignite or grow.
Elizabeth Earin: Thank you for mentioning this because I think, in my experience and talking to some of our clients and clients I have had in the past, this is the biggest misconception. It’s not a build it and they will come. It’s build it and do a bunch of other work and then they’ll start coming, but there’s that step in between that has to happen before that audience is going to start to interact with the content.
Steve Robinson: So how can we, as marketers, take this PESO model and really put it to work for us?
Elizabeth Earin: Well, I think the first thing we need to keep in mind is we need to try not to limit ourselves to our comfort zones.
Steve Robinson: Yeah, I think all of us have a tendency to be most comfortable and put the most effort in the bucket, the paid, earned, shared, or owned, that we have the most experience and have experienced the most success within, and that can put on some blinders where we stop seeing the opportunities in the other buckets. And so by having the PESO model at our disposal, we can now take a look at our efforts and say, where are there other opportunities? Where can I create synergies where layering some shared component on top of what I’m doing from a paid component could amplify what we are doing even further. Where can I introduce earned in addition to paid, shared, and owned, right? So where can we layer this together in order to really create something amazing?
Elizabeth Earin: Yeah. To your point, it really does force us — or I shouldn’t say necessarily force us. It gives us the opportunity to look outside of our comfort zones. And not only that, but it gives us the structure and the framework of what to do once we do that because, again, we are not exactly sure where to start. And the PESO models sort of gives you those connections. It connects the dots for you so that it’s easy for you to categorize and budget and allocate your resources in a way that you can take steps forward. With that being said, I do want to take a step back and recognize that you don’t necessarily want to do all of these at the same time either. If you have not done these before and you don’t have the infrastructure setup and you don’t have the content set up, trying to accomplish each of these is not going to be a successful tactic. So it’s completely okay to start where you are comfortable. It’s just don’t stop there. Make sure you keep moving forward.
Steve Robinson: And for us in the context of this podcast and the writing that we do on iterativemarketing.net, we refer to the PESO model a lot in order to make sure that we are not becoming myopic or putting on blinders in how we talk about marketing and iterating on marketing. We want to make sure that we are looking at marketing as a whole and not limiting ourselves to just digital or not limiting ourselves just to paid, that we really are working to apply continuous improvement across the gambit.
Elizabeth Earin: So that brings us to the end of what has turned out to be a pretty long episode today. Thank you for sticking with us; we appreciate it. Quickly just to summarize: Times have changed. It is not the same PR and marketing world that was 10, 15 or even 20 years ago, and so we need to find a new model to organize our marketing efforts. And thankfully, we have that in the PESO model. And then it gives us a great sense of how we can look at our organization through different lenses and find different opportunities to help to promote our brand and our products.
Steve Robinson: To reiterate, PESO stands for paid, earned, shared, and owned. And each channel has its own set of pros and cons. The beauty comes when you start to layer them on top of each other to make one compensate for the other.
Elizabeth Earin: And we, as marketers, should be open to adopting this model to help us put some order to what we are doing every day in our marketing efforts and recognize that there are other opportunities out there, even if they scare us a little bit. It’s something that — we may want to use the PESO model to try and extend our marketing efforts until we find appropriate mediums that really work to help us get our message out.
Steve Robinson: I want to thank everyone for making time for us this week. If you did get this podcast through a paid channel, please come back to our owned channel at iterativemarketing.net/podcast and subscribe. If you are in the media and want to mention us, please feel free; we’d love the earned media. And finally, share our podcast with your friends so that we can get some shared media value out of this as well. Again, thank you all for making time. Until next week, onward and upward.
Elizabeth Earin: If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to get them emailed to you each week at iterativemarketing.net. There, you will also find the Iterative Marketing blog in our community LinkedIn group, where you can share ideas and ask questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. You can also follow us on Twitter; our username is @iter8ive or email us at [email protected] The Iterative Marketing podcast is a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by Seastock Audio Music Production and Sound Design. You can check them out at Seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week. Until then, onward and upward!