Why PR and Marketing Should Embrace the PESO model

Traditionally, marketing and public relations have always been considered to be two distinct domains. While PR professionals would develop relations with journalists and offer crisis communications, ad agencies would focus on creative strategies. While advertisers always paid for distribution, PR did not. In an organization, there were clear lines preventing paid media (advertising dollars) from influencing earned media (editorial content). 

Gini Dietrich Spinsucks

There is a third component as well, known as owned media. This represents the content that has been designed, produced and published by the company/brand itself. With the growth of the Internet, brands grew the volume of their owned media by publishing on the World Wide Web in a cost-effective manner.

However, the rapid growth of social media and digital marketing led to the breakdown of the Paid-Earned-Owned model in 2008. There were several reasons for this:

·     With the growth of social media, customers became their own brands, publishing and sharing content.

·     Publishers looked for ways to monetize their media properties, and hence advertorials slowly became sponsored content. The walls between advertising and PR began to break down. Moreover, social media allowed people to freely crowdsource opinions.

·     The Internet gave everybody the power to publish content. Consumers began caring less about the source of the content and were more interested in an aggregated news-feed.

In 2014, digital marketing expert Gini Dietrich came up with a new model known as the PESO model. While this has been well-received in the world of PR, the marketing industry has ignored it for the most part.

What is the PESO model?

PESO simply stands for “paid, earned, shared, owned” and helps to distinctly segment all the marketing channels available at the company’s disposal.

Let’s look at it more closely:

Paid: Stands for the content or ad distribution in exchange for money.

Earned: Establishing brand authority by circulating or trading valuable content.

Shared: Sharing content with friends and contacts.

Owned: Digital channels that are completely controlled and owned by the brand.


The PESO model is important as it opens up a variety of channels for PR professionals as well as advertisers to publish and circulate content beyond the traditional domains laid out in the two respective industries. The real success of the model lies in utilizing all four aspects of it to create a campaign or advertisement for a product.

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