On 27th April, world-leading public relations influencer and author Gini Dietrich is making her first ever appearance at a UK event. She’s been a regular on the US speaking circuit for years, and will be talking about digital communications strategy and the PESO model, which she introduced in her 2014 book, ‘Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age’. Ahead of her UK debut, I asked Gini to explain a bit more about PESO, what it is and how it works.
At Digital Download, Gini is taking part in an open Q&A about digital communications strategy where you’ll get the chance to put your own questions to her. Tickets are on sale now, but there are only a small handful left so if you’d like to talk to Gini, book quickly!
This is a guest post from Gini Dietrich, Founder of Arment Dietrich
When most people outside of the profession think of PR, they imagine someone spending their days pitching the media on covering their companies and executives, collecting a big stack of media clips along the way. They may envision a few fancy parties here and there for brand awareness and product launches. In short, they think Samantha Jones.
But today’s modern PR professional is doing a lot more than that. A typical daily to-do list can include authoring bylines for executives, conducting and distributing surveys, writing news releases, blogging, pitching your executives to journalists, arranging customer testimonials, handing social media, building community, creating email marketing funnels, building Facebook ads, and authoring presentations.
In short, PR pros are now responsible for a full range of digital marketing activities.
This change in deliverables necessitates a change in measurement and planning, as well. PR professionals must focus their efforts on activities that will be able to show measurable results, instead of being seen as a nice-to-have business expense. Implementing a communications plan that’s based on an integrated PESO model is the first step in doing this.
What is an Integrated PESO Model?
In 2014, we developed the PESO model as a way to highlight the evolution of the work PR practitioners do, and show the interconnection and dependence of the communications activity it takes for a successful digital communications program. Although we initially developed this as a lense through which to view PR activities, it’s increasingly applicable to marketing.
The PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.
- Paid Media. Paid media for a PR program includes social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing.
- Earned Media. Also known as publicity or media relations, earned media is getting your name in print. It’s what the PR industry is typically known for because it’s one of the few tangible things done.
- Shared Media. Shared media is also known as social media. It additionally involves a significant influencer relations component.
- Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as the content you own and have full control over, such as your website or blog.
The consistency of communications and the integration of messaging and activities across the organization—beyond your PR team’s walls— helps establish authority for your company and your executives.
Authority means you’re a thought leader. Others see you as an expert … even your competitors. And Google links to you on the first page of results because it also sees you as an expert.
This is the golden ticket. But how do you achieve it?
Start with Owned Content
The easiest place to start—because you can control the messaging, the anchor text, and the links—is owned media. This includes your company’s blog, website copy, print publications, and the resources you make available to your current and prospective customers such as eBooks, videos, etc.
Unfortunately, chances are your owned content is distributed in dozens of places throughout your organization, without a central owner or repository. To understand what you’re working with, you’ll want to start by creating an inventory of all your organization’s owned content. You can do this simply in a spreadsheet, noting the content title, its subject matter, who owns it, where it lives, and if it needs to be updated.
Next, you want to create an editorial calendar. Although there are a number of technology platforms you can use to manage your them, they can be as simple as a spreadsheet or your written notes on a paper calendar. It is simply a schedule of content topics that helps ensure you always have a supply of written, visual and auditory content.
With your content inventory in mind, ask yourself a few questions: What are some gaps in your content library? What topics need more fleshing out? What content has performed well in the past that is due for an update? Can you reuse or repurpose some existing content in a new way, such as turning text into a visual medium or vice versa?
Maintaining an editorial calendar for your PR content will help keep you and your team of writers on track. It’s both a great way to both generate ideas and hold people accountable.
Here’s the process we use to build a content map to identify the topics we want to create content for, to populate our editorial calendar. As you begin to identify topics for your calendar, create content maps for each topic, starting by drawing one large circle in the middle of the page.
This is where you put your main topic.
From that circle, draw six or more medium-sized circles. These are your subtopics.
From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.
In the above example, “How to Write Blog Posts That Get Read and Shared” is the main topic.
The sub-themes are more refined, such as “tricks to write popular blog posts” and “generate blog post ideas.” These go into your medium-sized circles.
Then, the small circles surrounding that medium circle is individual pieces of content you can produce on that one topic. For instance, create a debate on your blog between someone in your office and an industry influencer, talk about trends around the topic on your weekly podcast, or interview an industry influencer on video. These go into the small circles.
Continue adding circles until you’ve exhausted all your ideas around that one topic. In this example, you would have identified 11 pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.
How to Use the PESO Model in Your Business
Now it’s time to put the PESO model to work.
You have your owned content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.
Shared media best practices and channels are changing all the time, but there are some overarching rules of thumb you can start with and test their effectiveness with your own audiences.
- Twitter. On the day your content is published, tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, tweet it twice, and once on day three.
- Facebook. Post content to your page once a day, and consider sponsored content as part of your paid media campaign.
- Google+. While Google+ isn’t great for social networking, it’s incredible for search engine optimization. Post content in there once a day.
- LinkedIn. Post once a day to your personal account, your company page, and your showcase page.
- The Others. It’s important not to ignore Instagram, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and some of the others. Test post in those channels just once a day and see what happens. For instance, if you have a nice image on a piece of content and you pin it to a board on Pinterest, it could help drive a good amount of new readers.
Paid media includes paid amplification (such as Outbrain), sponsored content, native advertising, or sponsorships of influential blogs. It should also take the form of sponsored updates on Facebook or LinkedIn or sponsored tweets on Twitter.
For those of you who don’t think your budget is big enough to support paid media, think again. You can start with a budget of as little as $5 a day per social channel, and test just one piece of content per month. This allows you to get your feet wet with small tests of audience and content without blowing through your budget.
In addition to paying to distribute your own content, you’ll also want to pay to amplify favorable earned media coverage.
Last but not least is earned media, which is also known as media relations. Historically defined as cultivating relationships with journalists, it’s expanded to include building relationships with bloggers, industry analysts, thought leaders, and other influencers who may eventually share your content or collaborate with you to create original content.
Here are a few ideas to get you started with earned media:
- Identify the people who influence your customer buying decisions. Search for them on the key social media platforms you are focusing on, and follow them there. On twitter, create an influencers twitter list and add them to it. Not only will that make it easy for you to see what they’re sharing and talking about, it’s a solid first social interaction with them at the same time.
- Submit reviews of the industry-related books you read and the podcasts you listen to. Every author and podcaster need reviews and good ratings to gain more traction. Consider how you could additionally feature an interview with this influential content creator on one of your owned channels, such as your blog or podcast.
- On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Then any time they publish new content, share it with your social networks.
As you build your relationships over time, these influencers may share your content, include you in their own content or even interview you for a piece they’re producing.
If you start with a piece of content you’ve created and use the PESO model to distribute it, it can help you find success you can build on.
Start with just one piece of content and build from there.
A version of this post first appeared on Spin Sucks.