PR and PESO – the inevitable shift

In today’s digitally driven world, the media landscape continues to undergo dramatic shifts as more consumers search for news and content digitally. For the PR industry – both here and abroad – this has meant a complete overhaul when it comes to traditional media relations and publicity strategies. Gone are the days of the traditional media release and relying solely on publicity to create awareness around a client’s businesses and brands. As we look to assist our clients in getting their messaging on to rapidly growing platforms such as TikTok for example, PR professionals are having to be more creative than ever when it comes to creating and disseminating content. One way of doing this is by utilising the PESO model – Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned – and identifying ways to make content and messaging work across all these media types.

Originally coined in Gini Dietrich’s 2014 book, Spin Sucks, the PESO model merges the four complementary media channels to ensure awareness and credibility at different touch points for brands and corporates. And it ensures inclusion on the first page of Google. So, what exactly are these media types?

Paid: Examples of paid media include social media advertising, paid influencer content, sponsored content through media partnerships, email marketing and Google search key words. An interesting (and entertaining) example is the Beat the Winter Blues campaign we recently delivered during lockdown for our client, retailer Game – contracting musical talent to bring joy to shoppers around South Africa; or the Grandparents Day campaign we ran with Ouma Rusks.

Earned: Earned media is publicity in the traditional sense – pitching media releases or stories to journalists, bloggers and influencers for organic use on their own channels that appear as articles, interviews, product recommendations or thought leadership content in business publications.

Shared: Shared media is essentially social media – including platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube and TikTok. These platforms can be used by brands and businesses for customer service, promotion of products and services, distribution of content, and for sharing of campaigns, for example. A good example is the recent Digital Executive Program that we developed for our client, BPO solutions provider Merchants, in order to position its executives as thought leaders and build their networks through the use of LinkedIn; or the Instagram Story Series we designed for Boschendal Wines.

Owned: Examples of owned media include the client’s own website and blogs. More recently, this includes platforms such as apps and podcasts too. Some recent examples include an Impact Infographic and a Pink Tax Infographic we designed for our client, Sanlam.

For PR success in 2020 and beyond, PR professionals and their clients need to ensure they are taking an integrated approach to content and campaigns, taking into account the PESO model at all times and adapting content and messaging for the varied media types, depending on the objectives of the campaign in question. A wonderful example of how to integrate all four media types is the Property Fox Virtual Reality Report campaign we created for a startup and challenger brand.

Here’s to PR in 2020 and beyond – we are so excited to keep adapting with our industry.