Impact Insights Blog

Why PESO is the Term all Businesses Should Care About

May 25, 2017

The way businesses and organizations share messages, gain visibility and increase market share using public relations and media marketing tools has changed dramatically over the past decade. If they don’t know it already, there’s an acronym I suggest all of our past, present and future clients get cozy with: PESO.

For the un-indoctrinated, PESO stands for Paid – Earned – Shared – Owned. While I didn’t invent the term (in fact, I give props to Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich for so eloquently making memorable something I’d been describing to our PR clients all along), I do fully embrace the idea that the best way to get the word out about who you are, why it matters, how you differ from competitors and more, is to combine these four key media avenues.


The P in PESO – PAID – is the advertising and sponsorship strategy you have in place. Think of the billboard you purchase, the banner ad you have on your local newspaper’s website or that catchy radio jingle your competitor is airing.




The E in PESO – EARNED – is traditionally the results you pray for versus the ones you pay for. Think of the article you are quoted in as an expert, the news of your firm’s grand opening celebration or the guest column you contribute in a business journal, all unpaid and on merit alone.



The S in PESO – SHARED – needs little explaining. Today’s savvy businesses know that social media strategy is a must. Social platforms allow you to share your earned media results, enter into a real-time, two-way dialogue with customers or prospects, and cultivate brand ambassadors or fans.



THE O in PESO – OWNED – is a media vehicle that should not be neglected by the intelligent marketer. Do you have a blog? Articles you use for content marketing? Videos you’ve created? You should; this owned collateral is super valuable and can live on in your website or archives for future repurposing and sharing with key audiences.


Now, let’s think about how all of these elements intermingle and lead to success, beginning with E (earned). I write a pitch letter and secure a news story for a client in a key industry trade magazine. This earned media is exciting, right? I then coach them to maximize that placement by amplifying it over social media (see the S?), tagging the magazine, thereby reaching its audience and followers. Better yet, I suggest they boost the post on their business page (some P or paid action) and take out some ads or share an update with would-be clients in select targets. Then, considering the topic they are truly experts in, and were just quoted in the news on, I’d work with them to write up a blog post on the matter, linking to the published piece in the magazine at the beginning of the story. Now it has become owned media on our client’s website (O).

Picture four concentric circles, each with one letter from P-E-S-O in them. Can you see the overlap between each and the area they all meet in the dead center? It’s there that you’ll be able to visualize the beautiful synergy between a paid, earned, shared and owned media campaign. Better yet, stop simply picturing it and start doing it. Hiring an expert to analyze your brand and guide you on how to best tell your company’s story to the media and stakeholders means the tale will not only reach more people, but also that it will be more memorable. Now that’s the type of PESO we’d all like to cash in on.