Blog - June 28th, 2021

What is the PESO model?

Online Marketing | Reading list

The PESO model breaks down all the different channels through which businesses can carry out their online marketing, and gives an idea of the broad spectrum of activities you can use to reach your audience online.

PESO stands for paid, earned, shared, owned and was developed by Gini Dietrich in 2014.

It's important to note that a successful online marketing campaign does not attempt to do everything in the PESO model - that would be crazy! Instead, the goal is to determine the best channels for your business to reach your audience.

Let’s break down what the individual channels mean:

  • Paid media. This includes display ads, search ads or boosted social media posts. Paid media is important as it gives you a chance to instantly get in front of your chosen audience. 

  • Earned media. This is non-paid media. Despite being hard to track, word-of-mouth is one of the most valuable forms of PR. In a world so connected, a single recommendation can have a huge impact and you can’t put a price on that! 

  • Shared media. This refers to social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. The potential for the network to expand is endless; if you’re sharing quality content and giving your audience the opportunity to engage, you can't lose! 

  • Owned media. For example, this would include your website and blogs. This is where you can really take advantage of SEO without having to spend a fortune!

Where do I start?

Jump straight in! Ensure you have your objectives and goals from the beginning, then work with the experts in your team to create a library of content. Having an understanding of your audience will not only help you to know what relevant keywords to target, but it will also help you to choose the most relevant channels, drive your content and develop your tone of voice. Sharing information that is not only interesting but relevant to your target audience is vital.  

Give things time to work and don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do something across every aspect of the whole model. And don’t forget to measure the results!

question mark blackboard

Embracing the PESO model

To better embrace the PESO model it's good to focus on understanding your ABCs. 

  1. Audience. Identifying your Audience (you’re 'who') helps you understand where they live online, how they act, and how they like to do things. 

  2. Brand. Your brand ('why' you do what you do) determines how you communicate with your audience, your tone of voice, messages and cultural alignment. 

  3. Content. A and B then steer your C. This is where the PESO model comes in. 

You can use a dizzying array of platforms and methods to promote your content (not to mention all the technical activity that happens in the background). It's challenging, and often unnecessary, to adopt them all. PESO lets you simplify things and concentrate on the key areas where you can have the most impact. 

Once you have chosen your main focus, then you can work towards setting goals and KPIs that will enable you to review and deliver return on investment. These also help with assigning experts and teams and itemising the actual work that needs to be done and when.

social media platforms

The PESO model in action

Let's say you are a new business with an online store. You’re going to struggle to rank high initially, so you want some quick page one visibility and brand traction. A paid Google Ads campaign is probably best to kickstart your digital footprint. 

You know your audience, you know what they're after and what they care about, and that they like to use search. The more you know your audience, the better you can target your Ads using keyword analysis. And you can bring in your branding to ensure your messaging and calls to action are on point. 

Next, you’ll need to build a team who are skilled in the required disciplines: 

  • Ad experts for the analysis, set-up, regular monitoring and review

  • SEO experts to ensure your landing pages are optimised 

  • UI/UX experts to design and build great pages

  • Copywriting experts to make those landing pages engaging and relevant

  • Design experts to make the journey more visual

  • Development experts to set live and make sure everything works. 

joining hands

Once all the foundation work is complete, you can begin your campaign.

So, what would that look like altogether? 

  • Target your audience so your campaign appears in relevant feeds.

  • Use your owned media to promote your campaign on your website. You could even create a blog to give more information.

  • Share your campaign on social media platforms. This will help bring new connections and build your network.

  • And last but not least, spread the word! Tell everyone about your campaign to build organic awareness.

Change can be good

The PESO model is about choosing the right media and channels for your business, rather than trying to cover everything. It’s also about changing your online marketing habits if they’re not working for you.

Applying the PESO model may feel like stepping out of your comfort zone, but it is good to embrace change and consider this incredibly useful strategy to improve online success. 

Take this opportunity to stand out!

success blackboard

Have a question?

If you have any questions about the PESO model that haven't been answered above, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!

Who wrote this?



She / her. Emma is part of the online marketing guild but also has her finger in the PR pie. She is happiest when she has a camera in her hand. Builder of cat hotels. Lover of all animals. Has headlined every festival with her imaginary prog-rock band! Talks too much. Fidgets a lot! And occasionally tries to get fit by listening to the Rocky 4 soundtrack. 

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