How does PR fit into the PESO model

Many agencies will use the term PESO when describing the toolkit of tactics they use. This is similar in principle to the four P’s. Rather than product, price, promotion and place, PESO is paid, earned, social and owned. In this blog we want to look at how PR fits within the PESO model.

Far from being more jargon to add to a dictionary full of anacronyms, this breakdown is actually a great starting point for brands when planning campaigns.

Taking each tactic at a time and considering it in detail will give businesses the opportunity to look at where their priorities lie. Aligning this with objectives will give the foundations to a strategic plan that can be put into practice.

As a PR agency we are able to deliver everything within the PESO model. That said, there are certain tactics that rely more on our expertise than others. In the following chapters we will explain when PR can provide best value and return.

Paid for space 

Paid for coverage is advertising. This is typically not a tactic used by PR agencies. Although we do book advertising space for our clients and make recommendations about placements in general, it is not our specialism.

Media buying agencies are better placed to make recommendations and to provide the best costs. Paid for advertising is a push marketing principle. It is pushed to the audience and shares a carefully curated message that has been designed and delivered by the brand.

The most significant difference between paid for and editorial is that a third party has to agree to use the content you share. When there is no commercial transaction involved there is no guarantee.

Earned media coverage

For PR practitioners this is our bread and butter. Earned media is editorial coverage. It is both credible and delivers great value for brands. Securing consistent space within the right media will impact positively on any business.

It isn’t quite as simple as it sounds to secure coverage. Not only does a PR need to identify a story, they also need to curate that copy and make it compelling. Furthermore, they have to think about the reader, journalist and brand before distributing.

As mentioned, there is no guarantee with earned media. This is where third party, independent and unbiased verification comes into play. Given that a journalist has the authority to run a story or not, it is the job of the PR to make sure a story is relevant. The headline should be eye catching and the copy should have a strong news angle.

There are many tactics that PR’s use but providing good quality copy should always remain top of the list.

Social media 

Since sharing content online has become part of our daily routines, it has also become an obvious platform for brands to engage with audiences. Understanding each platform and its primary uses and targets is essential.

This is where PR comes in.

As an agency we manage messages, tone of voice, frequency of posts and monitoring of responses. Again, this takes time. It is not a simple case of logging on and posting a comment each day. Although this is possible, it will not deliver the results that a business would expect.

Social media has given everyone a voice and an opinion. Understanding that people have the right to express that and to manage responses carefully so as not to offend is crucial.

Although there are elements of paid within social media, it is used mostly by individuals who want to become part of a community. They want to engage with others that have similar interests. Sharing relevant content in the right places can be invaluable exposure for brands. In the same breath, infiltrating where you are not wanted will deliver the exact opposite.  

Owned content 

Blogs are common practice in today’s world. They haven’t been around forever, and the truth is that many sit dormant. This sends the wrong message to clients and prospective customers.

Owned content is the copy that you will share across a website or social channels. It belongs to a business and has been written with purpose. It may be to share the launch of a new product, to provide an update about a company or to simply impart knowledge and expertise.

Whatever the reason, as this sits within editorial, it fits within the job description of a PR professional.

Well curated copy that is credible and compelling will attract visitors to a site. It will also provide an opportunity to position individuals as thought leaders about a subject.

Forgetting to assign the time and commitment to owned content is a mistake. Brands don’t always see the value in sharing this insight as a business, but those that do will reap the rewards. Creating communities is the strongest response from owned content. This requires that regular and relevant copy is drafted and shared.

Having a balance of earned and owned content will give any company the profile that they deserve and a genuine return on investment.


On reflection, when we look at the PESO model, we can see that of the four topics just one would typically sit outside of the PR function. This is paid for advertising.

Using PESO as a tool to plan will give any organisation a good platform from which to create a strategy that meets with objectives. If you would like to work with a team that can deliver and will support you with this process, then please call a member of the team from Open Comms.