Rethinking Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned (Part 2)
Dec 17, 2014
The same day I was writing the post about whether the Paid, Owned, Earned (& Shared) media mix is still relevant, Mashable published an article titled: Why PR Is Embracing the PESO Model. It sets up an interesting dichotomy.
The Mashable article has a ton of great information and thought. It’s definitely worth the read. But what struck me in particular about it was the reason PESO is only just now being latched onto by PR pros. The reason detailed in the article is that PR has fundamentally changed; and that now the core of marketing is content. But content wasn’t really the PR pro’s focus before. In the PR world, content was just a means to an end. It was the way to get attention from the media to then do the real work, building content for your client in the form of a written story. It was courting the publishers.
But in the “new digital world”*, content is the means and the end. You — the brand, the voice, the sales guy, the marketer — are the publisher, without ever needing to court. This, in many ways, diminishes the need for the traditional PR offerings. Therefore, a new model of relevance is needed.
PESO is a model for content that’s been around for quite awhile, so it’s as good a model as any to latch on to, based on the “coming to content” moment. But… does that model even come close to explaining the world of channels, content and promotion that exists today?
It may not look significantly different in many ways from the three (or four) venn-ing circles you’ve seen before. But the goal is to add a few more facets of today’s communication environment to the mix:
1. All assets are rapidly becoming “shared” assets. All types of communication (meaning content and actions) are collapsing into the center, fully-overlapped section. Therefore, if all assets are shared, then why differentiate by the PESO terms?
This is something that Taryne Thorpe deftly challenged yesterday in a LinkedIn conversation. Her assertion is that the original placement of the content is what defines it as P, E, S or O. I would counter that since you must place and promote each piece of content in many channels for the most success in reach, engagement and action, it is becoming harder to create content for one definition (paid versus owned versus earned) only.
2. Content creation is becoming a real-time endeavor. That means some content is pro-active: It is created over time and strategically placed based on many inputs such as channel and audience research, planned buyer’s journeys, etc. Other content is re-active: It is created and placed in rapid order based on brands being a part of the conversation of the moment. (Sometimes that content could be produced like Oreo’s now legendary Super Bowl Tweet; but it’s more likely just text.) While both pro-active and re-active content may be placed on the same channel, they are very different forms of communication. Instead of pro-active and re-active, we’ll call that “channel/asset” and “activity.”
(Interestingly, this may be where the PR pro is best primed to exercise their formidable skills in new ways, affecting influencers and media in the moment with powerful, knowledgeable content through researched and established relationships.)
3. Squares are the new circles.
So… now it’s time to tear this model apart. Does it help clarify what a media mix truly is today? Does it go too far or not far enough? POE? EOP? EPO? Really. Tear it apart. I’ve got more to share later so I’ll be okay.
*Quotes used because: Is it really that new any more?
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.