What is the PESO Model and Why Should Public Relations Agencies Embrace It

public relations

There are several models that public relations agencies use to organize their thoughts and execute thorough campaigns and ongoing strategies. From the RACE model (research, action planning, communication, evaluation) to the 2-way symmetric model, usually an agency sticks to one model and runs with it.

In recent years, however, the PESO model has broken onto the scene and transformed the way public relations is done. PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned in reference to the types of media coverage you get. The PESO model is one of the most successful approach to public relations, as it not only simplifies the way one thinks about PR, but can help you establish authority and credibility throughout all kinds of media coverage. 

Here, we break down each part of the PESO model and explain why it is important for public relations agencies to embrace. 


Paid opportunities are an important part of a public relations campaign, especially for small start-ups and lesser known brands. Things like social media ads, print ads, or sponsored articles count as paid media. Media like this allow the brand to control the content and maximize the amount of people who see it.



Earned media is the meat and potatoes and public relations. In general, PR professionals are the experts at securing earned media hits in top tier publications. Earned media includes organic press features, social media posts from fans and consumers, and the coverage that happens. 



Social media is the epitome of shared media. Blogs, forums, and other social networking sites that have conversations are great platforms to get your brand’s name out there and create shared content that others can use and share with their audiences. Therefore, this kind of content typically appears organic, but can be promoted and pushed by your brand. 



Owned media is the content that you and your brands own and create yourselves. This includes any product descriptions, blog posts, and other things that the brand puts out that they made. Having a collection of owned media is essential as it builds credibility and allows brands to build their own voice with complete control. 



If you’d like to learn more about public relations theories and tactics, click here.