The Blurred Lines with the PEO Model

We learned this in Marketing 101: Paid, earned, and owned media are the trifecta of messaging tactics when it comes to an effective marketing strategy. If you’re a little unfamiliar with the terminology here is a refresher.

Paid media: Perhaps the easiest to define—paid media is just that, any media that is paid. This includes pay-per-click advertising (PPC), sponsored social media posts, online display advertising, traditional advertising such as TV, radio, and print, sponsorships, and so on.

Earned media: Earned media is anything concerning your brand that is published by a third party, i.e. not from your own channels. This is a big component of public relations though not to be confused with company-drafted press releases. Typical types of earned media include media mentions, product reviews, and word-of-mouth commentary like comments on social media.

Owned media: This relates to any kind of media activity as a result of channels that a company controls. The key here is that the company must own the channels. This includes company press releases, blogs, brochures, and websites.

Quite often we see the triple threat players in marketing as pretty black and white. A press hit is earned media. A company blog post such as the post you are reading is owned media. Any kind of Facebook post with “sponsored” in front of it is paid media. But a recent PR news article by Brooke Thomas of Southwest Airlines has us thinking that the streams of communication are no longer separate ideologies.  

According to Thomas, “Whether your discipline is PR, marketing, or a combination of the two, greater collaboration and distribution must exist both horizontally (cross-channel) and vertically (paid amplification).” In other words, the PEO channels can only do so much, and the digital space has blurred the lines. In order to keep up with new technology and trends, the PEO strategy must also evolve.

How do you do this? Boost that feature story with paid dollars to amplify reach on social media. Engage editors, reporters, and influencers on social media. Have a fun video that shows your company culture? Create a social media promotion surrounding it and encourage followers to engage through a social sharing campaign. Not only are these types of cross-channel tactics efficient, in the long run, they will prove to be the most successful!