How Paid Opportunities Can Build the Foundation for a Winning Media Strategy

By: Sarah Ikalowych

The PESO: it’s not just a monetary unit! In fact, many communications pros in the United States refer to the PESO Model™ by name when talking about media strategy, rather than the well-known currency of many Latin American countries. But, what’s the difference?

While one is a type of currency, the other is an acronym referring to the four main media types – paid, earned, shared, and owned – in the communications and marketing world. By utilizing a strategy that combines the use of these four media types, your company can form a comprehensive communications and marketing plan for your brand that allows for better optimization when it comes to sharing content and engaging with an audience.

The four prongs of the PESO Model™ include:

  • Paid Media – coverage a company pays to receive
  • Earned Media – coverage that is earned through outreach
  • Shared Media – marketing outreach and social media
  • Owned Media – internal content and messaging directly from the company

However, just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, well-working communications strategies are not, either. These prongs are built upon each other- for example, you cannot have any shared media until your owned media is built out, approved, and implemented. The paid media aspect comes first in the acronym for a reason- it is extremely important for companies to utilize early on to build a strong foundation on which a comprehensive strategy can thrive. In a similar way to how owned must come before shared media, companies who are just starting out and looking to gain media attention may need to prioritize paid media opportunities in order to build momentum and establish their presence prior to being able to access earned media opportunities.

But what exactly do these paid opportunities look like? Let’s break down the P in the PESO Model™ using some of our top recommendations.

Sponsored Content

One of the best ways to build the foundation of paid media to reach earned media opportunities is through sponsored content. Almost all media outlets offer opportunities to sponsor various pieces of content they put out, and some have extremely extensive sponsorship programs. These can include sponsoring podcast episodes, research reports, whitepapers, articles, social media shoutouts, and more. The wide range of types of content allows you to pick the best vehicle to share your message or story- whichever fits your brand best. These also usually allow for an editorial license, where you have a large say in the topic, messaging, and direction of the piece, essentially serving as director and editor for them. Additionally, this approach provides a great foot in the door with media outlets that you are looking to build a relationship with, as journalists with that outlet will become familiar with the company through the partnership. Sponsored content pieces also make for great social media posts- doubling as shared media!

Influencer Partnerships

And no, we don’t mean the Instagram and Tik Tok influencers who share videos of themselves doing their skincare routines while telling dating stories. All industries have strong voices with impressive followings who shape the conversations happening in the space- whether they be popular conference circuit speakers, podcast hosts, newsletter curators, prominent company leaders, or other content creators. These individuals often offer paid partnerships to work together with your brand on a project that can come in the form of output similar to that which you can get from sponsored content or other projects. These can come in the form of newsletter features, webinar guest spots, a speaking spot on a panel at an industry event, an agreement to share various content to their channels, and more. Influencers are getting creative with these, as they want to stand out from the media outlets and create a path of their own. This means you have an opportunity to take part in something different when working with them and stand out from the competition yourself!

Boosted Posts

Shared media, especially social media posts, can be promoted in the form of “boosting” these posts, which amplifies the reach of that post beyond just the followers that the page already has. This not only works to attract new followers to your page and increase engagement with the post itself, but can increase website traffic, grow your share of voice, and ensure that your content is seen when it matters most. This also creates an advertisement without needing to go through other channels to create one, providing another two-for-one using shared media as paid media as well, meaning one piece of content is working twice as hard for you. Boosting is also a fairly inexpensive option, with some platform options starting at as little as only $1 per day.

These are all extremely effective and straightforward strategies for implementing paid media into your communications and marketing plan. Don’t let the fact that there is a price tag attached scare you away from using paid media as part of your comprehensive strategy- the payment means guaranteed coverage, quality and messaging control, and participation in the process. With all the options available, you can pick what option works best for your brand, budget, and vision. Once you have laid the foundation of your presence through choice paid opportunities, you’ll be ready to build onto that with your shared, owned, and then earned, media. Go ahead- pay to play!

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