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Like any profession, the public relations industry continues to change. I’ve been doing this work well over 15 years. In the “old days,” if we could get all the major local media outlets to a press conference, we were doing our jobs. And if we able to get our client on the front page of the New York Times, we were lauded as heroes.

The PR landscape has evolved to mean much more than media relations, thanks in part to social media. You may have heard of the PESO model, which integrates Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media into a model that is being used far and wide across the industry. I’ve broken it down for you here:

PAID MEDIA – This doesn’t mean a $50,000 ad or a huge billboard campaign. It means social media advertising and email marketing.

EARNED MEDIA – This is old-fashioned media relations. It means getting your name in the newspaper or getting a trade publication to write about you. It used to be our bread and butter. (It still gives me a professional high when I get a big placement.)

SHARED MEDIA – Community service and charity tie-ins are what the industry calls shared media. It’s also social media, but it leverages the power of partnerships.

OWNED MEDIA – Owned media is just like it sounds. It’s yours. It’s your blog or your website. You create it, you edit it, you control it.

If your organization is not utilizing the PESO model, it’s not harnessing the true power of PR. When hiring a PR agency or an independent practitioner, make sure they are well-versed when it comes to the PESO model or risk being left out in the cold.