Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned: The Pros and Cons Within the PESO Model
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Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned: The Pros and Cons Within the PESO Model

PESO model

Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned: The Pros and Cons Within the PESO Model

The PESO Model was developed in Gini Dietrich’s 2014 published work Spin Sucks. It was created as a tool to divide and categorize the various marketing channels that a brand can use. The PESO Model helps organize these channels and gives a picture of marketing efforts through different lenses to see where new opportunities can be integrated. Broken down, PESO stands for paid, earned, shared, and owned:

  • Paid refers to buying larger distribution, be it in an ad or boosted content.
  • Earned refers to exchanging meaningful content for an industry leader’s audience.
  • Shared refers to building your audience with your own content.
  • Owned refers to cultivating a following that actively looks for your specific content in order to distribute to their audience.

Understanding the PESO model is invaluable to improving your digital marketing strategy. It is natural to stay in media that you are most comfortable, but the purpose of the PESO model is to branch out from your comfort zone and understanding all of the marketing channels available. That being said, each channel does have its set of pros and cons. By knowing the strengths and weakness of each, you can better apply and integrate them to maximize your business’s marketing efforts.


Pros: Paid promotions have scalability and reliability. The more money you spend on a promotion, the more reach you are going to see in your data insights. By paying for it, you are guaranteeing your message’s place in people’s feeds. Social media platforms are looking for you to use their ad tools, and utilizing them ensures exposure you may not get otherwise.

Cons: Although the guarantees of paid promotion are getting increasingly more established, there is still an element of uncertainty. Will this be worth the money? Will I grow my audience because of this? These are valid questions to ask, but learning strategic paid promotion will increase the results you are looking for. Additionally, paid marketing channels can become very costly and the moment you end them, reach and engagement may drop dramatically. Because of this, paid promotion needs consistent planning and scheduling.


Pros: Through earned marketing channels, you are gaining endorsement from an authority figure within your industry. This will build significant trust among your audience as a business to keep on their radar. This can also boost your SEO if past mentions continue to be referenced.

Cons: While earned promotion can be cost-effective with careful strategy, it is also easy to get expensive, as a good PR plan can take up quite a bit of time and effort to construct. There are also little guarantees that you will even get mentions. Reaching out to influencers is not a sure thing that they will reply or follow through. However, when they do, it is definitely meaningful.


Pros: Shared media by far build the most trust with your audience. Organic content that shows up in a person’s feed is much more likely to be trusted than in the press or an ad. Creating organic content is also very cost-effective. The reach of your posts reflects the quality and relevance to your audience, rather than the money spent on it.

Cons: It is difficult to predict exactly what your audience will like, comment, and share. Even high-quality posts may not get the engagement you are looking for because there are so many other factors. Beyond quality, it is important to take into account audience insights, optimization, and platform algorithms.


Pros: Owned media promotions are low-risk and serve as a long-term asset to marketing efforts. As long as your content remains relevant, your audience will continue to share and expand your reach.

Cons: While this way of promotion is certainly an asset, it takes time to build a loyal and engaging audience. Owned marketing efforts work best in conjunction with paid, earned, or shared marketing channels.