Thought Leadership

S&T Live Recap: Gini Dietrich on the Evolution of the PESO Model and the Impact of AI

S&T Live with Gini Dietrich

When trying to demonstrate the value of their work, “One of the biggest challenges that PR professionals have is that we measure outputs instead of outcomes,” Gini Dietrich said.

Dietrich, CEO and founder of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based communications firm, is the author of the 2014 book “Spin Sucks” and the “Spin Sucks” blog. As the April guest on Strategies & Tactics Live, PRSA’s monthly livestream series on LinkedIn, she explained how the PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned media) Model that she launched in 2014 has evolved.

“When we looked at the model in 2020, we realized there were things in it like Google+ and Vine that no longer existed,” she said. “We updated the model so that it wasn’t just a list of tactics, but also activities, and what happens when you integrate them together. The model became much more strategic.”

With earned media, “It’s about credibility,” she said. “If you’re going to do owned media, it’s about storytelling and creating that brand narrative. If you’re doing paid media, it’s about growing your reach.” The PESO model “became about the outcomes, rather than the output. We can correlate our efforts to the things that matter to the organization.”

John Elsasser, editor-in-chief of PRSA’s award-winning Strategies & Tactics publication and host of S&T Live, asked how artificial intelligence has affected the PESO model.

“First of all, I love AI,” Dietrich said. “It is amazing.” Just as people were nervous about the new technology of the internet and websites in the 1990s, “the exact same thing is happening right now with AI. Nobody’s nervous about the internet anymore, and I think that’s where we’re going with AI.”

The question now, she said, is: “How do we create content that is optimized for readers, viewers and listeners, but that also attracts the attention of new audiences, customers, prospects and journalists?”

In the past, PR professionals needed a database of media contacts and would have to do a lot of Googling and be smart about the questions people might ask on the search engine. “Now, you can use AI for that kind of stuff,” Dietrich said. “You can use AI to get started, to help you brainstorm ideas for content.”

The evolved PESO model shows how a video interview such as S&T Live can be transcribed to “create different types of content for your social, for your blog,” etc., “to help you become more efficient,” she said.

An exciting time for communicators

Elsasser asked how the rise of social media platforms such as TikTok factors into the PESO model.

“Earned media has always been media-relations heavy,” Dietrich said. But with widespread layoffs thinning out the media industry and some news outlets shutting down altogether, “it’s becoming more challenging to get the attention of a journalist.”

At the same time, “there’s this rise of the TikTok news anchor, where normal people are reading the news as if they’re news anchors on television, but they’re doing it on their TikTok channel,” she said. “These are not people we should ignore. This is where things are going.”

Still, the last decade has shown that PR strategy never changes, she said. “The way that we do our jobs has not changed. What has changed are the tools. It’s really exciting to be a communicator right now.”

You can watch a replay of the session, which included a discussion on PR measurement and SEO, here.

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PRSA Staff

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