PESO marketing

What Ryan Holiday’s Philosophy Suggests About Gini Dietrich’s PESO Marketing

Several years ago, PR professional and Spin Sucks founder Gini Dietrich shifted the perspective of PR practitioners and content strategists by introducing the PESO marketing model. PESO refers to the kinds of media you might pursue as part of your business marketing model:

  • Paid media refers to media such as advertisements.
  • Earned media refers to publicity such as interviews in the press.
  • Shared media refers to co-owned spaces such as social media channels or events paid for by you and your partners.
  • Owned media refers to content that is 100% owned by you, such as your website.

Some forms of media fall into more than one category, but you get the big picture: the PESO marketing model details your entire media marketing mix.

Which media should you invest most of your budget in? We’ll return to that in a moment, but first, I’d like to discuss a recent blog post that offered a unique, implicit perspective on how to prioritize PESO marketing in a way that goes beyond the standard business case.

If you read books about strategy, you have probably heard of Ryan Holiday. Once an intern for Robert Greene, Holiday is now a best-selling author in his own right, moving millions of copies of Trust Me I’m Lying, The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, and eleven other books to date, all of which detail strategic insights on topics such as PR, marketing, the art of creating timeless work, and the philosophy of the stoics.

For years, Holiday leveraged the PR and advertising strategies he learned early in his career to sell his books, courses, and other products. However, just last week in a blog post titled “This Decision Changed My Life and My Business,“ Holiday revealed that he has recently stopped investing in publicity and advertising in favor of content he himself creates with the help of fellow creative vendors.

He explains his rationale in the piece:

“…instead of using your energy and resources and effort to make stuff that converts, you should use your energy and resources and effort to make stuff that matters.

Because it is valuable in and of itself.

Someone gets shown an ad and buys something, that’s great. But the people who get shown an ad and do nothing? What a lost opportunity! What a waste of their time and yours. It’s nice for the ego to get profiled in some publication…but it is quickly forgotten.
Deciding to make videos, write articles, produce thousands of hours of audio–what I decided to prioritize my work around was making work.
Creating value for others that lasts.”

So, in Holiday’s opinion, owned content is the way to go, but not because it widens margins or drives sales. He even goes so far as to point out that he is not measuring “Strategy A vs. Strategy B” and suggests that his approach may not be the most cost effective.

But is that assessment correct? Certainly, owned media content offers you the opportunity to create something timeless, and that’s an invaluable resource unto itself, but you do have a business to run. If you need ROI, what kind of media should you start with?

Let’s consult Dietrich herself for the answer:

“As the industry began to take a hold of this process, communicators began to ask me, “Why PESO? What we do never starts with paid.”
I agree!
If I were to order the media types in order of importance, from a communications perspective, it would be OESP—owned, earned, shared, and then paid.
But that’s a lot harder to remember, isn’t it?
And what’s the number one rule of branding?
Create something memorable.”

As it turns out, Dietrich and Holiday both agree on prioritizing owned media content. Dietrich says you should put it first for the good of your business; Holiday says put it first for the good of the world.

At RedShift Strategists, we believe owned media content has the power to accomplish both. As an expert in your industry, you have plenty to offer the world in the way of insights about your field. And if you share these insights based upon a carefully crafted positioning brief that tells people who you are, what you do, and who you do it for, it should yield returns on your investment by carrying you and your business from launch to legacy.

To learn how, book a meeting with one of our strategists.

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