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Content Marketing

PESO 101: How to build a robust content plan and measure success

By August 11, 2022No Comments

The PESO model, a framework created by SpinSucks in 2014, is used to build rock-solid content plans.

The PESO model consists of four parts:

  1. Paid – Includes any advertising you pay for, big or small. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram ads, sponsored content, and lead generation email campaigns fall into this category.
  2. Earned – Includes any efforts toward getting the media to cover whatever you’re pitching. Commonly known as public relations, media relations, or publicity.
  3. Shared – Is all about your community building and engaging with them mainly through social media.
  4. Owned – Includes the content you create that lives on a website you own. Owned content allows you to create your narrative and serves as the foundation of your content plan.

When used correctly, these four parts should come together like slices of a pie to build awareness, authority, thought leadership, and expertise, while simultaneously boosting other initiatives like SEO, sales, or larger organizational goals.

Here’s how you can use the PESO model to build a robust content plan and measure its success:


While the PESO model starts with “P,” the backbone of any content plan is your “O”wned content. P, E, and S won’t work without owned content that shows your company is knowledgeable and up-to-date.

If a journalist visits your website and finds no up-to-date content about the topic you pitched, you’ll receive a quick no.

If a potential customer sees your paid advertisement, clicks on your website, and it’s a ghost town, you automatically become unreliable.
If you have no content to share, “S” gets thrown out the window.

Your owned content plan should align with your audience and what they find interesting or helpful, as well as your SEO strategy.

How do you measure owned content success?

  • For website performance, look at unique site visitors, time spent on-page, and what users clicked on.
  • For owned content shared organically, pay attention to engagement metrics specific to the post such as comments, shares, and likes.
  • For an email newsletter, monitor click-through (CTR), open, and conversion rates.


Earned content is all about boosting awareness through unpaid media placements. You pitch a story angle to journalists, and they choose whether or not to cover it.

Tailor earned media efforts to your company’s specific goals. Perhaps you’re launching a new service, hiring a new executive, publishing original research, or participating in philanthropic activities. Whatever your angle—make it exciting and unique.

Journalists won’t cover what’s already on your site. Instead, your owned content should support earned efforts through related blogs, case studies, or pillar pages. Like I mentioned earlier, if a journalist visits your site, they want to see that you know your stuff.

You may want to link to existing owned content within your pitch. However, if you’re doing this, make it brief and only a small portion of a larger story. For example, you may decide to link back to a blog or research you’ve already published on the same topic as your pitch.

In addition to creating awareness, obtaining good quality backlinks through a media placement on a site with high domain authority is an excellent way to boost your SEO.

How do you measure earned media success?

  • A straightforward measurement is number of media placements (considering quality comes before quantity).
  • Then, measure unique visitors from a specific placement and see what they do on your site—how long do they stay? What do they look at? What do they click on? These measurements will mold your earned media strategy moving forward as they’ll reveal which publications are working best for your company’s specific goals.


Paid media is exactly what it sounds like, media placements for which you are paying.

Some organizations cut paid media from content plans as they think they need a massive budget to garner any results, which is not the case.

If your budget is low, you can still incorporate paid media into your content plan by boosting popular content on Facebook. You can do this for as little as $5! If your goal is to increase awareness around a specific content piece, this is an excellent strategy with a low barrier to entry.

If your budget is higher and your goal is to get more conversions, you can build a robust lead magnet campaign around a high-performing piece of content.

Depending on your existing content, goals, and budget, there are many paid media avenues you can go down. It’s more doable than you think, and the opportunities for increased awareness and conversions are immense.

How do you measure paid media success?

  • How many people click on your ad.
  • How many people provide their emails to download your content (you can then take these and create an email nurture campaign!).
  • Use UTM links to track where people are coming from and where they’re landing on your site. Where did they see your ad? Facebook? LinkedIn? Through an email nurturing campaign? UTM links give you deeper insights into customer behavior.


Shared media, AKA social media presence, is another slice of the pie people often overlook. Many believe their audience isn’t on social media or they’re overwhelmed by social media’s ever-changing landscape.

A critical first step is determining where your audience is online. What social media platforms do they use? How do they talk? Where are your competitors? Don’t waste time and money in a place your audience isn’t.

Then, create a social media content calendar that maps out what to post, where, and when. Build your calendar around your owned, earned, and paid content to ensure it’s all supporting one another.

A steady social media presence will also help you build a community, and through regular engagement, create loyal fans.

How do you measure shared media success?

  • While followers should not be your end-all-be-all measurement of success, tracking this metric is important as a sharp increase or decrease in followers may indicate something bigger (good or bad).
  • Like paid media, using UTM links in your organic social will give you deeper insight into where your visitors are coming from.
  • Use impressions, reach, shares, likes, and comments to discover what type of content resonates best with your audience.

While every content plan should be unique, utilizing the PESO framework to create a rock-solid foundation of owned, earned, paid, and shared media efforts that support one another will deliver the best results.

Need help building your rock-solid content plan?

As a full-service B2B healthcare marketing agency, we help our clients plan and execute content strategies every day.

Let’s talk about your content marketing goals.

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Rayna Southart

Author Rayna Southart

Rayna is a skilled and creative Content Marketing Manager at Clarity Quest. When she's not crafting killer content, you can find her devouring podcasts and good books. To learn more about Rayna's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

More posts by Rayna Southart