Rethinking the EOP Model

After more than five years of employing the EOP (earned, owned, paid) public relations model – for our clients and ourselves – I set aside some time to contemplate whether the paradigm had run its course, whether it was time to move on to new strategies and new ways of thinking.

Short answer: It’s not. The EOP model (some call it the PESO model by adding “shared” into the mix) is every bit as effective today as it’s ever been. The combination of these interconnected elements fuels a powerful marketing engine that is strategic, cost-efficient and just plain smart.

If you’re not seeing the results from your EOP program, here are a few tips for reinvigorating the three legs of the stool.


Telling a client’s story through the news media engenders credibility and third-party validation that can’t be replicated through our own storytelling. But the media landscape continues to shrink, and one in four reporters say they get more than 100 story pitches a day. If you’re not seeing results from your media relations efforts, consider….

  • Are you pitching the right targets? Very often trade media outlets are the best places to tell your story. If you’re not sure which publications carry weight with your clients or prospective clients, don’t be shy in asking them. And while you’re at it, ask them if there are any podcasts or industry influencers who carry weight in your arena.
  • Is your pitch too ambitious? We like to keep high-profile outlets on our pitch list, but only when we have a story big enough to merit reaching out to them. A better national outlet strategy is what we call “newsjacking.” When a story in your area of expertise is trending, talk to your internal subject-matter experts (SMEs), and shoot reporters 2-3 bullets that are insightful and relevant.
  • Are you making it too hard to say yes? Reporters are so busy that they may not have time to think through all the pieces of the story. So, help them. Provide stats, and suggest other sources for the story to help them organize the piece.


The owned component, of course, is the content that you create yourself. While you have complete control over what you write, when you write it and in what form it takes, challenge yourself to put out a steady stream of content that hits all your target personas in a timely way.

  • Are you getting enough face time with your SMEs? We know, they’re busy, but they are also the gatekeepers to the best content. They’re the folks interacting with customers, who have their fingers on the pulse of trends, innovations and challenges. Regular sessions with SMEs are vital.
  • Are you being too self-promotional? There’s a difference between conveying your expertise and shameless boasting, and we see too much of the latter. Showcasing insights that demonstrate how you solved a customer’s problem is enough. Your audience will get the message, but the sound of you patting yourself on the back could drown it out.
  • Have you created a schedule? We call them editorial calendars, and they form the basis for our content management programs. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Are you using visual media? The content programs that work best are those that incorporate images and videos. Consider a podcast, or post a video interview with an SME.

The advertising platforms on social media channels are what powers the efficiency of EOP. If you’re not spending even a little money to push your content out to your key customer targets, then you really are wasting your time. Otherwise, you’re simply preaching to the choir.

  • Are you using the metrics from your posts to determine which ad spends are the most effective? For years, PR professionals never had adequate tools to measure our impact, and now that we have them, make sure you are using them. Adjust future spending accordingly.
  • Do you have a post-Twitter strategy? Truth be told, Twitter for us has been one of the more effective platforms for driving traffic to our content. But for now, we’re treating it like a third rail. Until the platform can prove it’s being run responsibly by grownups, we’re steering clear. And that gives us a chance to think creatively about other alternatives, and so should you.
  • What new or different digital channels could you consider advertising on? More and more platforms are becoming monetized through advertising, and gone are the days when you need a media buyer to be your intermediary. Reddit, Hulu and Google products like YouTube all have self-service advertising platforms to leverage.

EOP is here to stay. No need to think any more about it. Now it’s up to you to make it work.

Josh Dare

Josh’s career in communications spans more than four decades. In addition to providing strategic counsel and crisis communications direction to clients, he is the resident Writer-In-Chief, regularly writing op-eds and bylines on behalf of clients that have been published in The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Huffington Post, among others.

Read more by Josh

Leave a Reply

Sign up to receive our blog posts by email