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What mediums do PR pros use to communicate to audiences?

By Gabrielle Pata

5 key factors for conveying company messages effectively


Getting your messages to the right audiences is key in effective public relations. It’s important to know the different channels and platforms and the best way to use each of them. There are two types of communications in PR: controlled and uncontrolled. It’s essential to use both types of communication as well as the PESO model for successful PR.

Controlled communication: You control the message

In simple terms, controlled communication – or company communication – is any communication that your company generates:

  • Brochures
  • Handbooks
  • Letters
  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Annual reports
  • Billing/pay inserts
  • Audiovisual information
  • Webpages
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

It also includes different forms of advertising that your company produces:

  • Print
  • Broadcast
  • Social media
  • Direct mail
  • Banners
  • Signs
  • Promotions
  • Specialty items (pens, buttons and memo pads)

You’re in charge of the final product – from what it consists of to the timing of when you release it. Controlled communication allows you to create precise messages that help reach your company’s objectives. You know exactly what your audience is going to see because you create and control the message.

Uncontrolled communication: Other sources control the message

Uncontrolled communication comes from the news media and publicity. It consists of messages about your company originating from media outlets (both mass and specialized) and includes feature stories, captioned photos, news conferences, PSAs and letters to the editor.

People are more likely to believe a news story than an advertisement. While you may try to influence this type of communication, you can’t control it completely. In other words, once you send a news release to a journalist, what happens next is entirely up to the journalist. Uncontrolled communication is less expensive (usually free!) and audiences perceive it as more credible than controlled communication.

PESO model

The PESO model helps PR practitioners use an integrated approach to the four types of media. PESO stands for paid, earned, shared and owned media.

  • Paid media: This is any advertising you purchase, including paying for publicity, sponsorships, billboards, banner ads, TV ads, print ads and radio ads.
  • Earned media: This is the best kind of media because consumers trust it the most. It’s the result of your PR and media relations efforts; it’s what independent sources are saying about your company.
  • Shared media: This occurs when your company interacts with its audience by creating valuable content that members share on social networks.
  • Owned media: This is publicity your company creates that it directly controls – such as blogs, publications, social media content and the company website.

How to communicate effectively

It’s important to know how you can use these mediums effectively. Factors to consider include the following:

1. Source

Your source should be credible, experienced and have similarities with your target audience.

2. Message (salient information)

Ensure the content of your message is powerful information that strikes a responsive chord.

3. Verbal/nonverbal cues

Always use effective language that is clear and accurate. Use symbols, words and images that are appropriate and sensitive to your audience.

4. Two-way communication

Create an opportunity for conversation by allowing your audience to give feedback. This includes open forums, suggestion boxes, speeches with Q&A, response cards and surveys. Social media is an excellent tool to interact directly with your audience and encourage engagement.

5. Audience participation

Whenever possible, seek opportunities where your audience can participate in the program. Audience engagement raises awareness for your company. Try special events and contests to get the audience involved.

It’s important for every company to employ these mediums of communication. Axia Public Relations knows that controlled and uncontrolled communication as well as the PESO model are all key to creating a comprehensive PR plan. Learn more about how to use communication to benefit your company; contact us or download our complimentary e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment today.

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Gabrielle PataClients love Gabrielle’s engaging personality and work ethic. She is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida. Gabrielle has been interning at Axia since August 2017.



Topics: public relations, PR tips, earned media, owned media

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