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About Me
• Founder of Ishmael Digital Content
• Contributing Editor, Adweek.com
• Former VP/Digital Content, Luckie & Co.
@Griner
DavidGriner.net

Cover photo: Ben Sutherland/Flickr Creative Commons
In many ways, PR pros were the
original content strategists.
Public relations created long-term storylines
centered on a brand and found the right content
creators to help craft the narrative.
But many in the PR field today
are hobbled by the belief that paying
for any form of content is unethical.
Earned media from journalists is only one part of the
equation. Well-compensated bloggers and content
creators are vital pieces of today's marketing mix.
Spending money isn't unethical.
Lack of transparency is unethical.
We're not talking about
transparency with readers, though
that's important (and occasionally
required by law).
We're talking about transparency with
content creators such as bloggers and creatives.
The big three of modern content:
1. Earned Media
2. Sponsored Content / Native Ads
3. Promoted Content And Brand
Journalism
Where do these live?
Sponsored Posts

Press Releases

Promoted Content
Native
Advertising?
Dragons?
Multi-agency
bloodbath?
I. Earned Media
Earned Media
Defined by: Generating unpaid content packaged
as news or features.
Largest investment: PR hours.
Pros: Authenticity and credibility of messenger.
Cons: Uncontrollable, time consuming and nearly
impossible to measure.
Yes, most journalists still operate
under this approach. However,
bulk pitches are losing whatever
value they once had.
Journalists want information,
exclusivity and timely support.
They don't want lengthy, pre-prepared statements
telling them how to do their jobs.
The best PR people:
● Know who I am and maintain a relationship
● Don't send me copy-and-paste releases, except
occasionally as an attachment
● Understand my audience and my content focus
● Work exceptionally quickly to get me the
answers and resources I need
● Recognize that I can't cover everything and that
sometimes I won't like what they're pitching
Personalized
note and offer
of exclusivity.
Client and credit
Thumbnails
YouTube link
Traditional
release copy
Relationships don't happen in bulk.
In today's media environment, your time is better
spent securing a few good writeups through hard
work than blasting the same release to 500
journalists.
Also, it doesn't always pay to put
journalists before your fans.
Likes: 4,557
Shares: 711
Comments: 2,272
By turning this subtle
logo change into a
"spot the difference"
game for fans instead
of a media exclusive,
we ended up on the
Yahoo News
homepage anyway.
But what about bloggers?
Instagrammers? Pinners?
Should they be treated like journalists?
Here are a few questions to ask
yourself before expecting unpaid
coverage.
1. Is this person a salaried or
otherwise compensated media
professional?
2. How much work am I asking
this person to do?
3. Who stands to benefit most
from this arrangement?
4. Is this earned media or a
marketing partnership?
5. Would your business agree to
an arrangement like this?
"You can't pay the power
company with beer."
It's unreasonable to expect selfemployed content creators to
work for free.
Especially if you don't know them and
have little to offer in return.
“

The traditional PR doesn't really work
the way it used to. Most bloggers
trash the press releases without even
reading them.
It's not always about money, but truly
thinking what you can offer to the
person.

”

Katja Presnal
Travel Blogger
SkimbacoLifestyle.com
The same goes for Instagram
photographers and other online
creative talents.
That means use respect, be authentic, and
don't bullshit them. Pitch your interest, ask
for what you need, and be ready to
offer/negotiate a reasonable price for the
work you're requesting.

“

“

Approach a photographer (or anyone) you
want a partnership with in the same way
you'd want to be approached by someone
asking you to do work for a job — because
that's what you're doing.
Lotus Carroll
Photographer
LotusCarroll.com
The right partnerships begin with
setting the right client expectations.
Create a budget that reflects today's reality and
includes hard costs for content creator fees. This might
mean fewer hours for you, but it'll mean bigger results.
II. Sponsored Content and Native Ads
Sponsored Content
Defined by: Paying a media outlet or personality
to run content that helps support your brand.
Largest investment: Media or sponsorship fees.
Pros: Combines credibility with controllability.
Cons: Content often gets treated like a press
release and stuck in approval limbo.
Native Advertising
Defined by: Working with a site to produce content
that fits seamlessly into the site's user experience.
Largest investment: Media fees.
Pros: Tailored to the audience and nondisruptive.
Cons: Specific to one outlet and requires quite a bit of
collaboration and trust.
Should PR even be involved in
something like native advertising?
Yes, unless you want those dollars to go elsewhere.
How do you go about creating great
native ad content?
It starts with reaching out to the right partners and
recognizing that you're going to be putting most of
your eggs in one basket.
The biggest mistake of most marketers
and PR people is thinking that they
know how to do good content. This is
rarely the case.

“

“

My best advice for marketers looking to
jump into this and partner with media
outlets would be: Find a talented team
that has had success reaching your
target audience, and then get the hell
out of the way.
Kolby Yarnell
Director of Content
Adweek Brandshare
The content always comes first.
It needs to be as good as or better than
anything else on the site. The goal isn't to sell the client
brand. The goal is to demonstrate the brand's value.
Native ad content often succeeds
where other forms of sponsored
content fail because native ads are
crafted with the audience in mind.
Bad content risks backlash from readers and site
contributors alike.
“

“

It's terrifying, but it's also really exciting.
There's this misconception that
advertising content just needs to be bad
and interruptive, that it basically needs
to surround the content that people
actually want to consume.
Our position is that advertising doesn't
have to be bad. It can be good. It can be
interesting.

James Del
Executive Director
Studio@Gawker
A few questions to ask potential
native advertising partners:
●
●
●
●
●

Who creates the content?
How do approvals work?
What kind of results have you generated?
What's the pricing structure?
How is our sponsorship disclosed?
III. Promoted Content
Promoted Content
Defined by: Paying a social or ad network to promote
content posted to a brand's own channels.
Largest investment: Content development time and
promoted content fees.
Pros: Puts your content in front of targeted audiences.
Cons: Not piggybacking on anyone else's credibility.
Promoted content is a vital part of
social media and PR today.
If you're helping generate content, you need to insist
on being involved in promoting it, as well.
Promoted content
on Facebook
Promoted content on Twitter
Promoted content on LinkedIn
Google+ is testing promoted content in Google's ad network
Coming
soon to
Pinterest
What role does PR play in promoted
content?
PR is about being responsive, and that's where
promoted content truly shines.
Your job doesn't end when you land
a good clip.
Make the most of it by sharing it on the brand's social
channels, then promoting your post to new audiences.
Promoted content is about keeping
an eye on what's happening.
Watch the online conversation for conversational
spikes that involve your client and jump on the
opportunities to have your promoted messaging in the
mix.
Closing Thoughts
It's an exciting time to be in PR,
even if we don't still call it PR in a
few years' time.
PR will never flourish if we're afraid
of spending money.
If you're not owning the conversation with your client
about promoted content, sponsored partnerships and
native ad campaigns, someone else will.
Thanks for your time.
David Griner
@Griner
DavidGriner.net
Slideshare.net/Griner

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PR and Paid Media: Navigating the Blurred Lines

  • 1.
  • 2. About Me • Founder of Ishmael Digital Content • Contributing Editor, Adweek.com • Former VP/Digital Content, Luckie & Co. @Griner DavidGriner.net Cover photo: Ben Sutherland/Flickr Creative Commons
  • 3. In many ways, PR pros were the original content strategists. Public relations created long-term storylines centered on a brand and found the right content creators to help craft the narrative.
  • 4. But many in the PR field today are hobbled by the belief that paying for any form of content is unethical. Earned media from journalists is only one part of the equation. Well-compensated bloggers and content creators are vital pieces of today's marketing mix.
  • 5. Spending money isn't unethical. Lack of transparency is unethical.
  • 6. We're not talking about transparency with readers, though that's important (and occasionally required by law). We're talking about transparency with content creators such as bloggers and creatives.
  • 7. The big three of modern content: 1. Earned Media 2. Sponsored Content / Native Ads 3. Promoted Content And Brand Journalism
  • 9.
  • 13. Earned Media Defined by: Generating unpaid content packaged as news or features. Largest investment: PR hours. Pros: Authenticity and credibility of messenger. Cons: Uncontrollable, time consuming and nearly impossible to measure.
  • 14. Yes, most journalists still operate under this approach. However, bulk pitches are losing whatever value they once had.
  • 15. Journalists want information, exclusivity and timely support. They don't want lengthy, pre-prepared statements telling them how to do their jobs.
  • 16. The best PR people: ● Know who I am and maintain a relationship ● Don't send me copy-and-paste releases, except occasionally as an attachment ● Understand my audience and my content focus ● Work exceptionally quickly to get me the answers and resources I need ● Recognize that I can't cover everything and that sometimes I won't like what they're pitching
  • 17.
  • 18. Personalized note and offer of exclusivity. Client and credit Thumbnails YouTube link Traditional release copy
  • 19. Relationships don't happen in bulk. In today's media environment, your time is better spent securing a few good writeups through hard work than blasting the same release to 500 journalists.
  • 20. Also, it doesn't always pay to put journalists before your fans.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 24. By turning this subtle logo change into a "spot the difference" game for fans instead of a media exclusive, we ended up on the Yahoo News homepage anyway.
  • 25. But what about bloggers? Instagrammers? Pinners? Should they be treated like journalists?
  • 26. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before expecting unpaid coverage.
  • 27. 1. Is this person a salaried or otherwise compensated media professional?
  • 28. 2. How much work am I asking this person to do?
  • 29. 3. Who stands to benefit most from this arrangement?
  • 30. 4. Is this earned media or a marketing partnership?
  • 31. 5. Would your business agree to an arrangement like this?
  • 32. "You can't pay the power company with beer."
  • 33. It's unreasonable to expect selfemployed content creators to work for free. Especially if you don't know them and have little to offer in return.
  • 34. “ The traditional PR doesn't really work the way it used to. Most bloggers trash the press releases without even reading them. It's not always about money, but truly thinking what you can offer to the person. ” Katja Presnal Travel Blogger SkimbacoLifestyle.com
  • 35. The same goes for Instagram photographers and other online creative talents.
  • 36. That means use respect, be authentic, and don't bullshit them. Pitch your interest, ask for what you need, and be ready to offer/negotiate a reasonable price for the work you're requesting. “ “ Approach a photographer (or anyone) you want a partnership with in the same way you'd want to be approached by someone asking you to do work for a job — because that's what you're doing. Lotus Carroll Photographer LotusCarroll.com
  • 37. The right partnerships begin with setting the right client expectations. Create a budget that reflects today's reality and includes hard costs for content creator fees. This might mean fewer hours for you, but it'll mean bigger results.
  • 38. II. Sponsored Content and Native Ads
  • 39. Sponsored Content Defined by: Paying a media outlet or personality to run content that helps support your brand. Largest investment: Media or sponsorship fees. Pros: Combines credibility with controllability. Cons: Content often gets treated like a press release and stuck in approval limbo.
  • 40. Native Advertising Defined by: Working with a site to produce content that fits seamlessly into the site's user experience. Largest investment: Media fees. Pros: Tailored to the audience and nondisruptive. Cons: Specific to one outlet and requires quite a bit of collaboration and trust.
  • 41.
  • 42. Should PR even be involved in something like native advertising? Yes, unless you want those dollars to go elsewhere.
  • 43. How do you go about creating great native ad content? It starts with reaching out to the right partners and recognizing that you're going to be putting most of your eggs in one basket.
  • 44. The biggest mistake of most marketers and PR people is thinking that they know how to do good content. This is rarely the case. “ “ My best advice for marketers looking to jump into this and partner with media outlets would be: Find a talented team that has had success reaching your target audience, and then get the hell out of the way. Kolby Yarnell Director of Content Adweek Brandshare
  • 45. The content always comes first. It needs to be as good as or better than anything else on the site. The goal isn't to sell the client brand. The goal is to demonstrate the brand's value.
  • 46.
  • 47. Native ad content often succeeds where other forms of sponsored content fail because native ads are crafted with the audience in mind. Bad content risks backlash from readers and site contributors alike.
  • 48. “ “ It's terrifying, but it's also really exciting. There's this misconception that advertising content just needs to be bad and interruptive, that it basically needs to surround the content that people actually want to consume. Our position is that advertising doesn't have to be bad. It can be good. It can be interesting. James Del Executive Director Studio@Gawker
  • 49. A few questions to ask potential native advertising partners: ● ● ● ● ● Who creates the content? How do approvals work? What kind of results have you generated? What's the pricing structure? How is our sponsorship disclosed?
  • 51. Promoted Content Defined by: Paying a social or ad network to promote content posted to a brand's own channels. Largest investment: Content development time and promoted content fees. Pros: Puts your content in front of targeted audiences. Cons: Not piggybacking on anyone else's credibility.
  • 52. Promoted content is a vital part of social media and PR today. If you're helping generate content, you need to insist on being involved in promoting it, as well.
  • 56. Google+ is testing promoted content in Google's ad network
  • 58. What role does PR play in promoted content? PR is about being responsive, and that's where promoted content truly shines.
  • 59. Your job doesn't end when you land a good clip. Make the most of it by sharing it on the brand's social channels, then promoting your post to new audiences.
  • 60. Promoted content is about keeping an eye on what's happening. Watch the online conversation for conversational spikes that involve your client and jump on the opportunities to have your promoted messaging in the mix.
  • 62. It's an exciting time to be in PR, even if we don't still call it PR in a few years' time.
  • 63. PR will never flourish if we're afraid of spending money. If you're not owning the conversation with your client about promoted content, sponsored partnerships and native ad campaigns, someone else will.
  • 64. Thanks for your time. David Griner @Griner DavidGriner.net Slideshare.net/Griner