PR and Paid Media: Navigating the Blurred Lines


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Today's PR pros need to be aware of how earned media, paid media and owned media overlap. In this presentation, a veteran digital marketer and journalist looks at the new reality of managing PR, advertising and social media through collaboration.

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PR and Paid Media: Navigating the Blurred Lines

  1. 1. About Me • Founder of Ishmael Digital Content • Contributing Editor, • Former VP/Digital Content, Luckie & Co. @Griner Cover photo: Ben Sutherland/Flickr Creative Commons
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. Spending money isn't unethical. Lack of transparency is unethical.
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. The big three of modern content: 1. Earned Media 2. Sponsored Content / Native Ads 3. Promoted Content And Brand Journalism
  7. 7. Where do these live?
  8. 8. Sponsored Posts Press Releases Promoted Content
  9. 9. Native Advertising? Dragons? Multi-agency bloodbath?
  10. 10. I. Earned Media
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Yes, most journalists still operate under this approach. However, bulk pitches are losing whatever value they once had.
  13. 13. Journalists want information, exclusivity and timely support. They don't want lengthy, pre-prepared statements telling them how to do their jobs.
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Personalized note and offer of exclusivity. Client and credit Thumbnails YouTube link Traditional release copy
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. Also, it doesn't always pay to put journalists before your fans.
  18. 18. Likes: 4,557 Shares: 711 Comments: 2,272
  19. 19. 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.
  20. 20. But what about bloggers? Instagrammers? Pinners? Should they be treated like journalists?
  21. 21. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before expecting unpaid coverage.
  22. 22. 1. Is this person a salaried or otherwise compensated media professional?
  23. 23. 2. How much work am I asking this person to do?
  24. 24. 3. Who stands to benefit most from this arrangement?
  25. 25. 4. Is this earned media or a marketing partnership?
  26. 26. 5. Would your business agree to an arrangement like this?
  27. 27. "You can't pay the power company with beer."
  28. 28. 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.
  29. 29. “ 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
  30. 30. The same goes for Instagram photographers and other online creative talents.
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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.
  33. 33. II. Sponsored Content and Native Ads
  34. 34. 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.
  35. 35. 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.
  36. 36. Should PR even be involved in something like native advertising? Yes, unless you want those dollars to go elsewhere.
  37. 37. 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.
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. 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.
  40. 40. 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.
  41. 41. “ “ 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
  42. 42. 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?
  43. 43. III. Promoted Content
  44. 44. 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.
  45. 45. 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.
  46. 46. Promoted content on Facebook
  47. 47. Promoted content on Twitter
  48. 48. Promoted content on LinkedIn
  49. 49. Google+ is testing promoted content in Google's ad network
  50. 50. Coming soon to Pinterest
  51. 51. What role does PR play in promoted content? PR is about being responsive, and that's where promoted content truly shines.
  52. 52. 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.
  53. 53. 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.
  54. 54. Closing Thoughts
  55. 55. It's an exciting time to be in PR, even if we don't still call it PR in a few years' time.
  56. 56. 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.
  57. 57. Thanks for your time. David Griner @Griner