Paid. Historically this word has been taboo, even shunned within the public relations world. If we remembered anything from our Intro to Marketing classes, the difference between public relations and advertising is that “advertising you pay for, PR you pray for.” So, why are we seeing Paid Media pop up as an offering by public relations firms?
“Brands are becoming publishers, creating truly great content that has true value – whether it’s information or entertainment value, it’s not advertising.” – Huff Post Tech
Consumers are smart and getting smarter. They are certainly smart enough to see through a standard banner ad. But there is more to just developing genuine content. The content needs to be put in front of the right people at the right time.
The focus on content development and the offering of Native advertising has created a natural bridge between what used to be two divided practices. As paid placements continue to look less like banner ads and more like relevant content, worlds of opportunity have been opened for PR folks to leverage paid media tactics to amplify the reach of earned or owned content and share content with the right audience.
“More than ever PR is integrated across many disciplines, often making the most of the tools and tactics available to communicate a brand message. There are times a PR program will leverage paid tactics … alongside of branded, owned and earned media. PR is about much more than just ‘editorial coverage.” – Forbes
So what if we don’t embrace this paid and unpaid partnership? For one, all the paid media planners and buyers out there working in PR (including me) will feel left out and sad, but more importantly PR firms are going to miss opportunities and their clients will suffer as a result. It simply is not an option.
“Earned media is where we live; the conversation starts with earned media. [And] owned is critical to getting earned media. But when it comes to paid media, it doesn’t always feel right to talk about a paid component. But we have to get over it. Increasingly, your clients are going to ask you about your paid strategy and you need to know. This will be part of your clients’ goals.” – PRNews Online
So rather than dwell on how to keep earned and paid media separate, it is our responsibility as marketers to embrace the collaboration. Is paid media part of your current PR strategy? If not, you might want to ask why.
All of our work is described with the same adjective. Powerful. We operate as full strategic partners with our clients. This approach is the direct result of our heritage as part of one of the world’s premier agencies, Ogilvy Public Relations.