Paid: a must, not a maybe for PR

This afternoon I spoke on a panel at FutureComms15. The topic was PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned media.

My argument was simple – in this new digital age, paid media makes so much sense from a PR standpoint, I think there is no reason why it shouldn’t be part of all campaigns and programmes.

SEO, a missed opportunity

I believe the PR industry missed out on the opportunity presented by the growth of SEO (and still has in many places). And there is a danger the same will happen with paid media.

But, there is a caveat. The danger with paid is that it becomes a way to push crap content to audiences. That’s why we must not lose any of the rigour when it comes to creating great, quality content that tells compelling stories.

Paid doesn’t have to be taxing

2015-06-18_1908Paid media doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to use. In fact, it is easy to merely see it (at least to start with) as an extension of your existing PR activities.

For example, why not using Outbrain or Taboola to boost great editorial content? Why not using Twitter paid techniques to target lists of influencers with relevant content alongside organic outreach?

As Paul Sutton said on the panel, we need to be thinking about paid – and PESO in general – right at the beginning of campaigns, not just as an add-on.

What’s holding you back?

So why has the industry been tentative so far with paid? For me, it is a mindset issue.

Paid is seen as ‘cheating’ when it comes to PR. That needs to change. It needs to be seen as a strategic way to reach the right people with the right message and engage them.

That starts with education. Education in our agencies, in in-house teams and education across the industry. That means agencies taking clients on a journey – it’s not always easy to extract paid media budget from comms clients but the proof is in the pudding, so make the case using hard metrics.

Small steps

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a small additional budget when you next run your campaign.

So start small, be prepared to fail and learn, educate and build into future campaigns.


2 Replies to “Paid: a must, not a maybe for PR”

  1. Totally agree with you Danny. The industry is either scared shitless to get involved with the ‘big boys’ (advertisers) or totally myopic and can’t see beyond the ‘pure’ earned media.

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