When should you pay for PR?

At some point, an organisation will need to pay someone to do their PR. After PR support has been accounted for – is it ever right to have to ‘pay’ any more for PR?

Having to pay for PR comes in various forms – from sending products to the media for review, for journalists to go on press trips to visit a facility or destination or increasingly, paying for content in titles that need monetary support to survive.

Depending on the nature of your business, it might be that certain costs are unavoidable. If you are a manufacturer of a gadget and you need journalists to review the product, you will need to cover the cost of supplying and getting the product to them. In most cases, it will not be returned.

Likewise, if you are a travel destination and you want someone to visit and write up their experiences, you will need to account for the costs, unless in exceptional circumstances. This is especially true today because of pressures on publications to cut budgets but maintain editorially interesting stories. Increasing numbers of publications offer review opportunities to writers and bloggers as part of their payment negotiations.

However, just because the product or experience was provided free to the journalist does not mean they are obliged to write a good review, if it does not live up to their expectations. If you can’t afford to get a negative review, it might be better to try a different strategy to get attention.
Sometimes, a publication will just come straight out with a request for money to run a story. This could be in the form of an advert, or perhaps a mixture of advertising and editorial.

Depending on what suits your company’s objectives, it might be that some support should be provided to particular magazines that work in this way. This is especially true for organisations operating in niche markets with just a few trade publications, that are read by the entire industry. Though many organisations may baulk at paying more for PR, there are benefits of subtle combinations of advertising and editorial, for example.

An experienced PR will be able to advise what works well, what will bring a return or result on the investment, and how the activity can support your long-term business aims.

If you would like advice on your PR strategy and tactics, get in touch today.


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