Today's post is from my friend Erin from Tales from a Marketing Mama. A local blogger, Erin has been in marketing and PR for a number of years and understands pitching, being pitched and what constitutes paid media so listen up! Be sure to leave her some comment love and visit her blog!
There have been a lot of questions lately circulating the interwebs around PR, media requests and payment. And depending on a blogger's background, I’m not sure that everyone understands the difference between editorial and advertorial and free media coverage and advertising.
Blogs have changed the face of media; there is no question about it. And all parties, bloggers and companies included, are still navigating these gray, murky waters.
But here are the facts.
Editorial is unpaid.
It’s difficult to define but editorial is generally considered to be content that appears in a newspaper, news channel, magazine or website that is considered timely, relevant news. Editorial cannot be paid for and you cannot demand that it be run nor anything about the story or how it’s covered. Topics cover greatly depending on the outlet pitched. This is a big no duh, but what is interesting to one paper, magazine or site, may not be interesting to another – which is why companies pitch multiple outlets and send out mainstream press releases. Companies do not control the final content.
I know many bloggers receive releases from brands and companies. They are hoping that if you find their pitch interesting enough you will write about it. Some will. Some won’t. It’s the same as a newspaper or a magazine. And yes, writers for those publications get paid. But they get paid BY THE PUBLICATION, not by the company.
I personally have received press releases from many local companies- some for events, others for general news. I won’t generally write about the news, but I will about the events because I think it will provide value to my readers. But I have no obligation and generally don’t respond if it’s a release that has no meaning to me or my blog. Same thing here goes for reviews. I don’t think a product review should EVER be paid for. It makes the writer biased. If you don’t want to review the product or don’t have time, then nicely say no and move along.
An advertorial is paid.
Obviously if you are paying for it, you are guaranteed inclusion in the news outlet. Of course, then there is the argument that the “article” now loses credibility as it is biased and contains outright company messaging. But the message is out there and that is important to many brands. Sponsored posts are advertorial in my book. And if a company wants to control your message, then yes, you should be getting paid for creating that content.
The main thing to remember is that companies are always trying to garner publicity for their latest and greatest. The most common approach is to start with free PR and then advertise. If you really want to work with a company, then follow up to their release and say “I don’t generally run straight news releases on my site, but am happy to run a banner ad for you at this cost…”
Many companies will say no thanks and move on the next blogger, writer or reporter who will run it for free. But there are also many companies who will pass that information along to the marketing team and come back with a yes and a paycheck. No’s happen more, but yes’s do happen.
Keep trying and don't give up. You'll get a YES soon enough.
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Hey- I'm Melissa! I'm a mom, side hustler, online course instructor, and brand marketer. I run a 6-figure blog helping online biz owners find their a-ha moments with can-do tips, tutorials, and online courses. I also work at Burt's Bees as the Social Media Strategist (yep, it's as cool as it sounds). Jump start your biz productivity with my free worksheet!