Should You Pay to Play?

PR is traditionally categorized as earned media. Unlike advertising, there is no fee to share your thought leadership content, speak at a conference or win an award — you earn those opportunities based on merit. But the solid Sharpie lines between editorial and advertising have become dotted pencil lines. And while the trained eye can typically tell whether a placement falls in the paid category, many do not recognize the difference.

As a result, PR and marketing professionals have to be savvier about their marketing and editorial spend. News outlets are desperately in need of content to fuel their 24/7 news channels and, facing reduced editorial budgets, they are competing with self-publishing opportunities aplenty.

All this is not to say that paid opportunities are bad; in fact there are more sponsored opportunities than ever. Rather, in today’s dynamic media and marketing environment, companies that want to get aggressive about PR must also consider quality paid content opportunities as part of their budgets. Because today, most everybody looking to maintain market prominence has to pay to play in some way.

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