4. January 2009 11:28
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to take a look at a handful of common myths and misunderstandings among managers new to PR and to media relations in particular.
Today's myth is the perennial question about the link (or not) between PR and advertising.
"We do a load of advertising in Widgets Weekly - we should be getting some free editorial every week too..."
Here's the truth as we see it after 20 years in PR.
Newspaper and magazine editorial teams are usually entirely independent of their advertising colleagues, and insist on keeping it that way. Big advertisers (indeed, any advertisers) are not routinely given preferential treatment when it comes to editorial. It's all about journalistic integrity.
If you want editorial coverage in your main trade journal (or any respectable publication), you have to work for it. That means having a real piece of news or timely, interesting story or point of view to offer. You need to know how best to approach the right media with the right story at the right time and in the right way. You don't have to advertise at all, or spend any money with a publication, in order to get a genuine journalist interested in publishing a genuine story.
There are many monthly and quarterly publications (print and online) in the construction and property sectors that operate in a different way - offering to publish 'free' vanity profiles of trade associations in exchange for members' details, or requesting a 'colour separation' fee for photos. This is a subject I'll return to again another day.
But for now, let me just clear this up in a single sentence: this is not editorial, it's advertising just dressed up a different way (and actually with fewer benefits than real display advertising). Our typical advice to our clients is: Don't go there.