The Cycle

Pay-for-coverage programs not new, or easy, says professor

Asked about blogger-payment programs conducted by what many believe to be a growing number of communications professionals, Don Bates, professor at George Washington University, told PRWeek via e-mail that such efforts aren’t controversial, or new. Said Bates: “A minority of PR firms has been using paid advertising and paid media for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been around the business for more than 35 years.”

“Paid media is a reasonable extension of PR services, and to my way of thinking, something that should be considered, especially in this era of digital communications when so much is moving to the Wild West of online,” he said.

However, Bates added, the practice “is not for the uninitiated.”

“It may look easy but it isn’t. The required research, art, copy, placement, billing, administration – all are different than their counterparts in PR,” he added. “Then there’s the potential impact on your media relations work. Once you start advertising, the media will start to treat you like an ad agency with potentially negative consequences for your client’s or employer’s press coverage.”

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