Boost Your PR Campaign with a Paid Media Buy

Why You Should Boost Your PR Efforts with Paid Media

By: Lindsay Wyskowski

The right tools can help you boost your brand by cutting through the noise to reach your target audience and create greater visibility. That’s exactly why you should consider a paid media buy as a critical component of your next PR campaign.

Paid media buys were long considered taboo in public relations – something to shy away from in favor of traditional earned media. But the truth is, as the media landscape continues to evolve, paid media buys are an essential part of a robust PR program. Embracing this tactic puts your brand and your message front and center, giving a campaign the kick-start it needs to be successful.

Benefits of Buys

Before diving head first into adding paid media to a PR program, it can be helpful to understand why this particular tool is worth the investment.

Speed: Paid buys can disseminate your message more quickly and reliably than ever before. Depending on inventory and turnaround time, you can be in front of your target audience in a big way, in less than a few business days.

Control: Paying for a placement means putting your expertise to work and completely controlling your message. You can share specific elements of a program or product in your own words, instead of depending on someone else to tell the story for you.

Visibility: With paid buys, your brand can be front and center through a slew of tools, reaching people where they already are. Depending on the budget of your paid program, you can apply more money to your buy for a greater distribution of your message.

Types of Buys

After you determine a buy is the right direction to bolster a campaign, the next step will be to determine which type of paid route you’ll want to take. The direction you decide will account for what your objectives are and who your target audience is, setting you up for exposure to the right people at the right time.

Paid options include:

Sponsored content

Sponsored content takes many forms. TV stations offer paid segments, allowing you to help formulate the content people hear in a 4-minute block of time. News sites offer articles that look similar to the traditional content they churn out on a daily basis. Content specialists or someone from the brand writes the article to share a certain perspective. Other publications have paid visibility in newsletters, either as a presenting sponsor or an eblast wholly focused on a particular topic or product. Sponsored content is typically found alongside stories published by traditional media outlets, like magazines, newspapers and television shows. Sometimes sponsored content is referred to as an advertorial to designate it as a paid piece.

Online advertising

Online advertising encompasses all aspects of digital advertising. A PR campaign can utilize display ads that appear on websites consumers are already visiting, or keywords driving people to a certain landing page through a Google search. Online advertising also encompasses social ads, with boosted or promoted posts appearing in someone’s social feed. Online advertising allows brands to target consumers based on their objectives and who they are trying to get in front of, with parameters like location, age, gender, education, behaviors and interests among the targeting options people can apply to their ads.

Traditional advertising

When in doubt, the traditional route of advertisements can be a great tool for additional visibility. This might mean a print ad or a billboard, but it also encompasses radio ads and endorsements. According to a 2017 study from Nielsen, radio still reaches more Americans than any other platform, making it an ideal way to quickly and efficiently share your message with an audience who is already listening in. Radio ads can incorporate endorsements from on-air talent who may have a significant following in your target community.

Influencer marketing

With bloggers and social media personalities catching the attention of consumers around the globe, influencer marketing can introduce online consumers to a new service or product in a seemingly more organic way, despite the dollar behind the buy. In these instances, the influencer utilizes their blog and/or social channels to share insight into their experiences with the brand to talk about why other people may be interested in trying it for themselves. These influencers disclose their relationship, but often provide more authentic feedback than consumers can find in an ad or other paid avenue, allowing people to see how a real person interacts and engages with the brand’s offerings.

Other paid options might include media partnership, event sponsorships or speaking opportunities.

Is a Buy Right for Me?

With so many options available in a paid media toolkit, it’s relatively easy to boost your brand with a buy. Programs are customizable to meet specific goals. You can execute these plans over the course of a few weeks or months to ensure you reach the right people. Plus, these paid options can work in concert together, with sponsored content or digital ads directing people to a landing page with a special offer or more information to hook your audience.

Because the landscape of paid media can be confusing, working with the right partner can help you to identify the right opportunities and make recommendations to fit your campaign. Paid media opportunities should complement other aspects of your PR program. Messaging, creative and other elements should all tie together for maximum exposure and awareness.

Considering how you can boost your brand with a buy? Reach out to Identity to discuss what the best strategies are to make the most of your marketing and public relations budget.