To Pay or Not to Pay? When it Comes to PR, That’s the Question

Eleven International offers some insight on when paying for coverage makes sense for the visibility of your brand.

To Pay or Not to Pay? When it Comes to PR, That’s the Question

Eleven International offers some insight on when paying for coverage makes sense for the visibility of your brand.

Recently, we offered advice on how to spot fraudsters in the PR space in this article. In short, some agencies use cheap tactics to trick their clients into thinking they’ve got Bloomberg or MarketWatch coverage, when in reality it’s a buried press release post they simply paid for. 

The focus of that article was to show how to tell the difference between organic coverage and “fake” coverage that’s pretending to be organic coverage. And given that focus, there wasn’t much space to dwell on when paying for coverage is the right move. 

So, this follow-up piece is going to dive into the other side of the story, and share some examples and advice on when paying for coverage does make sense. Mostly we’ll focus on the tech PR space, as that’s our particular field of expertise. But these rules can be applied elsewhere as well.


 

If you have any questions or specific examples you want our advice on, leave a comment at the end!

If you want lifestyle coverage, you’ll need to pay

We touched on this briefly in the last article, but let’s recap with more detail here. Often, when consumer tech brands have saturated the early adopter market, the next obvious step up is to reach the mass audience via lifestyle media. This is a fiercely contested market, where it’s very much pay-to-play. After all, heavyweights of the lifestyle media world like Hypebeast and Elle Magazine know how much their audience’s attention is worth. 

For media tie-ups with major names like this, the cost is high, but these channels offer unparalleled access to mainstream consumer audiences, and a huge boost in not only brand awareness, but credibility too. To sweeten the deal, reach is often guaranteed in the form of impressions, and the package usually includes other perks such as social media promotions and even videos, in addition to a straightforward article posting.

If you want to talk crypto tokenomics, you’ll need to pay

For reasons obvious to us all, reporters are not going to help Web3 projects pump their token prices. Or even if you find a reporter who is willing, they won’t get the story approved by their editor. So if you’re a Web3 brand that wants to go into details related to an airdrop, tokenomics, or any other marketing-type angle that relates to the financials side of your project, you’ll need to opt for a sponsored content package. Your options here will range from a simple press release posting, to in-depth platform or tokenomics reviews. And in the current newscycle where TradFi is dominating, it’s not a bad idea to increase brand awareness through such means, runway permitting. 


 

“Brands usually don’t want to go silent between major announcements, otherwise they lose the momentum they’ve worked so hard to build.”

If you need to put out a message that isn’t newsworthy,  you’ll need to pay

This is where newswires usually come into play. Simply put, some corporate announcements are boring. Necessary, but boring. Maybe it’s a top-up funding round where you can’t announce any numbers or names, but you need to keep the investors happy. Or maybe it’s a strategic expansion that you need to communicate beyond your own channels, but it doesn’t match the newscycle right now.

At times like these, when reporters aren’t interested, time is of the essence, and high-quality organic coverage simply isn’t the priority, it’s OK to pay. The same goes for when you just need to shamelessly promote something ASAP.

 

Image by Patrick Fore

If you’ve got no news but need to keep vocal, you’ll need to pay

Brands usually don’t want to go silent between major announcements, otherwise they lose the momentum they’ve worked so hard to build. But often there’s not enough happening for a big news blast every month. So, to keep up the pace of coverage, newswires and sponsored content can help to show you’re still actively communicating with the market.

In this situation, there are still organic coverage options on the table (which we’ve talked about here), but if your team is too busy to dream up crafty tactics, and you’ve got some extra budget to play with, it’s a perfectly acceptable PR strategy to pay to keep up your share of voice.  

If you’re working with influencers on device reviews (and you’re not Apple), you’ll need to pay

Unless you’re a household name like Apple or Samsung, it’s a competitive market out there and influencers charge top dollar for access to their audience. This is different to the tech reviewers based at media publications, who won’t charge fees. Influencers’ fees depend on the type of content they produce, the size of their audience, and which platform you’re targeting. One top tip is to check how consistent their view count is across their last 5-10 videos. 

These are just a few examples to capture the reality of doing PR on a consistent basis. Especially for startups, there’s not a headline-grabbing update to share every month. Often, remaining active and visible is a higher priority than securing top tier organic coverage. Although of course everyone would love to achieve both consistently. But when that’s not an option, hopefully we’ve reassured you that it is in fact OK to pay, as long as those newswire hits aren’t being billed as something more. 

 

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