As the name suggests, paid media is any promotional activity which costs a brand money. In the past, paid media has generally been considered untrustworthy, and brands were advised to focus their efforts on creating genuine awareness among audiences through organic approaches.
What is paid media and why is it important?
Whilst this is still true in many cases, there is a new feeling in PR that organic growth alone is not enough. This change has been brought about by the changing media landscape, which has seen the rise of promoted social media content, influencers and search and social media algorithms. Paid media is now a necessity for brands to consider, giving them more control and improved targeted brand awareness.
How is paid media used in PR campaigns?
Paid media is an effective tool to reliably expand reach and generate more direct traffic to owned media, such as the company website. Unlike other media forms, sponsored content is guaranteed to reach specific targeted audiences which may not have come across the brand through other organic campaign tactics. It is a great way of amplifying a PR campaign beyond its organic reach and to specific niches within a publication’s readers.
Types of paid media
- Newspaper or magazine advertising
- Radio ads
- Advertorial content
- Sponsored Tweets or Instagram posts
- Facebook ads and campaigns
- Paid influencer partnerships
- Sponsored content
- Email marketing
- Display ads
- Google pay per click
Pros and cons of paid
The unpredictability of traditional PR is what makes paid strategies attractive options. Paid PR ensures brands have control over the media published and associated messaging. This form of media can also be run on a much wider scale with a larger reach than other media forms.
Using paid strategies allows brands to cut through social media or search engine algorithms through sponsored content and adverts. Advertising makes social media platforms profitable, and channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram expect brands to pay to reach target audiences.
On the other hand, brands must consider the costs of a strong paid media strategy. Lower trust levels for paid media means that it is most effective when used as part of a wider, rounded campaign which incorporates earned, shared and owned media.
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