Don’t know what a pay-for-play is? It’s not uncommon for media outlets to utilize “pay-for plays” to generate advertising revenue under the guise of “covering” your company’s story. What this means is that a sales rep, often misrepresenting themselves as a journalist, will try to sell a company the opportunity to be covered in their publication. Paying a media outlet for placement or a story is not PR. It is advertising.
If your company is looking for editorial coverage in a media outlet, we recommend you try the traditional route first. That is pitching your story idea to a media outlet in such a way that the media feels compelled to cover it because you have a fantastic company, product or service. That is why straight-up public relations is so valuable. A pure PR approach that gains the objective attention of a media outlet earns your credibility in the marketplace. However, remember that this approach is also more risky because you don’t control what the media ultimately says about you or your company. This is the part that makes many companies uncomfortable but ultimately it’s a trade off. The risk is higher but the reward can be priceless.
Remember to always ask questions if you do receive a call from a media outlet who wants to find out if you are interested in doing a “story.” Not too long ago I received a call from a national outlet that was interested in featuring podcasts from us only to find out through my persistent questioning that there was a steep price tag of thousands of dollars.