PR Insights

If you’re raising an investment round, you may have considered PR. Whether someone suggested it to you or you’re PR curious, you’ve probably wondered why PR comes up so often when you’re seeking investment. From your Series A and beyond, a good reputation helps you raise more money faster. PR helps you attract investors, provides ongoing confidence to investors, and helps the company’s valuation. These are the reasons investors like to see companies use some investment funds for marketing and PR. They know you can run a profitable business without PR, but you can’t be the market leader without PR. So, when should a startup hire a PR firm?  We work with a lot of companies either seeking acquisition or raising funds. Let’s dig deeper into how PR helps secure investors.

First Step: Segment Awareness

Many companies discount B2B or industry PR because industry publications don’t have the public cache of larger business publications like Bloomberg or the Wall Street Journal.

But that’s a mistake. Industry PR is one of the most underrated PR assets when looking for investors. Investors often circle an emerging industry sector, like healthtech or cleantech or cannabis,  to find opportunities, and vertical publications are a great resource. Let’s face it – your startup will not be a unicorn until you’re a segment leader. This type of PR might include thought leadership or owned content campaigns. If your company does not have many search results, industry PR is a natural first step.

There’s another reason to start there: it’s excellent practice. Having 10-15 interviews under your belt really makes a huge difference when you DO get an interview with a national publication. And these credible pieces show investors you’re ready for a capital raise.

Use Data and Insights for VC Funding

A key trend in securing media is providing data to journalists. Journalists are more constrained than ever before. Third-party, statistically relevant data is the crown jewel for consumer business publications like Fortune and Bloomberg. But if you don’t have that kind of research, especially if you’re a SaaS company use the data at your disposal. I don’t mean customer data, I mean information like trends that your product is seeing.

The media isn’t the only stakeholder group that loves data: VCs do, too. Having this data really gives you many ways to capture VC attention, drive and lead conversations, and earn trust from stakeholders. And the best part? You can keep some of this data private and in your pitch deck, which you can use in your funding pitches.

Build Today for Tomorrow’s Funding

Less than 1% of companies appear in the Wall Street Journal or Forbes. Earned media is valuable because it’s difficult to secure, and the credibility factor is greater than anything you can buy. But quality PR is a marathon, not a sprint, and the investment in PR becomes more valuable over time because the more press you secure, the more likely you are to be seen as credible.

Sometimes, companies who are raising funds come to us to help them close a deal. They say, “If I could get a few pieces of press next week, that would be great.” While we might assist you with some sponsored content or contributed content, that’s still an incredibly tight turnaround for us, in part because we don’t know your brand, your voice, and your leadership. And unless you’re already in the news cycle, it’s even less likely a company will secure earned media in that time frame.

PR for investors takes time. PR is branding to journalists. Here’s a typical situation: our groundwork pays off when a newsjacking opportunity presents itself, and journalists trust our client because we had been building that trust for three months already. After that, the company became a credible source for relevant topics for some of the world’s biggest media outlets.

Remember, credibility is not something you turn on and off; it’s something you nurture and guide. That’s PR, and that’s why it’s so valuable when you’re raising capital.

Added Bonus: Crisis PR Preparation

When you’re in the middle of a raise, that’s the last time to scramble for crisis PR. Should you have a crisis, whether that’s a product recall or something more complicated, when you’re raising money or pre-IPO, PR can be the difference between simply surviving and thriving after a crisis.

Crisis campaigns start at $20,000, and that’s after you find a PR firm while your crisis is spinning out of control. When you have a PR firm on retainer, the crisis will still be expensive, but your management of it will be swifter, more strategic, and more effective. With the help of a good PR firm, you can steer your way through the crisis and out the other side with confidence and your brand intact. You might even get bonus points from investors for handling the crisis well.

Taking care of your reputation always pays dividends. When the timing is right to raise capital, that’s a great time to hire a PR agency. A good reputation will help you raise more money, faster.

Choosing a B2B PR agency can feel overwhelming. For one, it’s all promises at the start, and for two, what’s REALLY the difference between PR agencies? Well, it’s important to understand distinctions, but only within the context of how they apply to you. It’s not just about PR pricing, realistically, the key elements to choosing a B2B PR firm require you to know your needs first. But here’s the advice I give my peers when they’re hiring an agency.

Do They Work With B2B Companies Like Me?

Choosing a B2B PR agency means knowing who you are now and where you’re going. Where you’re headed may be more important than who you are now.  And ask for B2B PR examples or case studies. When you look at the case studies, look to see how they are like you, if they’re where you want to be – and if the growth measurements are ones you can identify with. Yes, you can be impressed by tier 1 coverage in outlets like Bloomberg, or TechCrunch, but dig deeper and look at the situation and the outcomes.

Every PR agency has an ideal client with whom they work best. Don’t be afraid to ask: who do you work best with? For example, here at Avaans Media, we’re very clear. We work with very ambitious and fast-growing companies; for us that typically means companies that are pre-IPO startups. Some agencies specialize in tech PR, and some niche into industries like AI PR, cleantech PR, or cannabis PR.   Some agencies prefer to work with publicly traded companies, some prefer to work with clients in a particular sector (for us, that’s emerging industries).

My personal advice to my entrepreneurial colleagues: choose a PR agency who has experience with companies that have the same goals as you.

 

What’s the Experience Level of Your Team

Experience matters. An experienced team is skilled at scanning the horizons for the media trends that will impact your business and reputation the most while also being able to execute your tactical needs on a day-to-day basis.

A lot of times, the person you meet with about working with the agency never works on your account. So, that seasoned, wise exec is not the one solving your problems. It’s common for agencies to have inexperienced people doing the heavy lifting on PR accounts. How seasoned and wise is your PR team going to be? This is a really important question worth asking. I really believe one of the top reasons we’re a top-rated boutique PR Agency is because our team is executive-level experienced. Everyone on our team has a minimum of ten years of experience in PR, many of them with much more than that. As importantly, they can all discuss B2B media trends and their impact on your business.

My advice to my colleagues: make sure your team includes oversight from someone with at least twenty years PR experience. Your day-to-day person might be more like 15-17 years of experience, but you want someone who has been through funding rounds, recessions, wins and failures who oversees the strategy.

How Will They Measure Success?

There are a few key B2B KPIs that PR agencies can measure independently. But working with your PR agency, you can really start to see traction on outcomes if you’re working collaboratively. These could be business KPIs like moving the need in your business – things like sales impact, time to decision, and number of incoming inquiries. PR can impact Big Hairy Goals – if your B2B PR agency can’t show you how to measure these things, they might not think big enough for you.

Choosing a B2B PR agency that builds programs based on your goals is paramount, and for that, you need to be clear on your goals; and if you want to really maximize your investment, open the kimono a bit. If your goals are sales-oriented, have your salespeople talk to your PR agency about the problems they face in the marketplace. If your goals are related to an IPO, then share with your PR agency more information about your timeline, your targets, and your concerns. A great B2B PR agency can help you avoid pitfalls. If you’re looking for more venture funding as a PR goal, then make sure your PR team knows that and can share their experiences with you.

Bottom line advice to my colleagues: open the kimono and give your agency the room they need to be your partner, but when you do that, hold them accountable and keep make sure you’re both tracking KPIs.

B2B PR Pricing: Where Do You Fit In?

Yes, it’s essential to know your PR budget – but what’s equally important is to know the budgets of your agency’s clients.  This is one of those moments where bigger isn’t always better. For example, if your budget is under $175,000 annually, you probably don’t want one of the country’s largest PR firms, even though technically, they’d probably accept you, depending on the scope of work. Why? Because you’re likely to get shoe-horned into a PR team with little experience and a lot of turnover. Meanwhile, you can expect a consistent, experienced, and highly engaged team for that budget at a mid-range agency. And if you’re paying $5K/month at an agency, you simply aren’t paying enough. Agencies can’t do outstanding work for that budget; a freelancer can make it work, but a team of experienced, engaged, proactive PR executives can’t do the work needed for that budget.

Bottom line: when choosing a B2B PR agency, align your budget with the experience you’re looking for. You might not get the best for your team if you’re at the bottom of an agency’s scale. If you’re at the top of the scale, you can expect a white glove experience.

 

What’s the PR Plan?

One struggle we most commonly hear about hiring a PR firm is not knowing what you’re going to get. That’s true. The way most B2B PR agencies work is they provide you with a proposal about their program without having a firm grasp on the details of your business. Avaans Media solves this issue with our unique strategy-based PR pricing. This enables you to know exactly what you’re going to get before you make a massive commitment to a PR agency. The reality is, unless you’re really experienced working with PR agencies, you probably struggle to differentiate between the plans you get or the plans you get differentiate on things that won’t really matter to your outcome (like fancy proprietary platforms or reporting tools). Instead, focus on outcomes in your PR plan and ask your PR agency to provide you with expected results so you have a clear idea of how your PR plan will help your company grow.

Bottom-line advice: Get to the numbers fast. What does your PR agency realistically hope to accomplish?

Do you find yourself asking “What will I get for my money if I hire a PR agency?” You might even see offers for guaranteed media coverage. But should PR agencies guarantee media coverage? The reasons the answer is “no” might surprise you. Any PR agency that promises earned media coverage is putting their journalist contacts at risk for journalistic ethics violations. Guaranteed PR coverage is not only unethical, it can even be illegal. “Guaranteed” PR coverage rarely lives as long as earned media coverage. Finally, it doesn’t have the authority and trust that comes with credible earned media.

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Pay-to-Play Earned Media is Unethical

Sadly, we’ve seen it all, including journalists fired for violating professional journalist ethics. Violations might include not disclosing a monetary relationship or other conflict or interest. Paying a journalist under the table to write about a company or a product is the signal of an inexperienced, desperate, or unethical PR agency. These agencies don’t garner favor by journalists who value their jobs, and getting a journalist fired isn’t the way to reinforce media relationships. And when you hire a PR agency that does this, you’re attaching your brand’s reputation to unethical and even illegal behavior. No matter how cheap guaranteed PR coverage is, the cost to your reputation will far outweigh any benefits.

There is such a thing as legitimate sponsored coverage. And while sponsored coverage LOOKS like an article, it’s actually an advertisement. Secured through a media outlet’s advertising team, never directly with a journalist, sponsored coverage is a legitimate form of advertising. The FCC always requires sponsored coverage to identify itself as paid. Even Google wants to know what links are sponsored, and not tagging them correctly is an SEO risk authoritative and important media outlets won’t risk. Press releases are a great example of paid or sponsored coverage. Paid placements have a role in a campaign, and any good PR agency can make recommendations about how to use these tools in your campaign.

Guaranteed Coverage Isn’t Usually Authoritative

Fast-growing brands and hyper-growth companies need PR primarily for exposure and trust that typically comes from earned media.

Today’s readers and content consumers are incredibly savvy. After thousands of hours of advertising exposure, most consumers can sniff out the difference between advertising articles and journalistic pieces. Like all advertisements, ethically secured readers’ and viewers’ trust earned coverage because journalists maintain independence.

We’ve seen self-proclaimed PR experts use their positions as media contributors to promote their clients; these same people are banned from esteemed outlets like Entrepreneur and Forbes.  Most times, the brands paying for this coverage did not know that what the “PR expert” was doing was unethical or illegal. No one wins in this situation, certainly not the brand that thought they paid a PR firm to secure high-value coverage. This is especially painful because once discovered by the media outlet, that content is often removed from their website and, therefore the internet; this rarely happens with earned media coverage which lasts as long as the website is up.

Sponsored or Paid Coverage Doesn’t Last as Long

While earned media takes strategy, expertise, and, yes, time, ethical sponsored or paid coverage doesn’t last as long as earned coverage. Sponsored and paid coverage, while it has its place, is like any other advertisement: it typically runs for a limited amount of time, and then it disappears. One of the underappreciated perks of earned media is its longevity.

There’s nothing wrong with sponsored or paid coverage. We’ve seen some really remarkable pieces of sponsored coverage that went beyond the advertisement and well into providing true value for readers. The Washington Post, the New York Times, all do spectacular special projects like this. The starting cost is usually in the $50,000+ range. Regular ad rates for a premium location like the (printed) back page hover around $30,000 per ad, volume discounts usually apply to annual contracts. But hey, you’re getting ad placement in one of the world’s most credible news outlets at least once for that price.

 

The Case for Sponsored or Paid Coverage

Many emerging industries or pre-IPO companies want exposure and they want social proof. The weird thing about exposure is the more you get, the more exposure you’ll get. This is where sponsored coverage comes into play – and it’s essential to understand its role. What you DO with sponsored coverage and how you create the content for sponsored coverage makes all the difference. Working with a modern PR agency can help you distinguish yourself in sponsored or branded coverage and also help you make the most of it. There’s a place for this kind of media in the ecosystem today; it’s important to use it wisely.

 

Today’s modern PR firms are savvy in today’s media landscape, including traditional, paid, and digital mediums. We take our professional PR ethics very seriously, including guaranteed media coverage. Hire a PR firm you can trust and trust your PR firm.

As you research PR agencies you may see many touting that they are “boutique.” What is a boutique agency? A boutique agency is an agency that prides itself on its smaller size, usually under 20 employees. Boutique agencies tend to offer either specializations or a more hands-on approach to client services.

Is a boutique agency right for you? Whether a boutique agency is right for you certainly depends on your needs. So, let’s explore some common questions about boutique PR agencies.

Do Boutique Agencies Offer the Same Services as Larger Agencies?

In so much as all agencies vary in services offered, yes, but boutique agencies expand and contract as a client needs. To do this, they often rely on a trusted team of subject experts and implementation specialists. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. The advantage is you’re not paying for services and team members you aren’t using. The disadvantage is adding to scope and implementation may take longer. Let’s say you need a 3-minute video done, and you need it finished yesterday.

Regardless of agency size, you’re dealing with the adage of “pick two: fast, excellent, or cheap.” But a super-fast turnaround may be firmly in the realm of possibility within a large agency. They may have a scriptwriter, videographer, and editing team at the ready. Meanwhile, if you ask a boutique agency to script a video, record a video, and edit one, it may take slightly longer as those team members aren’t ready right away, and to make it happen, you may pay more for the additional scope than at a larger agency, since these are “on-call” specialist team members as opposed to those employed full-time by a larger agency. So if you need an agency for services at the last minute, or with a 24-7 approach, a larger agency may be your better choice.

On the other hand, at a larger agency, you are paying for 24/7 service whether you need it or not. Another consideration of larger agencies vs. boutique pr agencies is the experience level of your team. Larger PR agencies often have less seasoned account managers running your PR strategy, and that may lead to more turn over and missing out on decades of experience from executive-level PR teams. 

Do I Get The Same Level of Service?

Of course, it depends on your definition of service. So let’s break down how agencies of different sizes handle client management. Boutique agencies have more “working managers,” which means your account managers are frequently agency executives. Their level of engagement will vary depending on factors like your PR budget, but they’re more deeply involved with your account than at a larger agency. You may even work with the CEO of the agency at a boutique agency; a highly unlikely occurrence at a large agency.

Also, typically, larger agencies assign more clients per team member than boutique agencies do. While a strategist at a large agency may carry 6-8 clients, at a boutique agency, your strategist may carry 4-5 clients at once. For example, at our agency, we’re regularly receiving service inquiries, but our current clients always come first. We make that choice because our senior strategists are involved in both biz development and client work. If personalized strategies and personal attention matter, a smaller agency may suit you better.

At a larger agency, it’s very common to work with an executive during the RFP or decision-making process, but that executive is rarely involved in the day-to-day of your account; you may see them once a month. So if working with executive-level strategists is important to you, you may appreciate the personalized attention a boutique offers. But if you are someone who only wants to hear from your agency’s account team when necessary or you’re ok with a more junior account team for the day-to-day, then you may appreciate the larger agency’s approach. But if you want more engaged and experienced strategists, who are regularly active in and with your account, then a smaller agency might be better.

Are Boutique Agencies Less Expensive?

First, some perspective. Your $20,000 budget might be a minimum at a larger agency, but quite substantial at a boutique agency. So, you should consider the value of PR for your company and working with a larger agency as part of the whole value proposition (like the additional services mentioned above). Sometimes hiring a larger agency is well worth it; “no one ever got fired for hiring Edelman.”

So, even though your budget doesn’t command the same level of respect from a larger agency, there may be a real advantage to having a named agency as your agency of record.  But if you want the red carpet rolled out for you, at that price range, then a boutique agency may be a better choice for you.

With the emergence of ChatGPT, the world is waking up to changes in content. While these disruptions aren’t always visible to the average reader, top PR agencies have been aware of these changes for quite some time; well before AI-generated content. These changes are impacting all media, including tier one media outlets. These changes aren’t all bad – in fact, for PR savvy B2B companies, leveraging these opportunities can be game-changing. Whether you’re a challenger brand, an emerging industry or Pre-IPO, from CleanTech to HealthTech to Cannabis and AI companies, these are the 2024 B2B media trends leaders need today.

 

2024 B2B Media Trend #1: Thought Leadership, Not Just for CEOs

While CEOs will always play an important role in B2B brand reputation, today’s B2B companies can leverage other brilliant C-Suite leaders to expand their horizons and speak directly to their customer base. Let’s say you’re a SaaS platform for accountants – why not take advantage of thought leadership opportunities for your CFO? Your CEO probably has insights your customers and potential customers would really appreciate, and the signal you’re sending to them is “we get you.”

There’s no reason your C-Suite leaders need even to write their own content, ghost writers do the heavy lifting. In fact, from a brand reputation and thought leadership standpoint, having a ghostwriter is the most optimum choice. Top PR agencies have excellent writers in their ranks and you can take full advantage of their decades of discipline by leveraging that talent to do the heavy lifting of creating content calendars and ideas, not to mention eagle-eye editing.

While owned content remains extremely important, third-party thought leadership opportunities abound today. Never have there been so many opportunities for the C-Suite to make their mark. Today’s ambitious leaders are contributing to Forbes, Newsweek, Entrepreneur, and even industry verticals regularly. And that’s relevant because according to eMarketer, content marketing is the #2 channel driving revenues for B2B companies.

 

2024 B2B Media Trend #2: Give Me The Data

As advertising revenues decrease for top publications, there have been huge swaths of layoffs for journalists. Today’s freelance journalist doesn’t have the weight of the publication behind them in the same way and that means gathering marketplace, consumer, or trending data is harder than ever.

B2B companies can double down on earned media by commissioning credible research or leveraging their own data to provide insights to journalists on trending business stories. And remember, even the top business publications are chasing stories that are of broader interest to the public. Data is the hero of B2B PR – use it.

Not only will using data give you a burst of earned media coverage, but your customers will appreciate it, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. A well-structured survey will be useful throughout the year and position your company as the top of your industry immediately. Reports like this are also an excellent way to build out your database of potential customers.

Is commissioning credible data expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Only if you enjoy seeing your company in media outlets like Fortune, Inc., and Bloomberg. Even the Wall Street Journal uses third-party data, and there’s nothing like a quote from your leadership that solidifies a point of view with hard data.

While we’re at it, make PR decisions based on data, too. Modern PR firms have access to data that extends beyond reach and impressions. Identify target KPIs with your PR agency and demand they keep track of those KPIs quarterly. Your stakeholders, like B2B investors, will love this data and allow you to create credibility. Avaans Media uses a combination of social listening and AI to project trends and report on KPIs.

 

2024 B2B Media Trend #3: The Purpose Matters

As 2024 is an election year, there will be ever more eyes on how businesses impact culture. B2B companies can help their customers and themselves by articulating purpose beyond making money. Purpose-driven PR isn’t just for consumer brands anymore. This is especially true for Pre-IPO B2B companies.

Numerous B2B brands have leveraged purpose to distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, Purpose-driven companies make more money, have more engaged employees, more loyal customers, and are better at innovation and transformational change.” Purpose is your secret weapon to productivity and PR because purpose gives you another connection to make to timely news stories, especially trending stories like climate and the changing labor force.

If all that isn’t reason enough, because so many B2B leaders shrug off purpose-driven initiatives, it’s a great way to create a competitive advantage, even and especially when there is uncertainty.

2024 B2B Media Trend #4: Re-Thinking Social Media for B2B Companies

For the past two decades, Twitter was the town hall that gathered VC, potential customers, and media. PR-savvy CEOs took a personal interest in Twitter and knew how to leverage it. What’s more – media outlets LOVED going to Twitter to find sources, take a pulse, and find perspectives. But today, Twitter (X) is a red hot mess. The platform is unstable; the future is uncertain; the bots and trolls have taken over, and media outlets have jumped ship because of reduced credibility. There has been an onslaught of Twitter replacements, from Meta’s Threads to Jack Dorsey’s Blue Sky. But neither of them have quite reached the levels of Twitter (yet). But LinkedIn is a trusted standby and more and more professionals, including journalists, are finding refuge there.

LinkedIn has so many ways to improve a B2B brand, but one of our favorites is the LinkedIn newsletter. Leverage this this with premium content gets delivered right to the inboxes of your subscribers. Inboxes that your newsletter doesn’t have access to. LinkedIn is also experimenting with AI-generated content that allows thought leaders to contribute.

2024 B2B Media Trend #5: Use Your PR for Recruitment and Sales

Media coverage provides proof to investors, clients, and the public. But it also provides social proof in recruiting and sales.

From a recruiting standpoint, when your brand is an industry leader, PR helps you attract the best talent. This is especially important for hypergrowth companies who need top talent to take them to the next level or emerging industries that need to establish broader credibility. Your media coverage tells a candidate as much about you as your recruiter does. Plus, ambitious employees like to imagine that there is room for them to be included in media coverage.

PR takes a lot of heat for not being trackable. We disagree, PR is trackable, when your PR is aligned with your business strategies. But nowhere is that more clear than how PR increases revenue. PR helps your current customers stay confident in their choice, reduces friction for new customers, and stimulates potential revenue by allowing you to share solutions that potential customers didn’t even know could be solved.

When it comes to media trends emerging and ambitious brands need to know, no one knows that better than top PR agencies. Many things are driving media changes; social media is one. But so is the decrease in advertising revenue for publications, which drives a need for publications to get creative. You’ve probably seen an uptick in publications behind paywalls; that’s but one-way media outlets are changing revenue streams. PR firms need to be aware of the entire media landscape and provide their clients with the latest best practices; after all, expertise at the heart of what a leading PR agency does. These are the top 3 media trends emerging and ambitious brands need to know.

 

2024 Media Trend #1: Lead with Top Quality Content Creation

Be prepared to contribute content. This is an especially critical need for emerging industries and ambitious brands. Since the dawn of the internet, creating content has been a critical tent pole to any strategic PR or marketing plan. The difference today is that there is more opportunity to contribute content to premium outlets, from Entrepreneur Magazine to Forbes. Not only will this contributed content provide you with a premium platform, but your brand and voice will benefit from the media cache for social proof and SEO. It’s a win-win.

To be clear, this isn’t like writing a blog post; this content is a hybrid between earned content and owned content because it still goes through a stringent editorial process. This process can be very frustrating to time-crunched CEOs or marketing pros used to writing in a promotional rather than editorial style. Lean on your PR experts for this type of content; our team ghostwrites regularly and knows how to work with editors to reduce editorial friction and increase publishing speed.

Your owned content is perhaps your most valuable asset; besides controlling the message, it’s the most prominent voice of your brand. Some of this content should include very high-quality content targeted toward stakeholders and decision-makers, while other content should be for your consumers, and yet still other content can be for your SEO. There are many ways to maximize your content output and drive it to the right people. Many brands are loath to add their blog to the home page of their site as they don’t want too many distractions on their home page. As a digitally savvy PR firm, we can appreciate that concern. We employ several strategies to overcome this concern, but one is categorizing your content to appear in the right places. Your owned content is valuable. Ensure you’re using the right content for the right audiences in the right place.

Perhaps the most important media trend media trend emerging and ambitious brands need to know: premium content is premium because it’s thoughtful and useful to the reader. One rarely gets this kind of content straight out of ChatGPT or other AI-generated content programs. That’s not to say that these platforms aren’t helpful, but it is to say it should be used strategically. Make your content stand out by creating truly elevated content. The internet will appreciate it, and so will your brand.

2024 Media Trend #2:Today’s Sponsored Content

Open your mind to the world of sponsored content. Sponsored content has been around for a very long time, too, but today, it’s a broad term that covers everything from influencer content to a single piece of content and even a multitude of storyline features in a publication. For emerging industries and ambitious brands today’s sponsored content should absolutely be in the mix.

Some outlets have expansive brand partnerships where brands sponsor a section of coverage but leave editorial oversight to the publication. In these cases, brands sponsor content that their target audience would read rather than require articles about the brand. This premium tactic elevates the brand in the eyes of editors and customers. While this is a paid opportunity, and top publications offer no quid pro quo on these arrangements, editors are aware of who their top advertisers are, and exposure to the editorial team will always help your case when you have news, as you will already have some level of social proof. Again, it’s important to understand the nuances of an arrangement like this, and your digitally savvy PR agency can help you navigate those waters.

Another sponsored content option can include a “sponsored” article about your company or your CEO. Sponsored content is everywhere. Some sponsored content is limited to a single outlet, and some sponsored content may be produced and distributed to a multitude of outlets.

For example, many outlets, including tier 1 outlets, offer brands the opportunity to control a specific amount of space completely; the brand writes this content, and the best practice is to disclose this content as an ad or sponsored. When I owned a magazine, we called this content “advertorial” because the space was purchased, but it integrated with the style of the magazine. Again, here, your PR agency can create compelling editorial-style content that will drive eyeballs and allow emerging and ambitious brands to maximize social proof.

Another form of sponsored content that’s growing in popularity is content created with an editorial style and provided to many outlets. You often see this style of content in daily news shows that always need content and are under reduced staffing budgets. An example of this is gadget reviews on TV morning shows. Some (not all) of that is sponsored. A producer will create a segment and numerous TV shows will pick it up.

Press releases can be considered sponsored content. When you send a press release and it is distributed across the web, those are essentially paid placements.

 

2024 Media Trend #3: Affiliate Content is Changing

Affiliate marketing used to be a very low-brow way of marketing a product. It was very common for affiliate marketers to create incredibly spammy content and be aggressively sell products in their content. But today, affiliate marketing has changed. Premium tier-one outlets have improved this system and upgraded it with editorial-style content that also includes affiliate links. Google punishes websites that don’t disclose affiliate links, but many media outlets find readers don’t seem more bothered about affiliate links than they are about advertising in print magazines – so long as the content is good.

Affiliate content and PR are working hand in hand these days as publications turn to new ways to drive revenue. For CPG or consumer brands, having an affiliate program is essential to productive PR coverage today.

It’s also important to understand that product PR is very cyclical. So as you consider the timing on your product PR, be sure to understand media trends and how your product fits into the media cycle. The media cycle doesn’t bend to your needs, you fit into theirs – important to keep in mind during product launch planning and other marketing programs like influencer campaigns.