Not to beat a dead horse, but we’ve again had the issue of confusion over guaranteed placements arise. Potential clients saying they’re hearing from companies in our space they can ‘guarantee’ them placements on stations around the country.
We understand this is an area in which others venture, but we do not. Guaranteed or secured placements are not media relations, they are ad-buys. The reporters we work with to have no question that the content we are offering them daily is truly news and worth a place in their news and public affairs programming. If we pay their advertising department to run something on Tuesday, what’s to make them want to run something solely based on its merit on Wednesday? This is a line we do not, and will never, cross.
It is fantastic to incorporate different communications strategies, including advertising, into your overall campaign strategy when needed. The difficulty comes in when the lines are blurred. When it may not be completely clear to those not as close to this issue as those of us in the space what service they’re really purchasing. True media relations is earning media. Period. If there’s money exchanged between stations and companies, it’s nothing more than a business transaction.