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The struggles of earned media

Since the invention of the internet, the ability to reach a mass audience has dramatically changed the way in which PROs and journalists alike now think about content. With 64% of people choosing to get their news online, the value of online space is now greater than ever which is the one thing I both love and hate about digital PR.

One of my biggest frustrations is the increasing number of journalists requesting money in exchange for coverage and links. I’ve seen it happen in print over the last few years, but it seems that the digital world is now attempting to cash in on content too.

The price of publication
With this in mind, it raises the question: how much relevant content is being ignored because there is no budget? And how much content is being published purely for financial gain?  

Alex Jones, head of earned media at PR agency Hallam, tested this theory by contacting 299 bloggers and webmasters, prioritising 60 of the most relevant blogs.

The content was newsworthy and would be of genuine interest to the readers of each publication.

In total, Alex received 106 replies with 54 asking what budget he had available. The rest stated their fee upfront.

Cost Vs Domain Authority

The costs ranged from £30 to £180 across a number of sites for the same content, with some lower domain rating websites charging more than the rest.

Cost Vs UVPM

As publishers are in complete control of what they charge per piece of edit, it means that we are unable to track the genuine value of online coverage, as the pricing is purely determined by that individual.

How can we change this?
Unfortunately, as an industry this is not something we can change. We need to learn to embrace it. It means we need to be smarter in our approach to content. We need to ensure that every piece we write is newsworthy and not to be missed.

It is more important than ever to ensure you are researching your target audience and industry to keep on top of the latest trends. What has been popular recently? What is going viral? How can we emulate this for our clients?

We need to make sure we are not writing for the sake of writing but we are considering each article we put together and how interesting and shareable that content is.

As long as we are doing all that we can to create news articles and hooks that are too good to miss, then it’s mission accomplished.
Keep on writing!

We must keep on writing! As with all content that we create, if we get a knock back... we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again.

With the growth of online content showing no signs of stopping, the use of advertorials and sponsored content as a PR and marketing channel is likely to grow and we need to be prepared.

Let’s continue to create trust and credibility in editorial, by engaging readers and audiences and offering content with actionable insights.

 Written by Ruby Harrison, digital PR and outreach executive at Hallam

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