As lines between advertising and news blur, what’s a PR pro to do?

News outlets are increasingly tying their coverage choices to their advertising departments. That may mean a different approach to pitching.

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Editorial is unpaid. Advertorial is paid. Simple, right? Try again.

Prior to websites and blogs, public relations practitioners spent countless hours pitching their stories to newspapers, long-lead publications such as magazines, radio stations and television stations. When it came to covering what was newsworthy, reporters were more than eager to speak with the designated spokesperson about X, Y and Z.

Now, imagine having to not only secure the interest of the reporter, but also get consent from the advertising department for that media outlet. For those working in public relations, this is quickly becoming a reality. Recently, I secured an interview for a client on a regional television station in Canada. My media contact was more than pleased to have my client on for a demonstration and a chat as to what was happening at his attraction.

Fast-forward one week later. The interview opportunity was taken off the table. Why? The advertising department had tried and failed to sign an advertising deal with the client and were uneasy about having someone on air who had yet to spend a dollar of their budget on advertising with the aforementioned television station.

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