Does getting editorial coverage mean you should buy an ad?

Sponsored content means more and more media may expect compensation for running an article about your client. That’s why you must set ground rules at the start of a relationship.

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It’s happening even more with sponsored content, native advertising and using social media promotions to push brand journalism content. Bad communication can lead to unpleasantness when a publication expects something in return for editorial coverage.

Is it fair for a publication to expect—even demand—advertising dollars if they run editorial? Is it appropriate for the media outlet to feel entitled to it? Is a PR pro responsible for the decision?

A few quick thoughts:

• If a publication expects advertising or dollars in exchange for editorial, it is the editor’s job to make that clear from the outset. Don’t be afraid to ask.

• It is standard behavior for all PR pros to assume the content they provide on behalf of a client will be published free of charge, neither side expecting compensation. That is what PR clients pay for, and it benefits publications through free content tailored to their readership. Sponsored content is valuable when the publication running it normally pays freelancers or when its reporters are overwhelmed. It is meant to benefit both sides. While PR pros realize this, remember that journalists may not understand how the new PR works, especially if they come from advertising or are new to the media.

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