Most news organizations have a firm separation between “church and state” when you are discussing earned versus paid opportunities. However, just because your sales rep says the editorial team is a completely different department it does not mean you should shy away from flexing a creative muscle or two.
Recently we supported a client with two strong buys—one television and one daily newspaper. The experiences could not be more different. The daily newspaper had a slimmer staff and fewer resources for us to tap into and brainstorm how we might have leveraged the buy across teams.
On the other hand, the television partner was incredibly responsive and open to our creative recommendations and a true partner on both sides of the house. That said, our success with earned opportunities stemming from the paid partnership still took a tremendous amount of hard work, newsworthy pitches and willingness to stretch beyond on-camera ideas to digital and social media real estate.
Based on all of this, I wanted to share a few tips with our readers for maximizing and extending an investment in a paid media campaign.
- Brainstorm: As the PR team, toss the paid playbook to the side and ask to accompany your client to any and all meeting with the sales team. Bring ideas that fit within the sponsorship but also plenty that go beyond. For example, determine how the news team considers multimedia content when they cannot send a reporter or a crew to an event. Will they take photos or b-roll shot by the PR team for a short voiceover story if time/interest allows?
- Be a Content Resource: Photos, videos, social media content calendars, infographics… Reporters and producers are always on deadline, so how can you make their job easier? Ask if its possible to create a shared Google drive or Dropbox folder with non-branded assets that the news or social media teams can review and use for stories.
- Ask to Help: Is the newspaper trying to grow its Twitter presence? Is the TV station looking to engage more of its audience on Pinterest? Figure out the goals of the editorial team and then talk with them (or your sales rep) about how your client can be a resource specific to those needs.
- Know Your Metrics, Review Results: The more you know and share up front about how your client will measure success, the better. Be upfront about critical metrics, whether they are ticket sales or a specific product purchase, and put checks and balances in place for determining what worked well and areas for improvement. If impressions on a banner ad mean nothing to the client but doubling followers on a social media platform is a win, negotiate paid support accordingly.
Every media sales rep will tell you that they never follow a “one size fits all” media buy approach. However, no matter what a magazine, newspaper or television station outlines as part of a media buy, think bigger. Invite the right PR, marketing and social media teammates to the tables to increase creativity and collaboration. I am confident everyone will be much happier with the true partnership established by the end.