The Lure of Guarantees

Recently, we've seen, and are often asked, about "what guarantees" we have for placements. From broadcast TV news, to radio, to Online. The irony is, of course, that traditionally, PR's ability to place "earned media" or editorial coverage, has no guarantees - that's why it's PR and not advertising. Of course, with an ever-evolving news and online environment, there is an increased pressure to deliver eyeballs, and the idea of a guarantee can be attractive.  And, it must be said - a quality placement for pay, should be considered when the end result may be a strong, valuable airing or mention on or within a reputable program, outlet or publication. So, how do you know what you are getting when you hear "we guarantee results?"  More and more often, we are  including “earned + paid” media in your plans – is it the right approach?  Here are a few guidelines from Boom:

1. Do your homework.  Ask for details on the guarantees:

  • What, exactly, does the guarantee represent? Usually, this is a buy on a station or outlet. It may be worthwhile as long as the client is getting what they signed on for: content that runs during editorial air-time, and is or can be perceived as editorial and not pure advertising.
  • What outlets are represented? Get a station list and, if possible, audience or impressions for that media outlet.
  • Who do they reach? Ask for audience, or impressions associated with the outlet.  Is the viewership Nielsen rated? Is it cable? Is it a digital station associated with the main  outlet?
  • When/where does it air or run and how is that verifiable?

2. How does the buy affect your budget and is the return on investment worth it? You may be better off going with a true earned media tactic on news radio versus a buy on television that only airs on lesser cable outlets.