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Why ads are out and PR is in

December 19, 2014

Taking a quote from Paris Hilton, PR is “so hot right now.”  Literally.

In an era where you can communicate with your audiences immediately and directly through a variety of channels and address your customer in an instant through social media, clients want to know and understand the product or service they’re buying.  We’ve never before experienced the informed consumer like we do today. Whether it’s industry insights, a viewpoint from your CEO, case studies, success stories and partnerships with a customer, you name it — they want to read it.

When I first started my career at a public relations and advertising agency, the PR division was always considered the red-headed step child. We didn’t bring in near the amount of money as the advertising side and no one really understood what PR was or why anyone would pay for it over a glossy brochure or ad placement. Fast-forward 10 years and I’ve overheard agency owners commenting that, “PR is where you get the real bang for your buck.”

While I like to believe this has always been the case, the actual point is that while ad placements raise visibility and awareness about a company or new product or service, the value of editorial coverage or a case study in a reputable trade publication or newspaper is priceless. Here’s an example: If you were to buy an ad on the front page of your Sunday newspaper, what would it cost in advertising dollars? Let’s just say $25,000 for the sake of the argument.  If you can earn this same space in the newspaper, without paying for it and having earned the coverage — the value of the actual article is truly priceless. Credible, earned media opens doors for businesses and individuals alike. And as many businesses are experiencing first-hand, new business meetings can’t take place without it. In many instances, it’s the case study or editorial coverage that allowed a meeting with a potential client to take place.

In 2015, as oil and gas companies determine how much scaling back they’ll be doing on their ad budgets, expect a shift in focus to generating more editorial content (or qualified content in general). Industry insights, CEO interviews, case studies, white papers, etc. will carry the torch going forward because not only is it cost effective, but the return on investment is invaluable.

(Note: Obviously, there’s a lot I didn’t touch on here, like the impact of qualified content on a company’s website and SEO. Also, while Paige PR is thrilled to brag on generating content, the truth is, an integrated communication approach that includes components such as public relations, marketing, advertising and social media strategy is really the best approach.)

For tips and ideas on building a content development strategy, email me.