5 things we learned about paid media and PR

I was even less popular with my 5-a-side football team than usual this Tuesday as I left my boot bag in the wardrobe and bounded along to the latest PRCA Digital Group Digibites session: Paid media and PR – What’s that all about then?

What is it all about indeed, I thought? Paying to reach your audiences is cheating surely? Okay, I wasn’t ever quite that naïve – but there are still those people that still consider paid media one of the darker arts of the PR industry.

So, the PRCA Digital Group gathered some of the leading experts on the topic of paid media to teach us the ways of the so called Dark Side.

The evening kicked off with two presentations by representatives from Twitter and Outbrain – revealing some basic tips and tricks on how to use these platforms to boost the impact of your content with a paid strategy.

It was then over to an expert panel of digital strategists to answer questions from the chair and the floor to reveal their deepest and darkest secrets. Here are five things we learned.

Fortune 500 companies generally promote around a third of what they tweet. Promoted tweets are where brands spend the majority of their budgets and this is where targeting and creatives come to life. You can look at what people are tweeting about and target them off the back of key words or who they are following.

Jen Stevens, Twitter UK

PR agencies understand content and Outbrain is about amplifying content, so it’s a match made in heaven. The quality of content being produced is not reducing, but the way people find it and how it is promoted is changing. Outbrain guarantees that your content is reaching its target audience, targeting individuals based on what is contextually relevant and interesting to them.

Gemma Isaacs, Outbrain

Paid media is not cheating. It allows you to, with laser focus, connect to the people you want to connect to, at a relevant moment, to illicit a good response. Unless there is some sense of momentum, people sometimes don’t feel content is worthy of their attention. So, using paid media can help give it that validation through momentum.

Jan Mikulin, Grayling

If you content sucks, no one will engage with it. Tools like Outbrain allow you to cast your net wider and make sure people are seeing the good content you’re producing. The granularity of how you target your audience is really important, especially on platforms like Facebook. You can target very specific audiences such as students in certain locations and use a combination of earned and owned media to reach them. When it comes to measuring your success, concentrate on two or three key metrics that are important to you and make sure you hit them.

Helen Wood, H+K Strategies

When it comes to incorporating paid media into your budget you can use the simple 70:20:10 rule. 70% is what you absolutely know works; 20% are things you want to try and the remaining 10% can be used for something that could give that wow factor. Plan your paid strategy by reach. You can use tools like Outbrain and Twitter to benchmark the reach you need and to understand what you need to pay.

Andrew Jennings, Ketchum

H+K Admin

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search