By Melissa A Vitale
Seeking efficiency in marketing budget, a common question that passes my desk is about a "Pay-per-placement" model of Public relations.
Before you get your hopes up, this is not something I offer.
MAVPR focuses on storytelling, media relations and executive thought leadership and visibility in top tier articles. This can be a combination of Full Features - a story centered entirely on you, and often the hardest to come by unless you're Elon Musk, commentary in industry and trend stories, and inclusions in round ups of category-listed articles. The strategy to securing these types of featured placements in the Forbes, Marie Claire's and Rolling Stones' of the world involves pitches that will capture an editor's attention, my strong relationships, and a deep understanding of the media environment.
Every single editor, journalist, editorial director, digital site manager, and outlet itself have their own editorial schedule. Just because a client wants to be featured in outlets, doesn't mean that the writers who want to feature you will have time or will get commissioned for those stories, especially if there is nothing time-sensitive anchoring a journalist's interest. This is why PR plans typically cannot be less than three months, because there needs to be time for the press to align their interest in a client with their editorial schedule.
With strong relationships, sometimes features come before the contract is signed, other times, there could be two months passing before traction starts to build.
Securing press interest involves writing, editing, emailing, calling, face-to-face meetings and even events to present a client to a journalist in the way that will be most receptive. After all that, you may get a feedback along the lines of "I love this! I'm swamped right now but catch up with me after this month and I'll revisit the topic!" That feedback usually leads to a story or inclusion, as long as that journalist is reminded.
Due to the media landscape, press efforts can often be a game of Russian roulette, where sometimes round after round of pitches yields very little, and then BAM, three features right after another. Its for this reason you work with a skilled publicist who can navigate the murky waters of media relations and still make sure your name has an established presence.
I explain all that to paint a quick picture of all that is required to secure a story. The reason that pay-per-placement firms are very rare (to this day, I know of only one that operated in 2016 but whose cofounders have hence moved on to more lucrative marketing services) is because they could involve intense amounts of work for little reward.
When you ask a publicist if you could pay per placement, you are asking if they could bear the costs of your media efforts, while you will pay when you deem their work has produced the result you desire, and not paying for the work they did to achieve those results.
In a competitive marketplace where a NYC-based freelance publicist is in high-demand for brands, the choice to work for clients who will pay for all the work instead of the result isn't difficult to make.
If I were to charge a pay-per-placement model, it could mean charging the equivalent of up to three full retainers to encompass all the unpaid work, and at that point, you may as well look into sponsored post options, something that MAVPR does not specialize in.
To learn more about what we do specialize in, please visit: https://www.melissaavitale.com/about.html
Melissa A Vitale Public Relations
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups in artificial intelligence, sexual wellness and legal cannabis.