<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The Alternative Board Blog

Sponsored Content: Public Relations Dream or Nightmare?

Jan. 17, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
All our press releases

PR is changing alongside the business plans of newspapers and magazines...

I've never worked in PR, so I don’t often blog about public relations.  If you’ll allow me to be completely honest, I don’t really understand PR.  I work in marketing at a small business, so I've written a press release or two, and I’m a total geek for social networking, so I’m familiar with PR tools like HARO and Muck Rack, but I've never had any formal public relations training, and I’m just beginning to grasp how the whole thing works.

 All our press releases (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

 As a formal (hack) journalist, I've encountered a lot of surprises in my unguided introduction to PR; what has surprised me most is that many publications will pick up press releases without editing them.  I guess this shouldn't surprise me, because formerly, I worked as the assistant editor for a magazine.  In this position, I scoured every word of copy that came in from our editorial side, but I never gave any of the advertisements we ran a second glance.

I thought this practice was one of the hazards of being on a 3 personal editorial staff at a tiny regional magazine.  But after seeing the snafu, that The Atlantic Magazine worked itself into this week; I’m realizing that editorial ambivalence towards paid content that appears in magazines is more or less universal.

If you’re not a journalism nerd, The Atlantic has been around for over a century, and is very well known for the thoroughness of its fact checkers.   An objectionable ad sneaking its way into the sponsored content section of The Atlantic is akin to a escaped death row prisoner cajoling his way into a private dinner at the White House.

Everyone makes mistakes, and since this is a business blog, I’ll spare you any more blathering about editorial practice, or journalistic integrity.  If you own a business, the only thing you need to know is that for the right amount of money, it’s currently possible to publish anything you want in the online version of any periodical.

Want additional insight? Download Hiring a Business Coach for Your Small Business now 


As is often the case with huge businesses opportunities, being able to publish whatever you want is the ultimate double edged sword.  Magazines usually go to great lengths to differentiate sponsored content from editorial content.  This means that unless your company is VERY controversial, (like Scientology controversial) your business is going to catch all of the flack for errors in content, grammar, graphics, organization, prose, etc.

In this situation, knowledge is power.  Know that any press release you send to a wire service is going to appear exactly as you submit it.  Know that sponsored content you submit to magazines is not going to be so much as glanced at by any member of that magazines editorial staff.  Realistically, this means hiring a professional writer, or at least contracting with a copy editor.  If you insist on producing your own content, edit, edit, edit and edit.

Pay extra close attention to randomly capitalized letters.  I know how you business people are…

Want to talk small business public relations?  Chime in on Facebook.


Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

Related posts

How Stronger Vendor Relationships Can Spur Growth
Apr. 2, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Vendors may not seem like a high-priority constituency to most CEOs and business owners, but in fact, a strong business-vendor relationship can significantly boost growth. Unfortunately, many people...
How A Brand Strategy Can Help Your Business Grow
Mar. 19, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Amazingly, even in our highly brand-conscious times, it’s not always clear what people mean by “branding.” Different experts place emphasis on different elements in the brand strategy, so it’s...
Networking To Grow Your Business
Mar. 4, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
As a business owner, you can be so busy with other aspects of your business that you may neglect putting in the time to connect with like-minded people. Whether it’s online or in person, networking...
Keep Your Team Productive and Motivated in Our Uncertain Times
Feb. 14, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
There’s a great deal of uncertainty in the world today, some of which directly (or indirectly) affects the businesses you lead. Political, financial, cultural and religious upheavals generate what...
Why Branding Is Important to Your Marketing Efforts
Feb. 7, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Everyone used to know what “branding” meant—a logo, name, catchphrase, or some mixture of these and other graphic design elements to promote a business. In the twenty-first century, the concept of...
A Guide to Marketing Your Specialized Business
May. 29, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
  Specialized businesses have their own marketing opportunities and challenges. Also known as niche marketing, the focus is on connecting with a specific, targeted audience and communicating the...
Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?
Apr. 24, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
According to the Small Business Association, “All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.” Of course, no business wants to spur feelings of disgust or...
5 Tips for Monitoring Your Competitor’s Marketing Strategy
Apr. 23, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
 No matter how unique their product or service, every business has a competitor (or more than one). This is probably a good thing because it means no CEO or business owner can become complacent or...
5 Tips for Leveraging Social Media to Boost Your Sales
Apr. 9, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Like virtually everything else in business, sales activities have been forever altered in the digital era. Use of mobile technology, for example, has dramatically enhanced the ability of sales teams...
Top 6 Sales Pitch Mistakes Your Team Can't Afford to Make
Apr. 9, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
It was once considered acceptable to use a “one-size-fits-all” sales pitch with prospects, regardless of their business or industry. Like so much else in today’s marketplace, that sales practice is...