Forbes Offers PR a Lifevest for Earned/Paid Media


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Businessman With Dollar Sign Paper Bag On His Head Walking On Subway PlatformIn the world of paid vs. earned vs. owned media, things are about to get very interesting. Coming this week, as part of a massive overhaul of its print and Web properties, Forbes will unveil what it’s calling “AdVoice”—essentially, a paid blogging platform for companies, non-profits and other organizations that will reside alongside its editorial content on Forbes.com, and presumably, within its organic search results, as detailed by AdAge this week.

While reading about this new blend of paid/earned media, I was fascinated by the potential branding and content-development opportunities, particularly the content’s prime placement within Forbes’ vaunted editorial landscape, something that has traditionally been off-limits. Also of interest is how these paid company blogs will play into Forbes’ SEO and search results, which at nearly 20 million unique monthly visitors (according to Forbes’ internal analytics), is both large and influential.

From the PR professionals’ perspective, let’s say you’re head of communications for a large non-profit, or you’re looking to give your clients’ blogs a bit more exposure in a highly-relevant, respected and valued branding presence. Is this the golden opportunity we’ve all been waiting for?

The pitfalls of advertorials, sponsored posts and similar paid media opportunities currently available is that they are either boring to the reader/viewer (as is the case with advertorials), or don’t show up in organic search results, forcing PR, comms and advertising professionals to put in a hefty amount of work developing the content for little SEO value in the long run.

But with Forbes.com’s new paid blogging platform, this may be a thing of the past.

Especially as the number of reporters continues to shrink, and resources to cover individual businesses or smaller news stories continue to tighten, I predict paid blogging platforms like this will be a huge hit within the corporate communications and agency world.

While potentially controversial because they do place paid content directly within the editorial ecosystem, this platform appears to offer a nice blend between paid, earned and owned media. I also predict it will be a big boon for the PR profession as PR pros continue their rise as the respected media and brand counselors for companies and organizations.

Put yourself in the PR Director’s chair: Would you pursue a blogging platform opportunity like this, either for your company/organization or a client? What are some potential pitfalls of paid blogging platforms?

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