Public Relations – Pay Per Clip? Pay Per Play? Pay Per Something…

October 25, 2006


I ran across an article today labeled Goodbye, Retainers. It’s an interesting piece about a company using results-based public relations, or paying only when their PR firm lands them different forms of media press. It’s not a new idea, but there is a newer twist to it.

The “pay-per-clip”, or “pay-per-play” concept is partially based on advertisers already knowing how to track their online campaign results through pay-per-click advertising. In a way, this is a similar tactic to track offline results from PR firms.

This can be compelling, especially for localized companies who have a decent PR budget.  However, there is a core difference between the offline and online counterparts:

The pay-per-clip or play is still “push” marketing where you place an advertisement in front of targeted consumers. Pay-per-click is still “pull” marketing where online users are searching for your products or services. This isn’t a good or bad thing, but more or a “what it is” thing and should be noted.

As it’s compelling to some, it’s also considered commission PR to others, kind of like pay-per-click services who guarantee top rankings in search engines for select terms, without thinking of customer conversions. My guess is there are those who are very good at this PR model, and those who say they are.