Is Media Coverage Free?

By Jennifer Manocchio

Media coverage is “free” in terms of editorial placement in a newspaper, magazine, radio show, television news show or online.  Since a journalist is writing about your product or service in editorial coverage, you do not pay for that placement.

If a media contact is asking you to pay for editorial placement, run as fast as possible from the opportunity. No credible media outlet asks to be compensated for editorial coverage. The editorial and advertising lines at some trade publications or small newspapers tends to be a bit blurred and some will use this approach to sell advertising.  Again, walk away.

Also, avoid the trap that production studios often set.  Typically you receive a call to get a product, service or company featured in a particular television program.  They bait you saying your company or product will get exclusivity, and they need to know your interest ASAP because their producers are making decisions on products/services/companies over the next few days. What you typically find is these shows are aired on cable with no concrete number of people actually watching the show. AND they charge you!  Run… don’t walk!

While editorial placement is “free”, the real answer to this question is achieving media coverage is typically not free.  You still have to spend time and money generating awareness for your company and brand(s).  Publicity and media relations are an investment and a process.  They demand time and attention whether you manage that internally or hire an outside agency to support your efforts.


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Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.