PR has always been saddled with the term ‘free’. Time and time again, I’ve had to educate clients and explain to them that PR is not free. Yes, editorial placed in a magazine does not incur an invoice from the magazine, newspaper, etc., but it does indeed incur expenses related to strategic planning, time, research, writing, pitching and management of the entire process in the form of hourly fees or a monthly retainer. Over time, this cliche has been negated a bit, but has never been fully eradicated.
Today, I am hearing the same phrase attached with social media. When I present a social media campaign with a price attached to it be in the form of a strategy, a creative concept, a retainer to manage and oversee each channel or plain SEO implementation, I’m hearing those same seven ugly words, “It’s free I can do it myself.” Really? It appears the cycle is starting again, this time with a new medium that is very popular, yet very misunderstood.
I say this, “go forth and DIY.” You will soon learn that like PR — and I am talking strategic marketing PR approach that shapes brands, changes perceptions, moves consumers to act, and more — social media the new vanguard of marketing is not free. It takes a strategic marketing communications approach, wrapped in branding messages but delivered via a cocktail-styled conversation that is interesting, beneficial and stimulating enough to engage and draw other conversations attracting additional social media channels.
The old adage applies; nothing in life worth having is free!