In the past, most viewed PR professionals as people who wrote press releases, pitched the media, and hoped to garner coverage as a result. Today, our duties as PR pros go much further than pitching a story and getting coverage. Yes, we still work with the media to secure a good story, but we can no longer rely on target audiences seeing that coverage in its original format. It’s also up to us to spread the word in other ways. We create content for social posts and are continually brainstorming creative ways to have as many people as possible see each piece of coverage.
Within the past year, we’ve run into a challenge in regard to social sharing that has become the topic of more and more conversations in our team meetings. With the number of media outlets diminishing seemingly daily, comes the discussion of paywalls and limiting the number of articles viewers can read before paying. A paywall is a method of restricting access to a certain website without a paid subscription – a common practice for online news outlets. As someone who wants to keep outlets alive, I am happy to pay, but as someone who also wants to share client news, I am torn!
The question the office has been bringing up over and over again is do you share the article, knowing the majority of your audience doesn’t subscribe to the specific outlet but hope they see the headline and like the post? Or do you not share the article at all? A loaded question, we know!
Unfortunately, we know the majority of social users are scrolling quickly through their feeds and engage with posts based on headlines. If this is the case, then there’s a benefit to sharing a New York Times article to highlight your client was included knowing that the details of the article may go unread.
Internally, we have determined a best practice for our clients: We alert them that the coverage is behind a paywall but through experience, we still recommend that it’s worth sharing. However, because we choose to share the article, it must be accompanied by a strong, informative social post explaining the content and including client messaging. Sharing just the link is never acceptable.
We want to hear from you! Do you just “like” the post or do you get frustrated when shared content is behind a paywall? Tweet us and let us know!