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A recent study revealed that ads bombarding the online community are offensive and editorial provides a more relaxing environment to absorb news. Gen X to Baby Boomers, according to the research, strongly objects to being hit constantly by brands online and in social media, to which they are constantly connected. The take away from this comprehensive investigation was that “Advertising on such sites is causing them to either cut back their use of such platforms, or even stop using them altogether,” according to the report. The results of this study are fascinating and revealing.

When considering an integrated marketing program, this bodes well for editorial coverage in the coveted media these audiences go to directly. In fact, the research suggests that younger generations place more trust in information they seek out themselves, again pointing the way to the inherent value of media coverage in the top tier press, something a top NYC-based boutique PR agency focuses on.

Where People Focus

The outlets that Millennials and Generation Z trust the most are sites that provide product reviews, such as Yelp and other important ones like Trip Advisor. These are also the sources most-trusted by older age groups (66%). However, from a marketing perspective, it is interesting to note that these demographic categories also go directly to the company websites, as they find them trustworthy. This argues for a well-executed and up-to-date presence with good content and captivating images.

The study also revealed a surprise: chat rooms and forums (65% and 44%) are closely followed. One site frequently mentioned was Reddit, and another was Quora.

At the same time, the research showed they spend lots of time scouring the Internet’s news sites from the Huffington Post to Vogue Weddings to Gawker for updates. And, of course, Vice must be mentioned for the younger demographic. But that is starting to become a frequent stop online for older folks as well.

Offensive Ads Alienate Readers

“Pushing out ads on social media is the surest way for brands to alienate consumers, especially the younger generations who make up more than 50 percent of the population,” said Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium Technologies, who conducted the study. “The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don’t do this risk their very existence.”

When considering your marketing mix, make sure to factor in the “soft sell,” but convincing communications tool, public relations, and specifically media coverage. After all, this exposure carries the invaluable third party endorsement factor advertising doesn’t, and everyone knows that instinctively when scanning the media.

Additionally, in line with the study, the people that go out and seek information on the topics they are specifically researching, be it travel or fashion, are obviously going to read closer and pay more attention than the ads that bombard them – even advertising in general. The relaxing environment of a well-tuned online media source or an informative website will win the day.

Develop Relationships

Relationships with editors develop over time, and those ties result in such coverage as cover stories in Conde Nast Traveler and Hotels Magazine. Everyone wants to be in the travel or business section of the New York Times, and a top flight PR firm should achieve that for a client with news. Or they should be creative enough to come up with angles that will get this kind of exposure.

There are a tremendous number of niche magazines that all generations read. For spa goers, there’s Organic Spa or Spa Finder. For golf lovers there are numerous glossies like Golf Digest and Golf World. For foodies there are such outlets as Saveur and Bon Appetit.

Getting exposure in these magazines, the print editions in particular, is a challenge, but achievable. Get your public relations firm to reach out to qualified and trustworthy journalists with a track record and invite them for a stay, but make sure they have an assignment and produce a story. That is the trick and your qualified PR firm will know how to insure that. Many of the reporters have their own Instagram feed, and will post images and Tweet news while on the property. Often they have large followings, and while it’s the editorial spreads you are hunting for, this social media exposure is powerful.

A Final Word: We Live in a Democracy

Advertisers are bound to realize the public is disenchanted with the current state of affairs. They have to refrain from polluting what are platforms that are intended to be democratic in nature – of the people, by the people, and for the people!