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What is an “exclusive” in the context of PR?

When information, an article, imagery or other media is offered to just one publication, it can be termed an exclusive. In this way, the provider of the content can communicate to the publication that they value their platform and audience highly enough to prioritise it over competitors, and have chosen to align themselves with that platform for the release of the content.

For a PR or marketing team, the benefits of offering an exclusive are significant. In addition to the relationship-building that might result from the alignment, there’s a good chance that an exclusive will be better-positioned and highlighted within the publication. While the content may have been included in the publication in any case, an exclusive allows an easy “angle” to publicise the piece, whether by adding the word “exclusive” to a homepage headline, placing it on a newspaper or magazine’s cover, or even using it as in teaser content for the publication such as mailers, online ads distributed through google for example, or street pole notices for newspapers.

How to pitch this type of story?

The terms of an this type of story should be clearly stated: perhaps a photo is offered as a newspaper exclusive but will also be given to magazines, with the understanding that the magazines will take much longer to go to print and so the newspaper will have the privilege of being the first to share the exclusive media, outpacing their own competitor publications. Similarly, a country exclusive would mean that no other publication in the specified region would have access to the media being offered – a proposition which some would find meaningless in the internet age, while for others it would remain very valuable. Establishing terms of exclusivity allows for a clear understanding of the value of content being offered, avoids confusion, and allows publications to usefully communicate what makes the story worthy of their audience’s attention.

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