Digital Didn’t Kill The Traditional Star
Although people and businesses can talk directly to the media, a PR professional knows that the chances are very good that they do not have the fundamental principles of public relations. This means that they can make a mess of things very quickly, which may be difficult to fix.
Excellent PR in media requires knowledge of all of the core components that make up a successful PR campaign in the media. A top PR professional knows that it is not just about being the broker, but it is the specific strategies you use when you act as the bridge between the client and the media.
Let’s talk about the media. Life is harder for journalists but it’s getting even more difficult for PR professionals vying for their attention. These days you need to think like a journalist to get your story in the news. Your story has to be ground breaking, topical, and it has to bring something new to the reader. Your media has to be more targeted and your media relations solid in order to get your stories told to the right people. Media monitoring and evaluations have changed too. PR professionals are no longer excited about that big spread in the magazine. Now it’s about getting their story told on the front page of a website. Better still if they can have their client tagged in a post on Twitter from someone with thousands of followers.
Just as media relations is a big part of PR, so too are social media and digital PR. PR offline or online is about building awareness, credibility and goodwill. It’s about building a presence and gaining the understanding and support of your stakeholders. PR has always been about creating a favourable operating climate for a company. Digital PR is no different. It’s about building that same presence online, understanding the digital landscape you operate in, and developing strong relationships with all the players in your social map. The techniques include search engine optimization (SEO), content development, social media, online newsrooms, websites, blogs and online media coverage.
The way businesses look at advertising has also changed. While companies used to spend quite a bit on Ads in the print media, they are now looking at other avenues to get more mileage with every dollar spent. They want to track their Ads and they want to see results – in other words, new customers and trade leads. When it comes to ROI, it’s difficult to measure. Online advertising, on the other hand, is fast becoming the norm. Digital content publishers are creating more compelling and targeted ad offerings across desktop, mobile and video channels. Everyone is looking at social networking sites as they offer a huge audience for a small fee – one that can also be budgeted and capped. Print Ads is still definitely on the menu but it will have to come with online accompaniments
There is no question that technology has changed the PR and marketing industry. Over the past twenty or so years, we’ve seen the emergence of emails, websites, social media, smart phones and mobile apps. We are dispersing and receiving information on multiple platforms. Many companies are diverting their budgets to content marketing, and the PR industry is perfectly poised for this method. The bread n’ butter of public relations is earned media. Earned media is content driven and traditional marketing activities do still work – in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, direct mail and networking – for the widest possible reach to all demographics.
So, in the battle of digital versus traditional PR, which does your brand need? The simple answer is both. Whereas traditional media offers validations and credibility, online media offers speed and reach. Integration is key to achieving maximum visibility.
Some tips to help you along:
- Set campaign goals: Traditional PR campaign goals often include placements in target publications along with the total number of media impressions.
- Search and social media news campaigns: If you want to reach out to bloggers, grow your Twitter community, build a Facebook group, generate more site traffic, and raise your social media visibility through SEO rankings – schedule your releases to go out at least once a month. Higher frequency positions you as a newsmaker and one to watch. And, you’ll get more opportunities to fine-tune your message and measure results.
- Be newsworthy: Because social media sites are searchable, every action or comment can be public.
- No buzz, don’t fuss: What happens when you have nothing newsworthy to shout about? Focus on topics that relate to the specific area of expertise or business service you want to grow or highlight. Think about why and how your stories need to be told. How can you tie into trends or other newsworthy events? Look at stories in the news and find connections to what you do.
- Target Media: To whom are you pitching to?Do you already have a media list that includes newspapers, trade publications, magazines, radio and TV reporters? Good for you! Now, find the reporters and their media outlets on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. To expand your coverage, include bloggers and community sites in your niche.
- Distribute and share: Now that your social media release is ready to go, you can get the word out in a number of ways. Post your releases on your site or blog with an RSS feed option to automatically update subscribers.Choose a free or paid distribution service to send your news to search engines, wire services and industry-specific RSS feeds (e.g. PR Newswire).
- Measure results: Keep an eye on your campaign goals and see how your results measure up. To track the performance of your release on search engines, enter your key terms. Type the release headline in the search bar to see what sites picked it up. With social media, set up a search term or hashtag, to group results across channels.
One last point. Technology is constantly evolving and businesses must adapt to the evolving marketplace to succeed. If you subscribe to that, it can elicit the approval of your target market which can be fun but you also need a PR professional who understands the core components of traditional PR and knowledge of digital media to get the job done right for you.
By Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media