How Important Is Traditional PR In The Age Of Social Media?

Although we’re in the age of blogging and social media, being featured in the traditional media (TV, print and radio) is still tremendously important.  In many ways it’s even more important than it was a decade ago.   PR specialists who are shifting their focus solely online are loosing sight of the value that traditional media offers.  Whereas any effective public relations campaign needs to include an online approach that embodies social media, it’s important to make sure that the core traditional elements are also in place.

Why is traditional media so important?  The recognition factor that traditional media offers is immense.  Most consumers will be able to recognize and identify popular newspapers, magazines or TV stations much more readily than they will the most popular blogs online that are not mainstream.  The traditional media have built credible brands that carry weight, influence and credibility.  If a story is featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or CNN, that coverage is going to be more impressive to the average consumer than if it were featured in the top online blogs.  Perhaps even more importantly, if a story is covered in the traditional media, it is all but guaranteed to be covered online by blogs and discussed on social media sites.  Add to that the fact that traditional media outlets also have an internet presence and their sites generally generate more traffic than even the top online blogs.

Bloggers often write about what’s going on in traditional media, whether it’s a TV segment or a story that was covered in the newspaper. If you land an interview in traditional media, you’re likely to catch the attention of social media as well. Furthermore, appearing in traditional media gives you something to post about in your own blog and in social networks.

The truth is that social media and blogging should be a core component of any media relations campaign, and driving and controlling your message by placing stories in the traditional media is more critical than ever.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that how you pitch the traditional media is different than how you approach bloggers or online media.  The online approach is more direct, you’re talking more directly to the consumer.  When pitching newspaper and magazine editors or radio and TV producers, you’re pitching the media, not the public.  You need to convince that editor or producer that your story is compelling and speaks directly to his or her target audience.

This is not an either or situation, you want a combined online and traditional media approach; but if you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to gain the credibility and validation of being perceived as a news story, you need a traditional PR campaign.

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