#UnpickingPR: Does Traditional Media Still Have a Role in the Digital Age?
In our new series, #UnpickingPR, we look at the changing shape of PR and how to deliver campaigns which both grab attention and sustain relevance.
Our first edition explores how to balance keeping up with the ever-evolving digital space of blogs and social media with staying faithful to print and face-to-face relations.
How much importance should you place on landing those newspaper and magazine placements in a world obsessed with traffic, engagement and shares?
Don’t Let There be a Disconnect
The commonly-peddled idea of ‘print vs. digital’ encourages a mutually exclusive perception of two opposing worlds, not helped by the trope of them being run by dinosaurs and pre-pubescents respectively.
However, there’s no need to think so disjointedly; the two approaches can work together.
Two methods are better than one, as Relevance International CEO Suzanne Rosnowski recently maintained.
In her opinion, “It is simply another channel key to communicating to the potential customer.”
Similarly, events PR today relies on digital methods to spread the word, sending out online press releases, live-tweeting, documenting the night in Instagram photos and inviting the world into proceedings via Snapchat, all before posting a blog round-up afterwards.
Introduce SEO as a Firm Friend
The ever-more sophisticated dos and don’ts of search engine optimisation can seem alien to a discipline which relies on newsstands and footfall to survive.
Yet good link-building is achieved by earned media – organic methods which require almost the exact same set of skills as traditional PR.
Relationship-building, finding the right angle and writing interesting, relevant content remains a staple of public relations whether online or offline. At the same time, the quality of your site and online content must already be up to scratch, which you will need to be completely au fait with Google’s latest ranking methods to achieve.
As Main Street ROI founder Phil Frost attests: “Having great people skills ultimately doesn’t matter if your website isn’t worth talking about.”
Plus, the wealth of data mined in every SEO planning stage is invaluable to any writer in traditional press. Keyword research and trending topics will heavily inform any editorial calendar, no matter the medium.
Recognise the Influence of Remaining Print
Think about it, the credibility of newspapers and magazines which have withstood the digital revolution is not something to be sniffed at. When looking to secure high-quality links to your site, it doesn’t get much better than titles whose business deals as much in print as it does in websites.
Land a spot in the newspaper or magazine which has successfully navigated both the old and the brave new world, and you are pretty much guaranteed exposure which every brand is looking to attain.
Their brand is probably instantly recognisable, their reach significant and their readers loyal, and therefore highly trusting of anything they promote.
They dominate a space which is far less crowded than the internet, where readers have better attention spans.
It’s easy to see why: newspapers and magazines aren’t saturated with marketing messages all fighting for attention from mobile users with limited time on their commute or lunch break.
Once the relationship with a print journalist is established, you have a much higher chance of being featured on their site, which would usually have pretty solid metrics.
Plus, reaching older audiences with higher spending power is much more likely via print.
In fact, the sometimes-seemingly divergent approaches of traditional and digital PR can complement each other perfectly.
It makes complete sense to marry the two tactics when you really look at how the basic principles of each can not only exist alongside each other but create better campaigns in unison. As an example, our work for one children’s fashion brand relies on both placing products in parenting magazines and working with high-authority influencers for links and social coverage.
When it comes to implementing successful PR campaigns, all roads lead to Rome!
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