Traditional PR Hasn’t Changed, It has Competition from Social Media

Gina Dietrich wrote Traditional PR Has Changed and So Must You but I beg to differ. While I don’t disagree with how she’s presenting her argument, as all communications firms are trying to sell social media marketing and public relations services, neither is mutually exclusive nor has changed the other. Social media, put simply, has opened new doors of communications for public relations and marketing professionals. Traditional PR hasn’t changed. It has competition.

Some many of us don’t pick up print magazines with our hands anymore nor do we dirty our fingers with newspaper ink. Our days are spent consuming information from blogs, social networks, feeds and other digital oriented outlets where we can read and respond, interact and engage. But, the practice of public relations or social media marketing are not hurting each other. Each continues to validate the other as some mediums (ie. Twitter) are superb at distilling the most precious story down to 140 characters while more traditional types (ie. InformationWeek) require hundreds of words to tell a story.

And, clients are aware. No longer are we selling the fad of social media. No longer are negating the value of the press. We’re educating companies on the need to have a presence in both mediums for the benefit of their businesses and the audiences they serve.

An online security company may generate actual business leads from Twitter as well as from a contributed article placed in a targeted trade publication. Placing too much weight on one or another communication vehicle without establishing a case as to why may cause a company to lose a potential opportunity. Our approach is what’s mistaken.

We’ve been so conditioned to believe that in order for a new advancement to succeed, it predecessor must morph or die. However, I believe that this is a cultural misnomer when it comes to describing social media’s influence on public relations. Social media marketing is quite frankly just another vehicle for building brand interest and engagement than its traditional PR cousin. Both are in the same family, yet do not need to compete nor discount one another’s talents to achieve the same goal.

There is no one size fits all solution for whether or not public relations or social media marketing will work for your business or organizations. Strategically assessing your market, where your customers are and how to get through to them is the best solution for deciding upon which path to take and how to plan for success. If an integrated marketing agency tell you that “PR is Dead”, maybe it’s time for you to look at their competition…

David Libby is widely recognized as a thought leader around leveraging and integrating cutting edge communications technologies, social and digital platforms and traditional media. Since 1994 David has applied his creativity and marketing acumen to develop and execute award winning public relations and social media marketing campaigns for a variety of clients. To learn more about David, please visit www.linkedin.com/in/davidslibby/

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