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Digital media is a lightning fast world—without a strong plan in place, things can go upside down when you’re out for lunch.

By Karla Jo Helms

Because digital media is so new many businesses and PR people alike are not aware that there is a lot of planning and strategizing that goes into a successful digital media PR campaign.  PR people who deem themselves ‘experts in digital media’ simply follow the buzz that implies you can just post messages on Twitter and Facebook to a group of followers and friends and your business magically improves.

The missing piece to the puzzle here lies in the fact that anyone can Twitter but that does not make them a Twitterer.  There is a huge difference between using digital media as a hobby and using it for professional reasons and many PR people and businesses fail to understand this concept.

So why use a PR professional for digital media?  Well, the answer to this lies in data from a recent study that found that a lot of businesses felt that they could not always be certain about the return they are going to get with PR or if the PR campaign will produce the desired effect.  These results indicate that PR, the way it is typically being done today, is being done w-r-o-n-g.  Yep, wrong.

An excellent PR professional can change these perceptions. Proper use of digital media can be extremely beneficial in alleviating these frustrations by having on board an informed PR professional that understands traditional PR and how these time-honored rules apply to the digital world.

Extraordinary PR and Digital Media

 You may remember the days of faxing through antiquated fax machines that produced faxes on a roll of paper.  People sent out press releases through what was known as ‘fax blasting” where you simply plugged a whole bunch of fax numbers into your fax machine and sent out your press release haphazardly to a random number of recipients.  The result was that your fax ended up on a roll of paper along with hundreds of other fax messages which overflowed onto the floor.  When you called the agency to find out if they received your fax they had no idea what you were talking about.

This is a classic example of what can happen with digital media. If you do not understand how it works you can create a lot of “noise” with no results. You have PR people that do not understand the components of traditional media and key Internet and social media marketing concepts which are essential for putting all the elements together to create an effective PR strategy.  In the latter categories, there are a lot of dos and don’ts. If you end up doing too many don’ts you can get your client in a lot of hot water and destroy the company reputation within minutes online – and that’s not an exaggeration!

What most businesses and PR people do not understand is that a successful PR campaign for digital media begins offline with research and traditional media fundamentals. Without these core components, PR in digital media ends up being like the fax machine that sends out messages without knowing anything about the audience that is receiving them.  It is actually a digital fax blast only it is done with a different type of tool online.

A PR campaign for digital media also requires an ongoing time investment since it is not solely about tweeting a message for people to buy your product.  In fact, doing this will get you in trouble rather quickly.  There is an entire strategy that must be followed and managed and many businesses who understand this include a separate online marketing strategy in their traditional marketing plan.  It is that important!

So, if you are wondering whether or not PR professionals are being outdated along with the fax machines, think again because you need their expertise in both the traditional media and digital media worlds if you expect to achieve anything with your PR campaign.