Even in a fast-paced, all-consuming digital world, there is a place at the top for traditional PR that can work some magic.
By Karla Jo Helms
While traditional PR is often thought of as using the more antiquated tools such as hard copy publications, the method of traditional PR will never go out of style even with the rising popularity of digital media. Although one day things may go totally digital there is still a balance right now between traditional PR and digital media.
Most people think of a PR professional as being a broker who communicates between the client and the media. Regardless of whether it is traditional PR or digital PR people are always going to need this service to ensure their dollars are well spent on a PR campaign. Although people, consumers, 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 muck of things very quickly which may be difficult to reconcile.
Core Components of Traditional Media
Excellent PR in traditional media requires knowledge of all the core components that make up a successful PR campaign in traditional media. A first-rate 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 broker between the client and the media.
Core components for traditional media include thorough research of the client and their company and their acts of goodwill, evaluation of the current strategies they use for reaching critical mass, the needs of the target market, and other factors that must be known to create a natural message that aligns with the company’s purpose and mission. These necessary elements do not fade when it comes to successful PR in the digital world.
Fast Forward to Digital Media
Accomplished PR professionals know the fundamentals of communication that separate the noise from the real stories. By ‘noise’ we mean PR that lacks focus and is more passive by simply firing off statements about this event or that event. A quality PR company will have a handle on how to make a PR campaign stand out amongst the noise of both traditional media and digital media.
When it comes to digital media it is such a new medium that no one has really found a term which identifies it other than the term ‘social media.’ The onslaught of user-generated content inundates and jams the communication lines with information that lacks direction and which may be accurate and may not. Additionally, you have a lot of people out there calling themselves ‘experts’ in digital media when they do not even have a clue as to how to go about establishing PR online that will ensure success for their client. They lack the knowledge of the fundamentals such as having a message and communicating it as well as how they are going to communicate it and how it will be received.
The so-called ‘digital media experts’ simply go about it by tweeting one message on Twitter and then posting something else on Facebook with no relevancy or focus to their strategy, if you want to call it that. What’s more is they lack the fundamentals of PR protocol and the proper strategies which must be used online. And, “yes” there are certain procedures you must follow when you create a PR campaign online. There is promotional etiquette to follow as well as criteria you must meet for the search engines if you want to be successful in achieving visibility for your client. These statutes even apply to a 140-character message on Twitter since the search engines recognize social media posts as relevant and list them in the search results. The search engines even list videos so you must also be aware of the guidelines you must follow if you create a PR campaign through video.
Using these few instances as an example represents a prime reason why most PR professionals create a lot of noise without results. Although digital media is in its infancy right now there is still a set of rules you must follow. If you fail to have the knowledge and expertise of what works and what doesn’t in the digital world your client’s reputation can quickly deteriorate at lightning speed with the number of people that use mobile devices and other vehicles for instant communication.
For these reasons and more, it is imperative that you invest in a PR professional who knows what they are doing and has an understanding of who the person is, what the company is about, the product, and how everything relates to the needs of the target audience. If you do not know who you are talking to in digital media it doesn’t matter how many followers you have on Twitter or how many friends you have accumulated on Facebook. The PR campaign will not work. You must have a PR professional that takes traditional media knowledge and combines it with social media modus operandi to create PR that works.
Technology is taking the media world to a new place and if you cater 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.