Traditional or Social…What Blend are You?

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in General, Lessons, Management | 0 comments

Today it is very common to hear PR discussed in terms of “traditional” or “social.”  There is a big distinction.  Yet both tools fit into the PR mix for gaining exposure, for lead generation and for client story telling to various stakeholders.

Simplified, I would distinguish traditional PR or media relations from social PR, or word-of-mouth marketing. With social media debuting 10+ years ago and now a serious component of an integrated communications mix, both initiatives play important roles for our clients.

Breaking news and news tips are increasingly first being seen on Twitter and Facebook. Journalists are using Twitter to share links to their stories and to build relationships with readers and news sources. This is more evident with the quick popularization of MuckRack, a site featuring top tweeted stories of the day and tweeting  journalists. Upwards of 12,000 journalists now participate in the site at the same time PR pros subscribe to build better relationships with them.

Social media is being used by the news media to enhance the traditional ways in which their work is performed. Journalists are building their own brands with social networking. They are showcasing their news outlets with the use of social media.  Editors are evaluating reporters by their use of social. And journalists are doing so while staying true to the traditional roots of solid reporting.

So is social just another channel for getting the word out? We think so. Reporters using Twitter increasingly prefer pitches by PR pro’s in this channel because the pitches must be kept to 140 characters. Imagine that, a pitch that is by default forced to be brief.

Do “citizen bloggers,” a term for any blogger who has readers and sources outside the traditional reporting realm, carry clout? We believe so.

Whatever you believe, audiences are audiences. Or are they? Those hungry for good “news” look in many places, including those spots written by sources they know — whether or not the source is a reporter whose work is vetted daily by fact checkers and editors. As long as we are social media participants and readers who question the numbers, the sources and the accuracy, social media, or word-of-mouth marketing is PR. It is a great channel and tool. Social is fast becoming one of the world’s best focus groups as well.

So the next time clients ask you about the right mix of PR, it is wise to recommend a blend of social and traditional PR for them to see optimal results and to build better relationships with journalists.



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