How Important Is Traditional PR In The Age Of Social Media?

Although we’re in the age of blogging and social media, being featured in the traditional media (TV, print and radio) is still tremendously important.  In many ways it’s even more important than it was a decade ago.   PR specialists who are shifting their focus solely online are loosing sight of the value that traditional media offers.  Whereas any effective public relations campaign needs to include an online approach that embodies social media, it’s important to make sure that the core traditional elements are also in place.

Why is traditional media so important?  The recognition factor that traditional media offers is immense.  Most consumers will be able to recognize and identify popular newspapers, magazines or TV stations much more readily than they will the most popular blogs online that are not mainstream.  The traditional media have built credible brands that carry weight, influence and credibility.  If a story is featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or CNN, that coverage is going to be more impressive to the average consumer than if it were featured in the top online blogs.  Perhaps even more importantly, if a story is covered in the traditional media, it is all but guaranteed to be covered online by blogs and discussed on social media sites.  Add to that the fact that traditional media outlets also have an internet presence and their sites generally generate more traffic than even the top online blogs.

Bloggers often write about what’s going on in traditional media, whether it’s a TV segment or a story that was covered in the newspaper. If you land an interview in traditional media, you’re likely to catch the attention of social media as well. Furthermore, appearing in traditional media gives you something to post about in your own blog and in social networks.

The truth is that social media and blogging should be a core component of any media relations campaign, and driving and controlling your message by placing stories in the traditional media is more critical than ever.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that how you pitch the traditional media is different than how you approach bloggers or online media.  The online approach is more direct, you’re talking more directly to the consumer.  When pitching newspaper and magazine editors or radio and TV producers, you’re pitching the media, not the public.  You need to convince that editor or producer that your story is compelling and speaks directly to his or her target audience.

This is not an either or situation, you want a combined online and traditional media approach; but if you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to gain the credibility and validation of being perceived as a news story, you need a traditional PR campaign.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Successfully Marketing via the Internet

The entertainment and the information industries have never encountered times like these.  The internet changed all the rules without bothering to inform anyone.  Even the sex industry, which initially saw the net as its cash cow is hemorrhaging money at record rates.  The two most obvious victims are the newspaper and the music industries.  As a generation came of age believing that content and intellectual property was free – everything changed.

According to the Economist, since 2000, 72 American newspapers have folded and circulation has fallen by a quarter since 2007.  But that pales compared to the thrashing the music industry has taken.  According to some accounts 95% of all music downloads are illegal.  95%!   What industry can survive that?  The book industry is following suit and the film industry is playing with new models in hopes of hanging onto as many dollars as possible.

So does this spell the end of these industries?  No, that’s not happening, but these are trying, difficult times as everyone from CEO’s to new artists are trying to figure out models that work.  And those models are there.

In India, the number of daily newspapers has surged by an amazing 44% according to the World Association of Newspapers.  The Times of India with a circulation of 4m is the world’s biggest English-language newspaper.  As publishers shift from English language and focus more on regional and local language publications, there will be an even greater growth.  The situation in India is a very different one compared to that in the U.S.  The internet has yet to take hold there as it has here.  But there is still a lesson to be learned.  For example, the newspaper industry in India is slowly moving from the English-language monolithic model to a more segmented, niche approach.  Therein lies one of the main secrets to success in this brave new world.

This is no longer a time to throw out as wide a net as possible; this is a time of specialization and niche marketing.  Find your market, focus on your target, and define who your viewers, readers, listeners or buyers are.  Now market to them specifically; use the internet which has created these challenging times as your ally.  The net offers you some amazing opportunities and avenues to communicate with your consumers and clients.

Develop a marketing strategy based on traditional public relations and social media.  Create free content that visitors want to read that will then lead them to content or products you can sell.  Have them join with you, become part of your tribe (so to speak).

A targeted media relations campaign can help establish you via magazines, newspapers and TV, you can then utilize that press coverage by amplifying it online.  Have your PR work for you.  It can separate you from your competition and establish you in your field Post your media hits on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and YouTube.  Post them on your site and your blog.  Create a targeted offline/online media relations approach.  You’ll soon discover that the internet (the culprit that caused all these problems in the first place) can become your most effective marketing tool and your number one ally.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

 

How to Figure out if PR is Right for You

To PR or not to PR, that is the question.  Well, maybe that’s not “the” question, but it certainly is a question.  How do you know if public relations is the ultimate marketing direction for your business?  To start, you need to write out your priorities.  What do you need your marketing to accomplish?  Do youneed to drive sales? find new clients? build your brand?  reach a new target market?  PR and media relations can achieve a number of goals, but before launching a campaign, you need to define exactly what your specific goals are.  Once you have your marketing objective list, your next step is to review your marketing budget.  How much can you realistically spend to achieve your marketing goals?  Your budget is going to help define your approach.  If you have thousands that you can dedicate to marketing each month you have different options than if you have a couple of hundred or less to put towards your marketing efforts.

If you have a finite marketing budget, your first focus should be on establishing an online presence, by building an easy to read, informational website that speaks to your clients’ needs.  The Internet offers you a way to position yourself and your company online without breaking the bank, but simply having a presence on the Internet does not mean anyone is going to see it.  You need to drive visitors to your site.  This is when a social media outreach program, article marketing program and a blog can help.

But back to the PR question, although your budget will dictate how you’re going to implement your marketing campaign, your budget, or lack of it, does not need to stop you from utilizing media relations.  I’m a firm believer that every company should implement an effective PR campaign.  And the fact is that every company can.  From my perspective, the question isn’t if you should launch a PR campaign for your company, but how you should launch it.  If youhave a limited budget you can still decide to launch a PR campaign, but in this case you will be implementing a good deal of the campaign yourself.  As opposed to hiring a public relations firm to launch a PR campaign for you, you might choose to hire a consultant for a few hours and have him or her draw up a PR gameplan or blueprint which you will then work on your own.

But whether you hire a PR company, PR consultant or buy a good PR book that will take you through the necessary steps to launch a campaign, it’s important that you launch some type of PR outreach.  One well placed article or TV segment can turn your business around, take you to the next level and drive customers and clients to your site.  Media begets media, so, if you do it correctly, the more media you get – the more media you’ll continue to land.  Ifyou have the ability to hire a PR company do so, they know terrain and it’s their job to launch and implement an effective media campaign for you.  If youcan’t, you can certainly start out on your own to get the ball rolling; but a word of caution, don’t start contacting the media before learning how the process works.  You can do your company more harm than good if you don’t do your homework.  Hire a PR consultant for a few hours.  Learn the basics.  Draw up a campaign blueprint.  Then move forward.  Don’t waste valuable marketing time trying to figure out if you should launch a PR campaign, focus onhow.  It is the one form of marketing that reaches your target market, offers you validation and credibility and establishes you as an expert in your field.  So, should you launch a PR campaign, yes and now!

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Wikileaks Illustrates A Traditional PR Approach To Media Dissemination

After deciding that it was going to leak secret U.S. military reports on Afghanistan WikiLeaks had a number of options.  It could have set up a press conference, posted the information on its site, released it on a wire service, or sent it to a number of media outlets simultaneously.  But it did none of those; it basically offered an exclusive to the New York Times, Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.  It was the credibility of those three media outlets that caused the story to spread like wildfire, which is exactly what those at WikiLeaks were beating on.  The New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel did the heavy lifting; they validated and legitimized the story.

The source of the leaks is still being investigated.  According to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, “The Justice Department is working with the Department of Defense with regard to an investigation concerning who the source of those leaks might be.  Whether there will be any criminal charges brought depends on how the investigation goes.” President Obama, he’s “concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations.”

Whether the leaks were a good or bad idea, will be argued for quite awhile, but WikiLeaks’ media approach does illustrate how, in the age of social media, blogging and free news on the Internet, the PR tactic of disseminating information to the mainstream traditional media to legitimize a story, build interest and take a story viral, still leads the way.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Will The Last Newspaper Be Printed In 2043?

In “The Vanishing Newspaper” (2004), Philip Meyer, predicts that in 2043, someone will be receiving the final copy of the final newspaper.  It will then be done, over.  Those types of specific predictions are a bit silly, but this one does make a point.  If the newspaper industry were a boxer, it would be crawling up the ropes after being knocked down for the third or forth time.  Let’s say Meyer is right if so, in 2043, the newspaper will have had its run.  What happens then?  Luckily, it has its own museum now. Washington D.C. houses the Newseum.   Strange word.

As newspapers fail, most agree that the Internet is the culprit.  Readers can find their news online for free at a number of different sites.  The classifieds, which brought in a major junk of change, are now owned by Craigslist.  It’s said those under thirty don’t revel in the feeling of opening the newspaper and sitting down with their morning coffee, because they’re online.  Not only is the information readily available other places, the experience is no longer appreciated.

This is all true, but I think most people are overlooking the huge toll that having newspapers shift from family-owned businesses to chain-owned public companies took on much of the industry.   Wall Street redefined the newspaper industry.  It became strictly about making a profit, as opposed to walking that fine line between making money and telling the news.

The shift has been seismic.  Twenty years ago newspaper circulations was estimated to be at about 63 million.  It’s dropped over 10 million since then.  And it seems as though we hear (or perhaps read) about the demise, or near demise, of another city newspaper on an almost daily basis.

Some are saying it’s for the best, that the newspaper as we know it is holding reporters back from doing their best job and that journalism’s best days are still ahead of us.  One can only hope so.  More and more papers are cutting their staffs and relying on the wires for their true news stories.  That is a red flag!  I agree that we can find the basic news of the day online, but the dilemma of true investigative journalism remains; who will pay investigative reporters to do the kind of reporting that broke national stories such as Watergate, and as important, those reporters around the country who broke local and regional stories of fraud can corruption on a regional and local basis?  That’s what spooks me.  Perhaps the Internet will pick up that slack, perhaps a model will be devised where it will be even more effective in its ability to report local news and keep an eye on the hen house (so to speak).  If not, we’re in trouble folks.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

Surviving the Threat: How TV Learned To Love The Internet

When it comes to “old” media, TV seems to be the one form of traditional media that has learned how to utilize the net to its advantage.  The internet is still a content threat, but the TV world, unlike the worlds of music, film and publishing seems to have more quickly understood the pitfalls and opportunities.  Instead of pulling up the drawbridge and preparing for battle, TV joined in and utilized the internet.

Companies that make their living selling content are reeling.  Newspapers have been closing at a record rate.  The music business is reeling like never before.  ITunes has helped reset the playing field, but it’s nothing like it was before.  Book publishing has been hit, particularly the brick and mortar bookstores and for the film industry it could just be a matter of time, before the ability to download free content (legal or otherwise) will make a true dent in their profits.

When it comes to “old” media, TV seems to be the one form of traditional media that has learned how to utilize the net to its advantage.  Advertising took a huge hit last year, but the economy was also in the throws of the worst recession since the (strangely named) Great Depression.  Just about everyone took a huge hit last year, not just TV ad revenues.  But apart from basic economic ebbs and flows, TV seems to be the one form of media that has not only been able to weather the internet threat, but to utilize it.

To quote a recent article in The Economist: “In the final quarter of 2009 the average American spent almost 37 hours a week watching television.  Earlier this year 116 million of them saw the Super Bowl-a record for a single program. Far from being cowed by the new media, TV is colonizing it.”  The article goes on to explain how shows like “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent” utilize the net to their advantage.  Watchers are constantly messaging one another about such shows on email IM, Facebook or Twitter.

Plus, TV is a reactive media.  It doesn’t require much from the viewer.  You turn it on, put on the channel you want and there you are.  Although many programs are available online, most viewers are not going to do the work it takes to find their programs through nontraditional outlets.  The internet is still a content threat, but the TV world, unlike the worlds of music and publishing seems to have more quickly understood the possible pitfalls and opportunities.  Instead of pulling up the drawbridge and preparing for battle, TV joined in creating sites such as Hulu a joint venture of ABC, Fox and NBC; an unlikely partnership, but a smart one.

Other content providers are beginning to understand that the way to fight the internet is not to fight it at all, but to blend with it and make it an extension of their brand and their information outlets, but the TV world is way ahead of the game

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010


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