Is Traditional PR Even Worth It?

Any PR pro knows that PR is entirely different than marketing and advertising. So how much should be done online and how much should be done through more traditional styles? That depends; how much what? The answer to this question differs depending on if you are discussing marketing, advertising, or public relations.

Every company should capitalize as much as possible on new, online forms of PR. This is the latest rage in the world of PR, and for good reason. Online PR is often cheaper, allows for better targeting, reaches a wide variety of people, and is flexible. However, this does not mean that you should forget about your old, traditional PR ways. According to Don Bates, author of Don’t Discount Traditional PR Outreach Just Yet, most media studies indicate that “roughly 40 percent of people in the U.S. get their news online, while 35 percent get the news offline.” This means that if you choose to put all your energy into social media and new online PR tactics, you would be missing out on a connection with those 35 percent who still prefer offline.

There may come a day when these statistics become more drastic, and the gap between online and offline uses becomes great enough to do away with most traditional PR. However, while there are still almost as many people receiving their news offline as there are online, traditional PR is a must. If these statistics aren’t enough to change your mind, consider these tips:

  • Relationships – Down to the core, public relations is about getting to know journalists, advertising agencies, and customers. The best relationships are built face to face, and in some ways it is easier to pitch an idea to someone you have met in person. Once you meet someone in person you can get a feel for their personality and ideas, and then structure your PR campaign around that. Not only will you get to know these companies and agencies better, but your own work will be more applicable and appealing.
  • Competition – Offline media has been given no choice but to become competitive with online media. Business has slowed down for many of these offline media coverage companies, but you can benefit. Many editors and reporters need your business and will be eager to hear any ideas you have and work with you to get your business. Take advantage!
  • Credibility – Because traditional media has been around for so long, it can be recognized fast and easy by consumers. Social media does not have this luxury yet, and this is a luxury that you want your business to remember to utilize.

The common phrase “old habits die hard” is an important one to remember as our world becomes increasingly fast paced and technological. It is essential the PR world continues to progress and stay in tune with the latest PR practices and theories, but numbers prove that traditional PR still holds the hearts of many.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from access control systems to operations management for Resource Nation, an online resource providing surveillance system tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs.