By Eileen P. Monesson
The Internet has changed the role of Public Relations. Traditionally, the job of the Public Relations professional was to pitch articles to the media with the goal of influencing the opinion of a company’s stakeholders – customers, shareholders, employees, the community or anyone else with a vested interest. The PR executive, either an internal staff member or outside agency used his/her media connections to tell a well-crafted story in the press from the company’s point of view. PR was primarily a one way street. The company would develop the message, send out a press release, hold a press conference or initiate a direct media outreach program to announce a new service, company or partner initiative, or news of the company’s charitable efforts. The emergence of social media has changed everything.
The importance of effective communications is more significant in today’s integrated media environment. Even with all of the hype around social media, there is still a valuable role for traditional media in PR for the following reasons:
- Traditional media is a recognizable brand. Everyone is familiar with well-respected media brands such as the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and CNN news. People may not be as familiar with a blog that you contributed information to or posted a comment.
- Traditional media gives you credibility and celebrity status. Having an article published in any of the above publications or being on CNN makes you a subject matter expert and authority.
- Social media feeds on traditional media. Bloggers frequently comment on stories featured in traditional media. If you land an interview on a newscast, you are likely to catch the attention of social media as well. Furthermore, you can use the newscast or story to post on your blog, YouTube channel, website and social networks. In addition, you can tweet about the newscast or issue a press release to drive traffic to your website.
- Traditional media is also online. Newscasts are streamed on their websites and articles are included in e-mail news briefs, blogs and social networking profiles. This increases the size of the audience and reach of the piece. It will also increase the amount of exposure you have as a result.
A company must be strategic about its participation in social media. Blogs need to have a centralized theme, tweets should express a valid point of view and posts on LinkedIn or Facebook should present information of value to the reader. In the social universe, the message is more important than the number of followers or “likes.” If the company is not communicating its key message, then the social media effort is a waste of time. No one is interested in knowing where you are or what you are doing throughout the day. What they are interested in is how you can help them overcome a challenge or make more money.
Strong PR professionals and marketers will invest the time to ensure that the company communicates its message through traditional channels – press releases, articles, whitepapers, case studies, and seminars, as well as on social media channels and the company’s website. All of these tools showcase the value that the company can bring to the relationship. An integrated PR strategy will ensure that the right message is communicated to the right audience.
About the Author
Eileen P. Monesson is a founding Principal with PRCounts, llc. The company is dedicated to helping its clients use the power of public relations to drive their personal, organizational and corporate brand. She can be contacted at 609-570-2150 or emonesson@PRCounts.com.