OK, so it’s less battle of the bands and more like comparing your music tastes to your dads. There’s a good chance it isn’t going to be the same, and one will be decidedly more “classic” than the other.
Communication is evolving at breakneck speed and people want to know things yesterday, wherever they are. The choice between traditional and digital PR can be a bit like deciding between a classic vinyl record and a streaming music service.
Both have their own merits, and the right choice depends on your unique tastes and needs. But how do you know for sure which is the one for you and your chosen audience? Is one song (your campaign) or a particular genre (your audience) likely to do/respond better using one method of delivery over the other?
(Please bear with me while I try to relate all this back to music as much as possible.)
Come with me as we frolic on a melodious journey through the yin and yang of PR, exploring the harmonious blend of the traditional and the digital, and discovering which one is the ultimate hit for your business.
The Classic Serenade of Traditional PR
Traditional PR, like that cherished vinyl record, carries a timeless charm. It’s the seasoned crooner that has been serenading the masses for decades. But what does traditional PR involve?
Press Releases with an Old School Vibe
Traditional PR is all about creating press releases that resonate with a more classic manuscript of words, taking a more formal approach, comprehensively delivering what needs to be said with minimal fuss. These press releases are more commonly pitched to print media, TV and radio outlets, carrying your business’s story to the masses.
The Elegance of Print Media*
In the big ol’ record shop of traditional PR, the elegance of print media shines. Think newspapers, magazines and brochures. These platforms offer an air of sophistication that appeals to a specific audience.
The different types of audience between printed publications is often very distinct too, and what’s shared is highly targeted when it comes to readership. You’re not going to see a story in the Express about a seagull buying a Big Mac, like you might in the Daily Star. (I’ve just made this up, or did I?)
*Disclaimer: There are DEFINITELY a number of printed publications that aren’t elegant by any stretch of the imagination, I know, it just felt like a nice word to use.
Radio Waves of Influence
The enchanting waves of traditional radio have a special allure. Radio interviews and features can reach a wide audience, especially during the morning and evening commutes. They also tap into an audience that might not use the internet that much, if at all – older folk.
Statista found in a recent study that a whopping 85% of those aged 55+ consumed live radio on a regular basis, compared to just 34% of 15-24 year olds. So if the older generations are your target audience, radio is definitely a good shout.
Find out how we gained 75+ links in a single campaign for our client.
The Modern Groove of Digital PR
Now, let’s explore the groovy, new-wave world of digital PR. Like a catchy indie tune on Spotify, digital PR offers an instant connection with your audience. So, what’s on the playlist?
The Digital Symphony of Social Media
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the DJ booths of digital PR. They let you curate and share your story with a vast online audience in real time.
We’ve seen a number of businesses elevate themselves to demi-god status with younger audiences that wouldn’t otherwise give them a second thought. Aldi, for example, teaches us a real lesson in how to own and manage the fall out of a situation with humour and resonance. Cuthbert the Caterpillar anyone? Too soon?
Using reactive PR on social media to take risks and demonstrate personality in a way that influences emotions, really can prove massively successful.
Aldi were able to not only demonstrate personality and give the brand a “face”, but told a story and drew people into the ongoing saga with M&S – a no doubt serious situation underneath all the cheeky chappy posts. It worked anyway, and a truce was called. Phew. WE LOVE YOU ALDI. (We like M&S too, for the record.)
Online Press Releases with Tempo
Instead of ink on paper or good old fashioned telephone calls, digital PR uses online press releases to make its mark.
These releases are usually distributed through channels such as newswires or directly via email, instantly reaching online publications, content writers, bloggers, influencers and the like, who may choose to share the news if they feel connected to the cause. Often on the same day too, which unless it’s a major news story, you’re unlikely to see such speed in print, radio or on TV.
So if you need to get something out there as urgently as possible, digital PR is often the way.
Blogging: It’s Your Personal Songwriting Session
Blogging can be considered a dirty word to some, but a blog offers a personalised stage for your business’s creativity, as well as a place beyond social media to share that frontline view that consumers never admit to wanting to see. Share your thoughts, industry insights and brand journey with your readers, and watch your online presence and followership grow.
Blogging not only gives you much more creative licence, but it can be really economical, too.
What do I mean by economical? Well, reduce, reuse and recycle. Things you share on your blog can quickly become social media content, you could also craft some email marketing around it, and probably most importantly, it can seriously help your SEO efforts – particularly that content which can be considered thought leadership.
You can also tie blogging into your business and use it as a training tool, as well as use it as a troubleshooting tool for customers.
So, which one rocks your business the most?
Let’s dive into the grand showdown to see which PR strategy rocks your business better…
Audience Reach and Engagement
Traditional PR is like hosting a concert in a grand theatre. It can reach a broad audience, but engagement can be somewhat passive. In contrast, digital PR is like hosting an intimate gig at a cosy club. It might reach a more niche audience, but the engagement is more active. Basically, your audience can directly comment, like, share and interact with your content, which they most often can’t do with traditional PR.
Speed and Timeliness
In the world of breaking news, digital PR takes the lead. It’s like releasing a single online right after recording it. Your message can go live in minutes, responding to real-time events and trends. Traditional PR can be a bit slower, resembling the process of creating an album. It’s a well-thought-out production that takes time to reach its intended audience.
Measurement and Analytics
Digital PR offers a treasure trove of data and analytics. It’s like having real-time feedback from your fans during a live concert. You can track website visits, social media engagement, and conversion rates.
Traditional PR on the other hand, can be more challenging to measure accurately. It’s like evaluating an artist’s success by counting album sales, which doesn’t provide the same depth of insights.
In the battle of the budgets, digital PR often wins. It’s like producing a hit song in your garage studio. The costs are generally lower, and you can reach a global audience with minimal investment. Traditional PR, with its printing and distribution expenses, can be more costly.
Credibility and Authority
Traditional PR carries a sense of authority, much like a classic rock band with legend status. When your business appears in printed publications or on TV, it lends credibility. Digital PR, while effective, may need to work harder to establish the same level of authority.
The Encore: A Harmonious Blend of Both
Now, you might be thinking, “Why choose between the vintage vinyl or the digital playlist? Can’t I just do both?” The answer is a resounding yes!
Many successful businesses have discovered that the perfect PR strategy is a harmonious blend of both traditional and digital PR elements. It’s like collaborating with an experienced rock legend and an emerging digital sensation to create a chart-topping duet.
The Perfect PR Festival
By integrating both traditional and digital PR, you can create a powerful festival of communication.
Use traditional PR for moments that require gravitas and authority, such as industry conferences and major announcements. Combine this with the instant and interactive nature of digital PR for real-time engagement and storytelling to ensure you cover all bases and draw in the crowds ready for the headliner.
Multi-Channel PR Concerts
Think of your PR strategy as hosting multi-channel concerts. Use print media and radio for your grand performances, where you want to make a statement and establish authority.
Simultaneously, use digital PR, including social media and online press releases, to keep the audience engaged between those major performances. Blogging can be your jamming sessions, where you connect with your audience on a more relaxed, personal level.
Adaptability and Flexibility
The beauty of modern PR is its adaptability. It’s like having a dynamic playlist that can shift to different rhythms and melodies. Depending on your business’s goals, industry and audience, you can adjust the balance between traditional and digital PR as needed.
The Final Note
In the grand showdown between traditional and digital PR, there’s no clear winner (though I’m sure you know which I’d prefer). Your choice depends on your business’s unique beat. What is your heart song?
But here’s the crash… You can have the best of both worlds. Mash up traditional and digital PR that strikes the perfect chord for your audience and covers all bases – the here and now, and the power ballards.
Whether it’s the timeless appeal of vinyl or the instant access of digital streaming, your PR strategy should be music to your audience’s ears. So, rock on my friends and make that PR campaign a chart-topper!
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