a year ago, numerous blogs were discussing the ostensible "death"
of traditional PR. The dialogue centered on the idea that the competition
and pressure of online media technology, like blogs, pod casts and RSS
feeds, was slowly rendering this kind of PR obsolete.
A year later, this idea still perpetrates itself through various blogs,
albeit with subtler language. For example, Tom Foremski, a journalist for
the Silicon Valley Watcher, talks about what he perceives to be the
current state of the PR industry, saying that "there is far less
value offered by mainstream media and mainstream public relations in the
product and services sales process." He believes that a mention in
the mainstream media is pretty much worthless for most companies and says
that they should focus on advertisement in the online sector far more than
This begs the question, though, of why the PR industry continues to see
steady industry growth. The simple answer is that, in the wake of online
media technology and advertising, the demand for traditional PR and the
ability to handle, control, and drive a message effectively is more
important than ever.
What these reports miss is that the core of traditional PR is both the
delivery and the creation of the message. This means developing different
story angles for different publications, matching the message to the
medium, and shaping the pitch to sell the story to newspapers, trade
publications, business magazines, syndicated columns, online publications,
radio, television, and more.
Additionally, they seem to miss the fact that relationships between media
outlets and PR companies, i.e. contacts, are like gold. These
relationships, often built on decades of collaboration, are something you
So what effect have these technologies had? They have impacted the way the
message is disseminated, but not the message itself, which remains as
powerful and important as it has always been. Online media hasn't replaced
traditional PR; rather, it's allowed the PR sector to grow in numerous
ways and reach more audiences, not less.
Think about it. Where do bloggers get the information they're blogging
about? Much of the time, they're simply rehashing stories that appeared
first via 'traditional' outlets for PR, like newspapers and magazines.
Additionally, most traditional media sources now have electronic versions
on the web, allowing for wider dissemination of information.
Traditional PR isn't in any danger of dying out from online media; rather,
it will adapt and use new channels offered by such outlets as blogs, pod
casts, and RSS feeds. Traditional PR services and the value they present
to vast numbers of companies competing in the fierce online marketplace
are growing increasingly important. No matter the medium, someone's always
going have to craft the message, create an effective strategy for how the
message is received, and ensure the message remains powerful as it evolves
both online and off.
highly regarded as a public relations pioneer and visionary,
is Founder and CEO of SSPR
Public Relations Firm. A classic entrepreneur,
Steve took his
experience as press secretary for the mayor of Memphis
and from executive posts at several public relations agencies in
Chicago and founded SSPR in 1978
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