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Traditional PR Still Remains Strong
Even in the wake of online media, some fundamentals hold fast.
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 by Steve Simon
SSPR Public Relations

Steve SimonAbout 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 traditional media.

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 can't replicate.

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.

Steve Simon, 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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