Public relations

Does a Traditional PR Campaign Still Have Value in our Social Media World?

Bryan Beverly I am the CEO/Founder of Paw Minder.

February 5th, 2017

In our social media world, does a B2C product still need to focus on a traditional PR campaign?

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Amy Zwagerman Founder, The Launch Box

Last updated on February 5th, 2017

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is it depends. More specifically, it depends on who you are trying to reach (demographics), what you are trying to sell (product / service) and what your primary objective is (awareness / sales). Depending upon the answers to those questions, a good marketer or publicist should be able to tell you what strategy will deliver the best results.


If you are talking about Paw Minder, you should be able to reach your target audience pretty effectively via social media, but you are still going to need to have a traditional PR strategy in place if you want to reach the influencers in your category as they are likely to be very selective about what they cover.


Hope this helps you.

Jeremy Pepper

Last updated on February 6th, 2017

What do you mean by a "traditional PR campaign"? Do you mean media outreach, a reviewer's program, community outreach, influencer outreach and campaigns? Do you mean content creation such as press releases, pitch letters?

In a social media world, there's so much noise out there, without a PR strategy, you're just more noise out there that gets lost.

Bobbie Carlton Founder, Innovation Nights, Innovation Women & Carlton PR & Marketing

February 5th, 2017

A lot depends on how you define PR but my answer is likely "yes" no matter how you define it. Most people just think of media relations when they say PR and the media they are relating to is limited to the mass media - the newspapers, magazines, industry trad publications, etc. To me, one thing hasn't changed in the last 20 years and that is that PR has to be incredibly broad. Everything impacts PR and PR impacts everything.


I think of PR as more than just media relations, although that is certainly a part of it. When I talk about PR services, I usually include market research and planning, launch timing, messaging, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and because I believe in integrated marketing campaigns, I also look at lead generation, lead capture, lead nurture and even product marketing, customer service and support.


If you want to limit the discussion here to media relations, I'll still have to say that yes, it still has value. And here is why:

  • The mass media still has the power to make a difference in your visibility and visibility drives opportunity to connect with potential customers, partners and investors. While there are many more places to get news and information than in the old days (social media, blogs, websites, etc.), the mass media still drives millions of eyeballs. And, think of it this way, if you have competition that is getting written up in the major media and you aren't...who has the advantage?
  • Credibility: The mass media has built up credibility, both from its audience and from search engines. Just from a time, traffic and page rank point of view, an article (and inbound link) from a WSJ or NYT can deliver real supporting credibility, and a big boost to your "findability".
  • The reporters and the publications use social media too -- in fact many of the top publications also have top numbers of followers on social media. Get "me" to write about you and I'll also tweet about you, post the article on my LinkedIn page and maybe even on my Facebook page.
  • The media are collectively very good at creating, growing and maintaining a channel, albeit some better than others. You want access to that channel, hence, you need PR, a function within your organization that understands that channel and how to access it.

Note: If by saying "traditional PR" you are talking JUST about press releases, clip books and a standalone marketing function, you will likely have difficulty showing a return on your investment in any sort of reasonable time frame unless you make a really really big upfront investment.


Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

February 6th, 2017

What do you mean by "traditional"? Who do you want the PR to be in front of? What is your purpose of having any PR strategy?