Face Time, The Old-Fashioned Way

Digital alternatives to traditional news sources seemingly appear overnight, offering news consumers a dizzying array of choices. Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Periscope. Instagram. Tumblr. How young consumers get their news today will likely change tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.

When you combine the continued decline of the newspaper and television industries with the ongoing rise of digital media alternatives, some might argue that traditional public relations methods have become unnecessary.

Don’t believe it. Tried and true traditional methods are here to stay, and they continue to play an important role in the public relations industry.

Yeah, it’s old school, but there’s still something satisfying about walking into the local newspaper and meeting with the publisher, the editor, or a reporter. Or heading to the local television station to sit down with the news director or a reporter. Or having coffee with a client. Or meeting individually with business owners affected by a large construction project.

Think of it as face time, the old-fashioned way.

In the ever-changing, 24-hour news cycle world we live in today, there remains a place of importance for news releases and media pitches, especially in smaller markets. Sure, traditional public relations isn’t likely going to be the only method recommended to reach consumers, but it’s still an effective way to distribute a client’s message.

Certainly, electronic methods have made the process of distributing news releases, media invitations and other information faster and easier. If you’re trying to reach a mass audience, it’s difficult to argue with the results of the latest digital strategy. News can be distributed quickly and efficiently, results are easy to track, and repetition through social media outlets is simple and effective.

But some digital methods don’t necessarily help you build a lasting, personal relationship with members of the media, or with clients. A quick sit-down over lunch with a client can go a long way toward reaching that goal. Likewise, a short follow-up phone call to thank a reporter for their latest coverage can help build trust, and help keep your client (and their message) relevant.

Building relationships and trust with the media, your client, and your target audience can’t be accomplished strictly with old-school methods, nor can it be done only through Facebook or the latest and greatest app. It takes cultivation. Both methods have their place in today’s ever-changing news environment, and when combined they form a powerful tool to help drive your clients’ success. In a perfect public relations world, the online messaging meshes seamlessly with the work done on a personal level; otherwise the message you’re delivering doesn’t ring true.

Sometimes, getting your client’s message out to the target audience and the media through Twitter or Facebook is the best method. But sometimes, an emoji simply isn’t as good as a cup of coffee and a good, old-fashioned handshake.

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