Is Traditional Media Dead?

Nope.  Traditional media, while not at the center of the audience universe it held decades ago, is not dead.  In fact, it’s generating serious revenue for clients as well as establishing them as thought leaders in their areas of expertise.   These were some of the key messages delivered during a PRSA/Vocus webinar, Does Traditional Media Still Matter?    Annie Jennings, CEO of Annie Jennings PR and Donald Wright, Professor of Public Relations at Boston College shared their professional insights with more than 1,000 listeners.  And guess what kids – traditional media is a foundation of the mix that provides a solid platform for social media.  The big three: TV, Radio and Newspapers are still reaching devoted and engaged readers and listeners that act (buy) on information delivered via these channels.  Social media offers communication professionals an outlet to amplify this coverage and content.  Annie Jennings emphasized the use of radio as an ideal outlet to allow clients to develop their skill sets for television.  Radio interviews are a conversation, which allows speakers to share their insights, direct listeners to their web site for more information and possibly sales conversion (Jennings practice focus is on authors). 

Donald Wright, Ph.d, Boston University, emphasized that research, measurement and evaluation are still the hallmarks of a solid quantifiable public relations campaign.  You still need to conduct the research to define: what is the problem? Lack of audience interest in your client’s product? Lack of awareness? It’s the “what” that needs to be answered.  Then a commuications plan can be developed using traditional and social media focused on the target audience to reach the client’s goals and objectives.  

What I find fascinating is the blending of traditional and social media.  One of my clients appeared on  She was able to “chat” live with FOX 26 News audience members; and then was interviewed about her topic by the 5 PM anchors, Mike Barajas and Melissa Wilson live for less than a minute.  That conversation lead to an explosion of questions about the event, which translated into increased audience attendance.  We were in the studio for less than 45 minutes – but it was time well spent. 

Newspaper bloggers are another fascinating development in the past five years.  At The Houston Chronicle almost every reporter maintains an active blog.  It’s an insane job description.  Not only do they write for thenew paper; but they produce content – articles, video and photos for the web site.  The paper’s leadership was at the forefront of developing an active on-line news product.  Frankly, it’s hurt the hard product – distribution and circulation are down; but the on-line edition is perking along.  Just how anyone makes money from it – other than the obnoxious pop-up advertising – is the next question to be answered.

In summary, social media has all the buzz – and it’s great if it meets your client’s bottom-line objectives.  But never overlook the power of telling your client’s story to a mass audience.  The media world is fragmenting; so you just need to stay on top of the media tsunami and keep your eyes on the horizon – meeting client goals and objectives.       





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