Katie Clift
International Public Relations Consultant

Digital or Traditional Public Relations – which is a better investment?

For companies around the world, the debate about the effectiveness of digital versus traditional media placement is raging.

The rise of new and social media, specifically for the purposes of marketing and advertising, and particularly in the last five years, has sparked a new range of questions about the value of media placement, reporting metrics and return-on-investment.

So, if you’re a small-to-medium sized business in Israel, seeking local media coverage or wanting to execute an international public relations campaign – where do you begin? Where should you invest?

Is it better to pay for digital advertising, to boost posts on social media, or to pitch stories to print, TV or radio stations? Does reach equal engagement? How do you build a genuine connection with your audience through the media that leads to lasting relationships? How much should you spend?

I work with startup, small and mid-sized companies across all industries around the world – from tech to manufacturing and construction, health, medical, travel, lifestyle, finance – you name it. And my advice to every business this size – in any industry – remains the same.

Your best investment, if you can afford it, is to focus on both digital and traditional media.

Why? How? Let’s take a look at how you can use both methods, as a startup or small-to-medium sized business, to have maximum impact.

Digital Media

Digital advertising and paid social media posts allow you to connect with your audience, consumers and the public across multiple geographic markets. Even a few hundred dollars invested in a digital strategy can help you expand your reach and connect with readers and customers.

Plus – the online industry is growing exponentially. If you don’t have the monetary budget, investing time and resources into organic digital media as a baseline is crucial. Start a social media profile (or a few), on strategic platforms to raise awareness of, and build, your business. Everyone is online, so your brand needs to be too – even if it’s having a simple, basic presence.

Social media isn’t retreating anytime soon – so engaging now means you have a secure platform to build on later on. Even if it’s taking a few minutes to craft one or two posts a week – it’s vital to start something.

Traditional Public Relations

Traditional public relations is about growing your media presence across time-proven platforms. Getting coverage in a major daily newspaper in the UK or Australia, for example, still has immense value in 2018 – the big brands are read on the Tube during the London commute where there’s no access to Wifi, and many Australians are nostalgic about purchasing a paper copy of their favorite tabloid on weekdays and weekends.

In these markets, traditional radio and TV news is still widely listened to, and trusted, for daily information and reputable media stories. In fact, these tried-and-tested platforms, which we term as ‘traditional’, are the platforms where your audience really can connect with you as a company or spokesperson.

Traditional public relations, by its nature, tends to be more organic. PR is not paid stories – so the return-on-investment is about reach, connection, awareness, placement and trust. And companies are in significant need of this investment as digital media grows in prominence. A great traditional PR strategy will build your reputation over time locally and internationally.

Think about your reputation with the public and your consumers. Is it solid? Would you like to improve it? PR is generally a better way to achieve a turnaround – because it’s not a paid advertisement being served up where viewers tend to feel like they’re ‘being sold to’.

Traditional PR can be achieved at a low-cost too. Again, if you have budget restraints, try writing your own opinion piece or blog post that you can pitch to media contacts at your local newspaper, or international online industry publications.

Companies need both – get digital, and invest in traditional PR.

My experience with start-ups, small and mid-sized businesses is that digital and traditional media go hand-in-hand.

In order to have an effective advertising, marketing, media strategy to create awareness, engagement, trust, growth and scale in 2018 and beyond – it’s worth the time, resource and budget (even if it’s small to begin with!) to invest in both.

About the Author
Katie Clift is Director of Katie Clift Consulting Pty Ltd - an International PR Expert specialising in local & global campaigns across all industries. With more than a decade of experience in local and international PR, Katie moved from Australia to Athens in 2017. Her company engages clients around the world, across all industries (from start-ups and entrepreneurs to global construction and manufacturing, health, lifestyle, medical, travel, tech and NGO's). She is also proudly an International PR Specialist with Asset Ogilvy Public Relations. For just one organisation alone, Katie led a media and public relations team to achieve more than 8000 feature stories a year in print, broadcast, and online media, including 120 front page newspaper stories - worth millions of dollars annually. Katie is a leading media and public relations commentator throughout Europe and Australia - her editorials are regularly featured in Mumbrella (Australia), PR Week (UK) and Times Of Israel (Global). She is also an in-demand podcast guest and conference speaker, presenting most recently at Engage Prague 2018 and the Union for International Cancer Control’s World Cancer Congress (Paris).
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