The age-old debate of digital versus traditional has once again reared its head and this time, it involves the effectiveness of PR methods – both new and old. The purpose of PR, on the whole, remains the same, an exercise that is used primarily by agencies to increase brand awareness, with the main goal usually to increase visibility amongst target audiences and to help generate sales. Over time, traditional PR agencies have evolved with the ever-changing technological world and it has now split the functioning’s of PR into traditional and digital. With online consumption only getting bigger and better – can traditional PR still keep up with demand in the way that digital can?
The infographic above demonstrates how digital PR is used in comparison to traditional PR and the benefits that can be derived from both practices. Whilst traditional PR methods such as hosting events and using press and media for offline coverage is something that is still effective in today’s PR industry, it seems that by taking on more digital methods, there is an overall increase in brand awareness. Whilst offline work by means of traditional PR methods is important, when paired and enhanced by the workings of the digital world, PR agencies are able to achieve the best possible results for their clients. Important aspects of digital PR that, in this day and age, are not only effective to businesses with an online focus, but to any business looking to increase engagement and improve sales are: a focus on online visibility which can help towards boosting a website’s SEO, social media shares and instant activation. Crucially, the results of a digital PR agency’s campaign are highly measurable, whereas traditional PR is often difficult to measure and will have little to no impact on SEO, which is perhaps why standalone, traditional PR practices are no longer effective to brands that thrive from an online focus.
Of course, very few ‘traditional PR’ agencies are still totally traditional, with many dabbling in digital in some way or another, even if just by adding some sort of digital service on top of their traditional methods. But, the treatment of the digital sphere as just an ‘add on service’ in today’s climate isn’t enough, with an up to date knowledge of all things online proving more and more fundamental to successful marketing campaigns. With more brands than ever finding their target audiences mainly consume their information online, it’s a reality that traditional PR methods alone will probably have little benefit, with data-led digital marketing agencies being able to easily measure the successes of campaigns to find out what works and what doesn’t. However, on the other hand, neglecting traditional PR methods, such as gaining newspaper coverage, launch parties, stunts and events, and you run the risk of a reduction in brand awareness and brand loyalty, something that, arguably, is also fundamental to the success of a campaign. The conclusion is obvious, a combination of up-to-date, digitally focused activity, alongside elements of traditional PR and comms, will help to maximise results and give a great ROI to brands.
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