In the media and communication arena, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the constant debate about which publishing platforms and delivery mechanisms are effective or relevant in today’s rapidly-evolving landscape.
‘Are newspapers worth it anymore? Or is the internet the only place where audiences reside?’, ‘Are dedicated websites the way to go because of their independent and centralized nature? Or is social media making websites less relevant and eyeballs more accessible?’
As publishers, advertisers and public relations agencies, are these the most important questions we should be asking today?
We believe, not.
Fighting over which ones take the thrown distracts us from what we should be focusing on instead; how to utilize platforms and technologies at our disposal, to reach our target audiences and deliver the message effectively.
One of the benefits we gain from such a shift in perspective is that we come to realize that no medium, platform or mechanism is ‘useless’ or ‘dead’ like is often claimed. We learn that each can have its place in the creation, delivery, and dissemination of messages and information. This includes print media, social media, blogs, websites, email, post mail, outdoor banners and everything in between.
This potential for integration is quite evident when examining how social media interweaves with PR nowadays. In most cases, PR campaigns are multi-faceted and aim to spread one or more key messages across multiple platforms and media to reach often-overlapping target audiences in the right way, at the right time.
One of the key ways PR agencies are able to spread their own as well as their clients’ messages to the masses is through social media platforms. This is mainly due to the vast access to viewers and consumers that those platforms allow, as well as their ability to precisely target, deliver, measure and track the performance of a campaign, making social media an indispensable tool in an agency’s arsenal.
However, even though social media is a great way to reach consumers and speak ‘their language’, it is often not the most ideal platform for long-form written content and in most cases, is best left to blogs, websites, print publications and newspapers, i.e. offline & online journalism.
This is one of the main reasons why nearly all social media platforms support ‘linking to external content’, besides embedding them in advertisements, posts and updates. So a social media update can grab readers’ attention to a topic or message, and an included link to detailed content can further explain an idea, reinforce a key message, or open the doors to public debate.
In this regard, it becomes clear that social media is not meant to replace other means of communication or serve as an end-to-end solution, but rather act as ‘part of a whole’ and integrate with other key pieces of the media and communication puzzle. In other words, social media posts and updates, and long-form content and journalism, go hand-in-hand to serve the purposes of PR and advertising campaigns.
In today’s world of disruptive innovations and the rapid pace of technological advancements, PR agencies should not rule out any medium or tool or fall prey to claims of their ‘eventual demise’. Instead, we should be well aware of the bigger picture and invest our creativity and focus our efforts on integrating every potentially effective tool or platform to serve the purposes of our campaigns and clients, whether that be social media, print media, online journalism, or other emerging and future tools of communication technology might throw our way.