Jo Wilmot, our PR director, recently commented in PR Week about the relevance of traditional media and the need to combine old with new for communications impact. Here’s a deeper dive into the topic.
Lachlan Murdoch’s unveiling as the new boss of the Murdoch empire marks the end of an era. Although for us Succession fans, reality seems slightly less dramatic than TV.
While audiences fragment and new social media platforms rise and fall, we need to be realistic: the established press is still influential. Yes, we see ongoing panic about the reach of ‘problematic commentators’ but let’s not get too carried away about niche voices.
A golden era for measurement
Some professional communicators lament that life is more challenging these days. It’s not. As we always have done, when we PRs & marketers look to change behaviours or encourage people to buy, we’ll use a range of media channels.
The likes of generative AI, social listening and instantaneous monitoring now enhance our toolbox. Today, we have access to tech and data that allows us to move much more swiftly and accurately.
To do this effectively, comms campaigns need greater focus at the planning phase. All involved need to be clear on exactly what goals are to be met. These must be both business and PR-related, and the impact has to be demonstrable. Then at the campaign finish, more effort and budget must be allocated to evaluation. Nowadays, we can segment and target to reach our audiences with extreme precision; this is a golden era for measuring and understanding communications’ impact.
The clout of traditional media and fundamental PR principles
That said, foundational principles remain. You’ve got to be interesting, relevant, timely and approach the right people, be they journalists, experts, influencers or professional bodies. Building relationships and establishing goodwill are still highly relevant in the TikTok era.
Creativity and consistency are essential too; in a fragmented, noisy world, the message does depend on the medium. And be mindful that you may tire of the messaging before its impact lands. Remember, as they say, it’s not about you. When audiences are fragmented, you must maintain message discipline for far longer than before to see results.
With our digital-first mindsets, it’s all too easy to think that digital is all that matters. However, bringing in real-world elements can be what makes the difference. A round-table, reception, sponsorship, press tour, sampling or out-of-home component may light up engagement and impact.
And while traditional media engagement has declined (we can only pay attention to so much), the interaction between channels is fundamental. Yes, fewer people read or watch the news or interact with iconic media brands, but their heritage and robust media standards mean they still have huge influence. Third-party endorsement is more critical these days than ever.
Comms people have to make the most out of these inclusions. For example, say the PR team at The Think Tank gets a client on Radio Four’s Today Show, this must be amplified through platforms such as LinkedIn. Alternatively, if we get a garden client featured in The Sunday Times, we might highlight this with their Insta following. Boosting posts is a great way to ensure our message is seen by crucial targets, while encouraging colleagues to like, share and comment helps us reach a wider network.
Overall, it’s a fantastic time to be in comms. There’s just one question. In the real-life Succession we’re seeing acted out, who’s playing Roman?
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