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Current Affairs, PR, Social Media

Ta-ra to Traditional?

Last week, US current affairs magazine Newsweek announced that it would no longer be available in print and was moving entirely online. Described by some as the ‘demise’ and ‘death’ of the publication, it has left others considering whether this may be in fact be the future for print titles.

In the year between August 2011 and 2012, major daily newspapers all witnessed a significant decline in circulation. The Sun recorded a 10.48% decline, The Guardian 15.34% and The Independent a staggering 54.67%*.

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With rapid technological advancements including websites and iPhone apps from all national and regional daily newspapers, coupled with consumer spending cut-backs, more and more people are moving to free-to-view online news.

So what does this mean for Public Relations? Social media is changing the entire scope of the industry, and many are speculating what the future holds for traditional forms of PR. As more and more newspapers start to move only-online, will previous traditional strategies become ineffective and virtually redundant?

Social media is changing the way consumers behave and source information, and, whereas once press releases and feature articles were a form of communicating news and monitoring great coverage, now practitioners must consider blogs, tweets, hashtags and SEO as a way to communicate to their audiences and achieve results for clients.

More than ever, social media is allowing practitioners to communicate, and most importantly work with, their audiences on a much closer level. Before, journalists were the only contact public relations professionals needed to achieve coverage and column inches. Now, PR practitioners have to work hard to build relationships with bloggers, whose influence and reach is sometimes global.

So what are some important things to consider as Public Relations professionals to ensure we are social savvy?

This isn’t a numbers game. It isn’t important how many followers you have on Twitter, or how many friends on Facebook. It is important that you are connecting in the right way, with the right people.

Information can be visible in social media before print. It is important to utilise this to know what is being said about your client or brand before the media does!

Social media puts the public into Public Relations. It is extremely important that you use social media to connect and work closely with the publics that are vital to your brand. They are more powerful than you know.

Go now, or be dragged there later. Many brands and people are frightened of social media, or may not even believe in it. Social media isn’t the future, it’s the now and if we don’t keep up, then we will only be pushed to the bottom of the pile

Be open, transparent and real. PR practitioners can often be perceived as ‘spin doctors’. With the rise of social media, there is more pressure and opportunity now from organisations to be honest and transparent. Be open with your consumers and use the internet to build an honest relationship with them.

I also wrote this post for the Grayling North Blog, please find it here.

About Leah Eser

Hello! I am a Client Executive in the Brand Communications Practice of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and communications firm which operates in 98 countries across six continents. I provide daily support and management for the practice's key accounts such as Ford, Activia, LYCRA® and Skrill. Follow my journey on my personal blog www.leaheserpr.wordpress.com

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