Since PR coverage gained in print newspapers and magazines is more traditional, many brands assume it is much more valuable than digital media coverage. However, because print has been on the decline over recent years, many PR firms are moving towards digital and leaving the more traditional methods in the past.

But leaving traditional PR behind is not necessarily the best solution for businesses as both digital and traditional PR are useful in different ways and can be used to achieve different objectives.

What is traditional PR?

Traditional PR is a method that tends to focus on channels such as the general press, niche printed publications, TV and radio. 

Traditional PR agencies focus on offline visibility. This includes things such as press releases (usually for print media), the organisation of press conferences and events. 

Traditional PR methods convey information to a large audience, with little feedback — the communication is one-way. A downside of traditional public relations is the lack of detailed analytics about the potential clients or customers that you are reaching. 

Many of the numbers on the reports of newspapers, magazines and radio stations are just estimates of how readers and listeners use these forms of traditional media. 

The advantages of traditional PR

1. There is less miscommunication

Traditional PR agencies understand how communication can be affected by the Internet and social media. So instead of spreading their message on social media platforms, they prefer to have face-to-face meetings and actual conversations with the groups they need — like at an event or press conference. This allows them to ensure that there or little to no misunderstandings.  

2. Fewer projects encourages more commitment

While this might not sound like an advantage, it is. As traditional PR agencies can only handle a few projects at a time, the agents usually fully commit to those projects and gives them their undivided attention. Spending more time on each project means that, in the end, the result might be better for the client. 

3. Traditional predictability brings stability

The traditional PR agencies have their own particular structure, which means that people know when to expect to receive news. This creates an air of stability for the PR pros, the journalists and the clients. For example, newspapers will always be distributed on a certain day and a radio show comes on at a specific time on specific days.   

4. The pace of work is easier

PR pros have hectic lives that revolve around the schedule of the clients. The predictability of traditional PR means that the PR pros and clients already have an idea of when their content will go out or when they need to organise a meeting, meaning that it is easier to pace their work. 

5. Certain demographics perfer traditional PR

More traditional PR methods can be very effective for certain demographics. For example, senior citizens respond well to traditional PR methods as it is something that they are accustomed to. Depending on your service or product, traditional PR could be a useful tool for your brand. 

What is digital PR?

Digital PR, on the other hand, has a multitude of other channels available. These include websites, social media platforms, blogs, influencer campaigns, online news and video portals.

There are more organisations than ever that are taking advantage of the opportunities available with the use of technology. Digital PR strategies focus predominantly on publishing content and securing backlinks from relevant and reputable websites and blogs. 

This means that digital PR pros have to build relationships with online journalists, bloggers and influencers that are relevant to your brand.

One of the main disadvantages of using digital PR is because of the large amount of people who use and rely on digital platforms, especially social media, the platforms can become crowded and lead to your message being overlooked or missed. 

However, there are many advantages of using digital platforms for PR cannot be ignored.

The advantages of digital PR

1. Digital PR has a global reach

You can target a local audience but you can also target an international one. You can also tailor your campaign to specific demographics such as gender, age, location and interests. 

2. Your audience can choose how they want to receive your content

While one person may like to read your blog posts, another person may like to watch your content on YouTube. Print PR doesn’t give them this option.

3. Digital PR interacts with your audience 

A big part of digital PR is social media. These networks encourage interaction from your followers. They also allow you to encourage your followers to take action? — for example, they can click on the link to your website at the bottom of a post or in your social media page’s bio. 

4. Data and results are recorded easily

Google analytics and insight tools offered by social media platforms, or the publication of your website, allow you to check on your campaigns at any time. Unlike print PR, you can see in real time what is and what isn’t working. Therefore, you can adapt your campaign or strategy very quickly to improve your results. 

5. Digital PR levels the playing field 

Any business, no matter its size, can be on and compete on social media, where with traditionally, start-ups may struggle to match the fineness of large corporations. Digital PR gives every start-up or any sized brand a chance to be seen.

6. Super-targeted campaigns

Digital PR allows brands to create super-targeted campaigns across a wide range of online mediums, with the aim of reaching as well as influencing their target audience. When this is done properly, it can be a vital tool in improving your reputation and your SEO, as well as growing your exposure.

Using a combination of both traditional PR and digital PR would be optimal for a truly far-reaching PR campaign. If your budget allows it, using both can also maximise your exposure? — an opportunity that you don’t want to ignore. 

While there is no denying the world is becoming increasingly more online, this does not mean that there is no place for traditional PR. 

Which PR method do you think is the best for your brand and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

We see you’ve enjoyed our content right until the end. To get more insightful stories, sign up to our newsletter.

In this age of influencers, one company has decided to say Goodbye influencers — hello traditional PR! Find out why in our article.