Blog - Written by on Thursday, October 1, 2009 18:56

Mainstream Media Relations — More Important Than Ever

by Todd Defren, PR Squared

I’ve been called to the mat in the past for overemphasizing the importance of Social Media to marketing programs. With this post, I’ll surely be accused of skewing too far in the other direction. (If I’m not making somebody upset, I’m not doing my job, eh?)

Tim Dyson, the mastermind behind the NextFifteen group, recently blogged about the influence of traditional media. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“Only 20 years ago the idea of seeing a news article and forwarding it to 100 people was at best a time consuming and expensive exercise. Today, anyone with Internet access can do it … Today an article is as good as the number of people that read it and then forward it, PLUS the number of people who then find it later when doing a search on Google, PLUS the number of people who find it because someone blogged about it, PLUS the number of people that found it because it was tweeted about (etc.)”

And before you bemoan “the death of newspapers,” consider this: while print circulation last year has cratered, the number of unique visitors to newspaper websites grew by 15.8% to 65 million in the past year. Though the news media still struggles to figure out how to make $$$ from journalism, the audience is present and accounted for.

Meanwhile, anecdotally, more and more top-tier journalists are getting their story ideas and follow-up concepts directly from users themselves. For good or ill, they are become far more synchronized to the zeitgeist via their participation in Social Media, which only makes their stories in “traditional” media more relevant to the masses.

Lastly, the wild & woolly nature of the Web has placed a premium on quality, unbiased editorial. While it’s true that the public’s faith in journalism is at an all-time low, it is also true that our culture rightfully continues to place more faith in storied institutions like the NY TIMES, BusinessWeek, FORTUNE, etc., than in the blogosphere’s pundits.

So: frictionless sharing across myriad consumers + increasing participation + increasing “share of eyeballs” + increasing need for quality editorial = don’t place all your bets on Twitter just yet, folks. Burnishing your credentials with the top reporters in the field will still immeasurably shape the success of your clients’ programs, not to mention your own career.

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