As old-school PR professionals, we have always relied on traditional media, which includes print and online mediums: newspapers or magazines and broadcast: TV or radio to create publicity for our clients. These are the communication mediums that are used by most decision-makers in business because most CEO or executives in companies consume their news from these old, traditional platforms.
You see, most executives always enjoy opening the Sunday newspapers and seeing their companies featured or even an informative leadership piece where they are quoted. They also watch international and local TV news channels, and they listen to radio talk shows to get breaking news or analysis the stories for the week. Therefore this means that these platforms will continue to be relevant for a long-time to come because their business or buying decisions are influenced by these mediums. This old generation and I’m counting myself in it they still enjoy holding a book and inhaling the smell of either an old or new book – this group is referred to as the BBT – Born Before Technology.
However, the new generation which in essence are the future leaders consume their news using modern-day technology – they get their breaking news from social media in particular Twitter and other news platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Instagram. Most newspapers have taken the online route over the years, they prefer their readers to subscribe to such platforms and read their news either on their computers, tablets or mostly on their mobile phones. The COVID period, which forced most people to work from home, has emphasized the importance of technology and therefore the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). This has over the years forced us, old-school PR professionals, to utilize these platforms to communicate with large groups of people that are targeted by our clients.
These days when we have to provide PR support to clients’ campaigns, we have to look at our target audiences thoroughly so that we can choose the best communication channels to use for a specific campaign. As much as the modern-day communication channels cannot replace the old channels or even the principles used in generating publicity around a campaign, it is very important to make sure that the old and new mediums complement each other. What young PR professionals need to understand is that the principles of PR and communication do not change just because of this new technology – this is not the answer to every PR problem. These communication platforms are just platforms to communicate; they are not the solution to everything.
What we’ve also noticed these days is that people are busy and they are always on the move, they want their news fast and straight to the point. They don’t always want long press releases to read about a story – they want the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) this is the principle that needs to be considered by media companies when they are the news to them. Well, in any case, platforms like Twitter expect that from us because we are limited on the number of characters that we can put in any post. This allows people to still get news in 200 characters, instead of a 600 or 800-word news story; with the option to put the full story as a link to those that want to read the full release.
This has taught us, old-school PR professionals, the importance of social media and how different communication channels can complement each other. Time and technology advancement has made sure that we understand that there’s no platform that can live on its own and that we need to do a better job for our clients when using all the platforms that are available for us. To young PR professionals, if you want to continue providing value to your clients then my advice to you is that don’t think that social media PR is your solution to everything. Traditional media platforms still have a crucial role to play in ensuring that your clients are serviced well.
Miranda Lusiba is the Founding of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR Agency specialising in Communication, Freelance Writing, Media Relations, Reputation Management and Media Training. #pradvice
**Disclaimer: Miranda Lusiba & STRANGÉ CONSULTING retain all title, ownership and intellectual property (IP) rights to these columns and trademarks contained in all other information and supporting documents as well. This is in accordance with the SA: Copyright Act 98 of 1978 (amended) Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 38 of 1997.