In the PR Trenches: Traditional Media vs. Bloggers

Written by Amanda Lao on April 10, 2014

Public relations firms Toronto

There has been a war raging for the past 5 years or so between social media bloggers and traditional print and television journalists. The battle lines have been drawn and what is at stake is credibility, legitimacy and not to mention the hearts and minds of the masses.

Many traditional media journalists refuse to acknowledge the impact and influence of bloggers. They often assume that while bloggers may have a wide reach it’s limited to very specific subject matter and therefore very small fringe audiences. On the other side, bloggers have accused more traditional journalists of having limited scope and a lack of creativity mainly due to the fact that they have corporate bosses monitoring their content and feeding them ideas. So, what does this conflict mean for the PR industry and our clients? How can we avoid the crossfire and make a peace that works to our mutual advantages?

Traditional media relationships are fundamental for PR firms because they are invaluable when it comes to reaching the mainstream and to getting messages out in primetime through credible and widely accepted outlets. However, bloggers who once represented the oft-maligned subjective opinion of Jane and Joe Blow are now seen as subject experts and obsessed promoters, key in understanding the pulse of the market and crucial in finding target audiences.  While some might see these as conflicting approaches we PR professionals of the future only see opportunity!

Our media relationships have shown that journalists often make decisions to give coverage to clients not simply from our glowing pitches but from the research they do on our clients for themselves. Their decisions can be swayed based on whether there is chatter online about our clients and by becoming familiar with a client through their online presence. This is where you can connect the value of integrated marketing schemes. Having an online personality, a great website, bloggers talking about you and a loyal micro audience are all factors that have a significant impact on our clients’ ability to get coverage from large traditional media outlets. Bloggers also benefit from partnerships with traditional media because mainstream coverage for them can mean sponsorship, increased exposure and new audiences. By working together with both traditional and more modern media forms PR professionals are able to provide our clients with broad-based solutions.

Therefore, this war is over, we declare a truce, and it’s time to figure out the best way to share the spoils!

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