Does traditional PR still matter?

As the trade press has morphed from print to digital some wonder if it is worth the effort to get into these online publications. Marketing guru Mark Amtower answers with a parable.

GovCon trade publications have morphed from robust hardcopy magazines in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s to online hubs featuring news, events and more for our community. Broadcast media still have the airwaves, but are also supported by robust web sites.

One question I get with some regularity usually comes in an email asking, “So if it’s not a hardcopy magazine, is it still valuable? Should I spend my time, and perhaps money, to get into one of the trade publications?”

We get on the phone and the conversation goes something like this.

Them: It seems so many companies have blogs and e-newsletters, so should I start a newsletter or should I try to try to get interviewed by Washington Technology?

Me: There is no one size fits all answer, but if the publication serves your market, and the article you want to be in or write targets a sweet spot for your business, the answer is probably yes.

Them: But what if I publish a blog, start a newsletter, or post on LinkedIn?

Me: What kind of traffic does your blog get, and how many views do you average on LinkedIn?

Them: But I’ve heard you say quality is better than quantity.

Me: True, but you need traffic before either can occur. Traditional media, print and broadcast, have the traffic. Most company blogs and newsletters don’t. And if they do, it did not happen overnight.

Them: So what are you saying?

Me: One size does not fit all. Ask yourself:

  • Why you want to be in the media?
  • Why the audience served by the media outlet would want to hear what you say?
  • How this would benefit your company?
  • Do you need help getting interviewed?
  • Is it worth the time and potential expense?”

Them: That’s a lot to absorb. I’d have to think about it.

Me: Think hard and understand what you want out of being in any media. It’s good to think it out first. The bottom line is that when journalists want an informed opinion, they go to a trusted source, someone known in the market.

When you are the person quoted or interviewed, you are apparently the expert. If not you, who?

When it comes to my clients, I prefer for them to be quoted rather than their competitor, and I prefer it to occur in a significant media outlet.

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