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Old-school PR: it’s role in the social media era


As people become more familiar with social media, they can use this ‘free’ form of marketing to generate awareness for their business. I put ‘free’ in inverted commas because it does have a cost – your time.

I’ve always said PR gives people in small businesses with limited marketing budgets the best bang for their buck, but times have changed. Now you can tweet about your business, post pics of your product on Pintrest and/or Instagram, sell it on Facebook via a business page and talk to your customers directly using all the above social media platforms. So how does traditional PR fit into this new mix?

Endorsement, ranking and social media fuel

Ask any social media expert if they believe in traditional PR and they will tell you what a difference it can make – and by traditional I mean appearing in magazines or newspapers, being interviewed on the radio or even appearing on TV – of course it also includes digital media and bloggers, but you get the drift.

By getting an article in a newspaper or magazine, you also get credibility as someone else (the editor or journalist) is endorsing you. You will almost certainly then get the story in the online version which will make Google think you are something special and increase your ranking. It gives you something meaty to tweet, blog, post on Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram and more. It also gives you something to put on your website that looks impressive. The list of benefits is enormous!

A credible message you can broadcast instantly

The combination of traditional and social media covering a topic you have written about, or a story of your business, is very powerful.  The two work so effectively together because the traditional media editorial coverage provides credibility and the social media provides instant broadcast channels for your now credible message.

But getting traditional PR coverage doesn’t have to cost a bomb. You can do it yourself. All you have to do is write a good media release (or get one written for you if you are a little shaky when it comes to spelling and grammar), get hold of the media contacts for the media you want to target, email it off and then, if you don’t hear back straight away, follow it up.

Cost effective and better than doing nothing

To put together a media list you can search online for editors and producers or make a few phone calls and ask the receptionist for the name of the journalist and their email address. Or you can buy one already made up.

Look, there is a bit of a knack to doing your own PR but it’s a cost effective alternative to doing nothing – or paying loads to an agency or publicist.  It’s also very powerful to have your business endorsed by an editor or journalist. To then combine it with social media to broadcast the message makes it an effective way to gain awareness of your business or brand.

About the author

Jules 150x150.jpgJules Brooke is the founder of Handle Your Own PR. She worked across a number of marketing and design roles in the UK, Sydney and Melbourne before setting up her PR agency, Handle Communications, in 2003. Jules has worked with numerous small and micro businesses and start-ups since then, helping them to get media coverage.