InsightsPOSTED August 14, 2013

Why PR agencies need journalists

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Why PR agencies need journalists

We were very lucky to have Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye in for a lunch and learn last Friday. We think it’s important to build relationships with journalists, to find out what makes them tick so we can be better at our jobs. And that’s why we brought in Steve, fed him cheese and fruit and asked him questions for an hour.

Steve is very active on Twitter, and as he was chatting with us about his personal Twitter rules I was suddenly reminded of this article that boldly stated that PR people don’t need journalists anymore (because they can just use social media):

Journalists are becoming less important to PR by the day. There are so many outlets, so many different and new marketing and social channels, that we can often reach your audience without your help anymore.

I asked Steve what he thought of this. Is the future of PR ditching media pitches and leveraging social/digital channels exclusively?

According to Steve, no. He immediately brought up Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” Super Bowl real-time marketing campaign. They executed a perfectly-timed tweet (obviously by a marketing team waiting for an opportunity to jump on), and that in itself was a win. But what turned the event into a major brand victory was that it was widely reported on by the media.

Oreo needed the media to amplify their Super Bowl stunt, explained Steve. The reason you immediately think “Oreo” when you hear “real-time marketing” is because it was covered by tech journalists from Fast Company, Forbes, and Wired, to name a few.

At APEX, we agree with Steve. The symbiotic relationship between media, PR folks and social media will always exist and will never be about one or the other – both for successes and fails. We see a true PR win as a robust combination of traditional and social coverage, and so do our clients, particularly the ones for whom social media is still “new.” Generating coverage in mainstream media like the National Post is just as valuable – if not more – than 50,000 retweets.

Ultimately what makes those 50,000 retweets so impressive is when it crosses social/traditional lines and becomes a touch point throughout our lives. Also, just try telling your client you’re taking their fiscal budget and using it to create a new Instagram page!

To sum up, marketers will always need the media and media will always need marketers. Sending out an attention-grabbing tweet is great for your strategy, but earning traditional coverage will turn it up to 11.

Image courtesy Jurgen Appelo

Amanda Factor is a Social Media Consultant at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.