Different Approaches for Social & Traditional Media Success

IStock_000003501504XSmallIn the early days of Social Media, the mainstream media scoffed at the blogosphere.  The traditional journalists accused bloggers of scavenging content.  Blogs drew little notice or outright derision.

Obviously, that’s changed.

Nowadays, when we pitch a mainstream reporter, they’ll often do a Google search about our client while we’re hanging there (suspended, expectant, hopeful) on the phone, and then say something like, “I dunno… I don’t see much about your client in the blogs.”

The mainstream reporters are using bloggers to vet their stories.  Blogs are the proving ground in the marketplace of ideas.

But what if the client is doing a kick-ass job in Social Media circles?  Does it follow that they will find success in mainstream media?  Only “sometimes.” 

Sometimes a story will bubble up to the traditional media thanks to the attentions of the blogosphere, sometimes not.  Sometimes what is of-interest to the bleeding-edgers is clearly not ready for primetime.

IStock_000003370438XSmallThe goal is to do a good job in Social Media and in Traditional Media.  Success in BOTH arenas creates a force-multiplier effect.  The trick is understanding that you need to craft custom approaches to these varying audiences. 

Social Media demands 24/7 presence, frequently-updated and relevant content, a diplomatic and distinct voice. Traditional Media requires careful timing, a differentiated story, a proud voice, a tightly-packaged and closely-held assembly of content, verifiable proof and articulate defenders.

Understand the difference.  Do both.

Posted on: August 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm By Todd Defren
76 Responses to “Different Approaches for Social & Traditional Media Success”


  • Twitter Comment

    Social media and traditional media – are they like apples and oranges? [link to post] >LH

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Social media and traditional media – are they like apples and oranges? [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Very intriguing article, I would agree with some other commenters that traditional media is not going to completely die and that modern media only adds another layer. It is important to take advantage of both mediums.

  • Rob G says:

    Decent post. I can’t help noticing however that there is still tension between trad media and bloggers. In fact the early disdain of traditional journalists directed at ‘citizen journalists’ (I know journalists who still refuse to acknowledge high ranking bloggers as ‘journalists’) partly explains this tension.

    The two sides are learning to ‘co-exist’, however, the seismic shift in the media has really only just begun – few people (even Rupert Murdoch) know where we’re going to end up in 5 years time.

  • I totally agree with what you have said. Which is why when I wind up getting a full time job I want to work where there is a balanced approach to Social Media and traditional. I do not believe print is dead but I think there needs to be new approach to reach the audiences in need.

  • Erin Bury says:

    Very interesting that traditional journalists are searching the blogs – I love that line, “blogs are the proving ground in the marketplace of ideas.” As recently as a year ago traditional agencies & clients were barely paying attention to bloggers – now it seems that they are the ticket to mainstream success. I do agree though, you have to look at both sides – it isn’t a full picture if you’re only focusing on either traditional media or blogger relations.

  • Ben Bloom says:

    A potent combination, indeed. Many social media evangelists forget that social media successes that make sense with “the brand” are often taking a free ride on the advertsising successes of traditonal media campaigns.

    How would you use social media to associate BMW with luxury, or Volvo with safety, or Four Seasons with customer happiness? Those are hard-won associations that social media can help to propagate and reinforce, but it’s not always the best way to create them.

  • Well said: we still have one foot in the traditional ‘filter then publish’ world (which gives the media a powerful gatekeeping role) and one foot in the ‘publish then filter world’ of social media (as described by Clay Shirky).

    It’s quite an art. As you imply, one benefits from inspiration and timing, the other from persistence and presence.

  • Ann Marie says:

    The last two paragraphs — so well written — say so much. Thank you.

  • Keith Trivitt says:

    Todd – You make some great points in this post. To me, what makes PR so interesting and so exciting to work in now is the fact that we now have a two-, perhaps even three-, dimensional approach we must take, taking care to give adequate focus to outreach to both the traditional and online media. That to me, is incredibly exciting, as it allows us to build multiple little strategies within an overall PR plan. With due time and diligence, I believe we are actually better able to serve our clients and organizations this way.

    This is why I have found it so difficult to understand why some in the PR business still scoff at the idea of creating strategies specifically targeted for social/online media. Why wouldn’t you want to create a medium-specific strategy just for SM/bloggers if it allows you to get so much better coverage and public awareness for your client, and at the same time, you know that mainstream reporters are using blogs and SM to vet out your client and their brand/products? To me, it only makes sense to attack both with gusto and a well-targeted, specific approach for each.

    Keith Trivitt (@KeithTrivitt)

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