In analyzing your PR mix, do not discount the power of the web. While a hit in a national magazine or morning show can still make or break your brand, so can a hit on a site like The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, DailyCandy, and a slew of other online media outlets that are growing in both power and number.
Let’s take the case of a fashion brand. With magazines folding left and right, it’s really this simple: How many high reach fashion magazines are circulating in the US market? Maybe, 40? How many top national broadcast opportunities? Possibly, 10? How many fashion blogs? Hundreds – and growing.
The Power of Online PR
Relying solely on traditional media [print and television] can become problematic. The sheer volume of traditional media outlets is comparatively low in comparison to the vast number of opportunities accessible on the web.
Still not convinced? The opportunity to immediately maximize hits by cross-promoting with social media [Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.] is a powerful tool that can double or triple the reach of any given web hit. Not to mention the consumer has the opportunity to immediately click-through and purchase immediately.
Now of course just as in traditional media, some online outlets are going to be more effective than others. Therefore, it’s up to you [or your publicist] to collaborate with sites & blogs that will give your brand the best return in terms of visibility, web traffic and sales.
Bloggers & Samples: An Ongoing Debate
One caveat with the web – be cautious of sites that require “samples for review” [e.g. samples you won’t get back] in order for your brand to be “considered” for editorial coverage. This is a topic of ongoing debate in the blogger vs. PR world, “Should bloggers get free samples in exchange for coverage?” The simple answer is — there are blogs that are worth it and there are some, that well, aren’t. We refer to these blogs as “greedy sample grabbers” – people that basically just want free stuff – your stuff. So be smart and always ask for site stats such as page views, unique visitors, readership demographics, etc. to fully assess the reach and legitimacy of the blog before committing to send a sample.
A Holistic PR Strategy
Keep in mind, The Today Show and O, The Oprah Magazine may still be the crème de la crème of mainstream media hits. I’m not suggesting that online outreach should in any way replace traditional outreach. A successful PR campaign is, after all, one that reaches out to all media types to truly maximize your brand’s exposure.
I am advising, however, not to overlook the rapidly growing power of online media. When analyzing strategy and goals for your PR campaign, just make sure you don’t forget this one little thing called: the web.
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