PR Will Move Beyond Traditional Media. What Does This Mean For Your Campaign?

By Rudi Davis Published: 11 April, 2016 Last updated: February 18th, 2022 at 11:33 am

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PR has traditionally focused on getting announcements published in the print media as it’s these print publications that hold the prestige. Your company getting featured on Forbes will not only help to get you recognized by investors and consumers–it’ll give you some serious street cred. It just looks good.

The ‘traditional’ PR method has focused on writing press releases and guest articles to pitch to leading publications, hoping the stories get picked up and will help gain the company some traction. However it’s becoming more and more difficult to get picked up in a market that’s saturated in startups. Add the media downturn into the mix, and journalists want stories to drive engagement and clicks.  Unless your story really deserves to be on Forbes, it’ll be hard to get it there.

But startups, don’t feel too jaded. To have successful campaigns, forward thinking businesses need to start thinking outside the box and view PR tactics in a different way. Newer platforms have sprouted up in recent years that have a serious potential to impact PR. Platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, Vine and Instragram reach an unbelievably wide audience, and a young one too. The content posted on them often gets upwards of 10s of millions of views. So as the platforms continue to grow, it’s not unwarranted to want to see your brand featured on them instead. But, what will this type of media coverage mean for your campaign?

The content will be short and sweet. And that’s a good thing

According to this Slate article, 50% of people who read articles online don’t even get halfway through the content. Thirty eight per cent of people only read the first few sentences. Readers get too distracted online. That why social media platform like Snapchat and Vine are effective for brands–they tell consumers the information they need to know in the least amount of time.

Snapchat and Vine users don’t have time to hear about what materials you used to build your hardware, or all about the amazing people you met while you were founding your company. Individual snaps on Snapchat last 10 seconds. Vines last 7 seconds. It’s just the right amount of time to really grab a viewer’s attention, and if they find it interesting enough, they’ll go find out more from your company’s website.

The stories will be seen by more people

A typical story on the New York Times website gets about 8 million page views.  But what if I said some snaps on Snapchat get almost triple that?  Contributors to “Live Stories” report getting far over 10, or sometimes 20 million views on their snaps. We interviewed an employee at headphone startup Wearhaus who had 27 million views on her snap about the headphones. It was featured in a Techies in Vegas Story. To put that into perspective, the Breaking Bad series finale reached 10.3 million viewers.

Snapchat compiles the snaps featured in live stories, so getting in them is kind of a fluke. But there’s Snapchat TV channels that boast having huge viewership numbers, too.  Reality TV channel Arsenic TV says it has more viewers on Snapchat than MTV gets on cable. So as more channels like these pop up, having your company featured on them as part of your PR campaign will mean huge exposure for your brand.

Traditional journalists won’t be writing your stuff

Pitching to a traditional print magazine means the person that’s writing the content about your brand is likely a trained journalist. But on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube and Vine, it’s social media influencers who are drawing the most eyes. Youtube influencers reviewing Call of Duty had their videos viewed a whopping 9.7 billion times. That’s 20x more than video game publisher Activision’s video on its own site.

So why are influencers on social media so appealing? It’s because they’re relatable. They’re normal people who reach a wide audiences, and who are credible without having big publications behind their names. Considering 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends or family above other forms of advertising, having your brand mentioned or reviewed by an influencer on social media could make more of an impact on the consumer.

Great. Now what?

Certain print publications are always going to have prestige. Soon popular channels on social medium platforms will have just as much. While it’s getting harder to be featured in print publications, channels on these platforms offer huge viewership numbers and user generated content that’s straight to the point.  Being featured on popular channels within these platforms in the coming years is going to give you some serious street cred, too.