Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest—there are too many social media channels to list. They have all exploded into our lives at a lightning pace in less than eight years. It’s unlikely that you know many people between the ages of 10 and 60 who don’t have at least one social media account. In fact, Canada ranks at the top of the list for social media use according to a recent study by eMarketer.

As social media has become more prevalent, people have come to expect immediate information and real, consumer driven conversations. This has forced the traditional news landscape to evolve, prompting much discussion about the relevancy of newspapers, TV, and radio.

But does traditional media even have a place in today’s culture of 140 characters or less?

I would argue yes.

It was recently reported that Canadian adults watch an average of 30 hours of TV per week. And although many admit to being distracted by their digital devices, this demonstrates that TV continues to be part of our lives.

The trust and credibility factor in traditional media also trumps social media. Remember the story that broke on Twitter about President Obama being injured in an attack on the White House? In a mere five minutes from when that tweet was sent, to when the Associated Press declared their account had been hacked, stock markets plummeted and the mainstream media started responding.

While there’s no doubt that digital integration in most PR campaigns is essential today, traditional PR is far from dead.

In fact, one of Broad Reach’s most successful and award-winning campaigns, Creating Eminence for Deloitte Canada’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions, successfully generated earned media coverage and built a positive reputation for Deloitte with a purely traditional PR strategy in January 2011.

What did it take to make this happen?

  • An extensive amount of research and understanding of the client and their goals—even the tried, true, but often forgotten SWOT analysis came into play
  • A campaign theme that was featured prominently in every message, interview and written material to help to tell the Canadian story
  • Strong, accurate and trustworthy positioning of the client as a thought leader, market leader and industry expert
  • Customized storylines that would resonate with different audiences and regions, and allow us to reach out to a broader spectrum of media
  • A national press release, nine regional pitches and eight industry specific pitches—customization was key
  • Well briefed spokespeople, positioned across the country to amp up the regional connection
  • Aggressive, targeted media relations

Even without social media, this particular campaign managed to exceed every expectation, generating an unprecedented 128 million media impressions across Canada, 100 per cent of which had a positive tone and brand mention. I recently had the pleasure of describing how to develop and execute this type of award-winning PR campaign to members of the Canadian Public Relations Society. To listen, click here.

And while this might not work for every client or every campaign, it certainly shows that traditional PR can still achieve measurable, targeted and credible results.

Do you think traditional PR can thrive without social or digital integration?