Traditional PR Vs. Digital PR: Which Is More Relevant In 2021?

Traditional PR Vs. Digital PR: Which Is More Relevant In 2021?

6 mins read

2020 was the year no one would want to look back on. A year full of ups and downs and battles fought all over. The Covid induced lockdown incarcerated individuals and birthed a fully digital transformation and rampant running of social media. That means a new set of possibilities for brands to reach their audience. 

While some brands quickly adapted to the digital practices, others remained confused and pondered over the risks associated. Among everything, the one question on the marketers’ lips is – Traditional PR or Digital PR? 

It seems you are stuck on the same page. We can hear you clearly and will help you to turn the page over. 

What is PR?

As defined by Wikipedia, Public Relations is “the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as business, government agency, or a non-profit organization) and the public in order to affect the public perception”. 

Marketing Guru Seth Godin says, “PR is the strategic crafting of your story. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people talk about you.” 

Are PR and Marketing the same?

The role of Public Relations is different from that of marketing and advertising. While the former entails forming a positive relationship between the organization with the prospective clients and audience, the latter aims at sales and profit of the organization. However, with changing needs and development, PR campaigns also lead to sales and generate leads for the organization.  

Before we can deduce the right method, let’s have a quick glance at the types of PR. 

Types of PR

There are two types (as you already know) of PR – Traditional and Digital. Traditional PR is the inclusion of mediums such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines in the strategy to promote brand awareness. The goal of digital PR remains the same but using online mediums such as websites, social media, video platforms, collaborating with influencers, etc. 

Traditional PR has been undermined (almost)

While the traditional PR strategy has not yet been completely rejected, it has been eroded to some extent owing to the increasing digital influence. There are certain factors that have led to the significant downfall of traditional PR:

  • There is only room for one way communication with very limited feedback;
  • It is difficult to measure consumer engagement i.e. the total number of viewers who have viewed the media segment. The only tool available is the Equivalent Advertising Value (EAV) that measure the scale of coverage required, the amount of space, the positioning, and the budget;
  • There is no scope of sharing the content; 
  • The only focus is on the positive portrayal of the brand and communicating message to the audience;
  • There is the hassle of doing research for print publications, such as “which magazine publishes the related topics in which month and the corresponding dates of publication”.   

Digital PR – The new hope

Although the goal of Digital PR is similar to that of traditional PR of promoting brand awareness and building a positive relationship, 

  • There is an added advantage of “impacting SEO and link building across the web”. Digital PR mostly aims at “impressing Google”, i.e. securing a higher position in the search engine results;
  •  Publishing high-quality content and getting links to the website will lead to an increase in traffic and improve the ranking; 
  • Greater traffic will lead to increased sharing of content; 
  • With the use of various online platforms, Digital PR has the advantage of measuring consumer engagement as well as getting direct feedback from the audience. Tools like Google Analytics help in tracking the number of users visiting a website; 
  • Since there is a great impact of influencers, bloggers, vloggers and content creators in the digital space having a loyal following, building connections with them will be fruitful for brand engagement and promotion; 
  • With an effective digital PR employed, there is a prospective Return on Investment (ROI).  

Which is more relevant?

(Honestly) It is difficult to figure out the right approach for brand awareness. Both digital and traditional PR can be employed in the business depending upon the situation. In fact, for an effective brand promotion both traditional and digital can be employed. For the section of the population alienated from digital devices, traditional PR remains the option. 

However, in the present situation where every aspect of society has been digitized, it is not stupid to note the importance of digital PR. But along with the digital medium comes the importance of security and privacy. And the right approach. Of course, social media is the fertilizer for brand awareness, one wrong step can make the brand name infertile.