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The five key differences between traditional and digital PR

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA): “Public relations is defined as a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics.”
In the last few years, traditional PR has been complemented by digital PR. Both are highly effective in their own ways, offering unique benefits to drive campaign results and contributing different tactics to build relationships.

Listed below are five key differences between traditional and digital PR.

  1. Traditional PR involves press outreaches with a special focus on traditional media outlets such as newspapers, television and radio. Digital PR is primarily online and has the benefit of impacting SEO and link building across the web.
  2. Traditional PR tracks the circulation and reach of the audience and measurement is generally based on an estimate of how many people could potentially be watching that particular show or how many readers are estimated to read that particular print publication. Digital PR uses measurement tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to track engagement and Google Analytics to track how many users on a website are clicking through to the client’s site or online article.
  3. Digital PR content is generally used within 24 hours. Traditional PR requires a bit more patience as print publications need longer lead time, as does broadcast unless it’s extremely news worthy.
  4. Traditional PR tends to focus on offline visibility and can involve the organisation of press conferences and events. Traditional PR also disseminates information to wide audiences, but without much feedback as its focus is not dialogue driven, making the communication very one sided. Digital PR on the other hand focuses on online visibility, where carefully placed content works with various search engines to help ensure that a client’s brand ranks highly in online searches and often extends into digital publication’s social media feeds where engagement becomes a focus.
  5. Traditional PR focuses on mass media outlets such as print and broadcast. Digital PR uses blogs, social media and websites as the main sources to distribute information to connect audiences via engagement opportunities.

Traditional and digital PR differ in how content is distributed, but used in tandem, they provide a strong strategy that reaches a wide audience with the opportunity for both brand awareness and engagement.

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