At the risk of using an Olympic metaphor one month too late, public relations has evolved into two forms of running. Social media is the sprinter, or Usain Bolt, and traditional media relations is Meb Keflezighi (if you know who he is), or the marathoner.
Social media is a world of short bursts in which you can largely control the narrative. With 140 character tweets, three paragraph blog posts and spontaneous Facebook and LinkedIn campaigns, it’s possible to create the exact message you want to reach the exact audience at the exact time. If you can drive and control your campaign the way a sprinter rockets down his assigned 100 meters of space on a smooth precise track, you will win.
Media relations doesn’t work this way. You don’t have the control like you do with social media. Just like in a marathon where the weather and the course are as important as the competition, the success of a media relations campaign is not solely based on the quality of your narrative. It is impacted by outside factors such as a reporter’s subjective interest in the story, a larger competitor’s news trumping yours or last second external events that occupy the media agenda for days on end. You also must rely on outside parties like customer references and outside experts to tell your story, in the same way that a marathoner is dead without electrolytes and PowerBars. The campaign cycle for media relations is also a much longer process; results don’t happen overnight. It requires patience, endurance and flexibility, and to never give up until it is over.
Olympic sprinters and marathoners must specialize; endurance is useless to a sprinter and blinding speed is relevant for only the last 10 meters of a marathon. Companies however, must develop and execute a strategic social media and media relations campaign if they are going to win the gold medal of customer awareness that drives adoption.
Posted by Merrill Freund on August 29, 2012 at 3:28 PM