Ad Age: Social media marketing supplanting traditional media relations

And the earth’s temperature is heating up.

While the dismantling of traditional media both financially and by audience/credibility has been gaining steam for years, this past year’s economic meltdown has only exacerbated the derailment. Clients are pursuing more direct lines to consumers through micro-targeted ads, Youtube channels, Twitter accounts and tactics of the like while PRtists continue to race the rest of the marketing world to plant their flag on social media mastery.

But, Michael Bush at Ad Age misses the point when he jumps from the sorry state of earned media pitching to the blossoming social media marketing scene: earning credible media is still a vital and often omnipotent strategy to achieve one’s communications goals. The slow strangulation of traditional mass media outlets is most definitely bruising to experts in negotiating earned media but that doesn’t necessarily mean former media relations mavens have thrown their eggs into a basket of Tweets.

Online media is evolving in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways.  Both niche and mass audience vehicles are establishing themselves as credible, editorial-based outlets that audiences are galvanizing around leading to trust. Skilled PRtists are recognizing these new media places, developing relationships with their writers and editors and negotiating access, products, and news stories to them in a meaningful way for their clients or organizations.

Maybe Team PR will win the race to thought leadership and supremacy over social media marketing. Maybe they’ll realize its not the only game in town.

But be on notice: Public relations in a wired (wireless?) world doesn’t mean giving up one ghost for another. Earning media is not a thing of the past. What’s that they say about evolution not revolution?

PR Geniuses? Or a bunch of hot air?

They (the proverbial “they”) say that all publicity is good publicity. The informed public relations professional will wholeheartedly disagree with that slice of conventional wisdom. The backlash and disgust aimed at this Balloon Boy hoax that was allegedly perpetrated in an attempt to initiate interest in a reality show should prove dangerous, transparent stunts that maliciously fool the public doesn’t gather the steam of goodwill that rewards publicity seekers.

But… I just don’t know. This story isn’t going to die quickly. There are so many questions and charges and reactions yet to come that I can’t rule out the appetite for a reality show about the family that would do anything to get a reality show.

Public relations and publicity “work” by addressing goals and objectives and using its tools to advance them. The Heene family (allegedly) had a brash goal of focusing visual-hungry 24 hour cable news and making themselves famous. The reality TV game feeds off the same brash ideals. So, its hard not to credit this family with being strategic.

We’ll have to wait and see how this one turns out but I can’t help but award at least a quarter of a Stractical point to the Heene family for at least pulling Stractical out of hiatus to comment.

Burst balloon

Burst balloon