Harnessing the traditional and new media mix for maximum impact

Traditional channels still deliver in today's transformed media world

The media landscape, as we knew it a decade ago, no longer exists. New technology has not only changed how we receive information (phone, email, tablet), but also who is driving news. With the rise of citizen journalism, previously unknown individuals are now influencers. With content marketing, (smart) brands have become multimedia providers. In addition, our attention spans have reached capacity – news must now be rendered palatable in 140 characters or less. Digital communication has created an “always connected” environment, which means it's that much harder to retain the interest of the always-on-the-go consumer.

The traditional versus new media debate is now a moot point. Any PR agency would attest that securing print coverage in the likes of The New York Times and Wall Street Journals still constitutes hitting a bottom-of-the 9th grand slam. Traditional channels often retain the upper hand in lending credibility and establishing “trending topics” on social channels. The reverse is true as well — traditional outlets often pick up on stories gaining momentum in the social spheres. Essentially, the flow of information is happening both ways. This mutually beneficial relationship between traditional and new media should not be discounted – especially with the emergence of hybrid channels.

Earlier this year, Ogilvy forged a first-ever media partnership with Fast Company to create a channel that highlights our clients' great work while letting us identify communications trends and share industry best practices. Media outlets are increasingly open to this partnered approach as the demand for creative content continues.  

While the media landscape is certainly more complicated to understand than it was five or 10 years ago, it also gives PR professionals a great opportunity to identify and recommend new ways to harness the growing intermix of traditional and new channels and more importantly, align their social, traditional, and paid media for a cohesive brand story. For communicators, the primary goal is employing channels that best forward clients' business goals – be it powerful videos, insightful infographics, or strong features. What we need is adopting a channel-agnostic approach that ensures that content is targeted and relevant for today's discerning consumers.

Jennifer Risi is EVP for Ogilvy Media Influence and director of content creation at Ogilvy Public Relations.

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