Posted by Fabrick on 21 March 2019

How much coverage have you generated for me? A question we are asked on a regular basis by our clients. What is deemed as a good metric or a bad metric; two, four, twenty or one hundred and forty five pieces of coverage? Ten or so years ago, we would only look at vanity metrics and not really focus on the quality of the results. A ‘good’ end of month report would typically be a couple of press releases, a technical feature and a few case studies – great! But times have changed and with the ever evolving digital world we live in, does traditional PR still have the same power?

I still consider myself fairly ‘young’ but in truth, especially when I think back to my first PR job in the early noughties when we used to send press releases via post, it now dawns on me that I have become one of those people that now echoes those very words ‘back in my day’… yes we live in the digital age, yes social media is here to stay and it is making us ‘traditional PR professionals’ sit up and take note of the influence it holds but in my view we need one another, we work hand in hand and it’s all about the team work!

Let’s break it down, traditional PR, and by this I mean speaking to an editor, engaging in conversation, not just about work but asking them how they are and really getting to know them. Making notes that their first born is just about to start school, their cat is about to give birth and their other half is running a marathon. This is what forms a relationship, builds trust and ensures editors remember you just as much as you remember them. All of these little nuggets are so important when it comes to those editors who are in need of pages to fill. Believe me it works; they will remember that hard-core One Direction fan with red hair - she’s bound to have something interesting for us (true story)!

For the construction industry, PR does so much more than promote products and services. We challenge debate, take clients out of their comfort zones and we push boundaries. Do audiences really want to know that Karen in sales has been promoted? Or do they want to know what we are doing to help educate the new generation and what we are doing to curb the skills shortage? Thought-leadership is key to owning industry voice, especially within construction which doesn’t just make buildings look pretty, but helps shape our future. It creates a healthy living space and considers our health and wellbeing – just some of the trends we focus on throughout the year.

I spoke to the editor of a local newspaper recently; we got talking about Europe’s plans to ban single-use plastic which is a hot topic with strong viewpoints. One passionate viewpoint in particular is from a client of mine and so we gave the newspaper an exclusive. It got us three whole pages of strong compelling words from a company with a genuine mind-set in voicing their views on the environment. There was no sales pitch, just a reference to the company and a representative name – result! The client was ecstatic, I was thrilled and the editor was happy; we even had a reader write in to say how great the story was. To top it off, we have offered the same newspaper another exclusive on another burning issue – massive result!

So yes, this three page spread looks fantastic in my end of month report, the metrics are strong, the audience reach is high and the PR value is justified. Not only have we created a strong piece of traditional PR, we have now dissected this into blog posts, shared on the company’s website and their social media platforms. We’ve been able to engage with lots of different people, from those reading it in print to those reading it online, no doubt tripling our audience reach! See… I told you it’s all about the team work!

So while social media and online banners fill the digital world with white noise, traditional media carries on its honourable trudge and is proving to stand the test of time because of the value of real relationships in the industry and the bonds that it seeks to hold dear. Traditional PR is not only about the medium or platform it exists in, but rather about the value of content which is only uncovered through these meaningful connections with people.

So yes, in my view, traditional PR still has the power!

Kelly Slociak, Head of PR, Fabrick

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