Most anyone who's been reading a major newspaper or magazine lately has probably heard a lot about social media. There have also been many predictions that social media will forever change the media landscape and public relations as we know it. However, the most likely outcome will be the need to create a more broad set of marketing practices that include both "old" and "new" media and advisors need to know how to capitalize on both.
It seems every day, another study on social media is issued, many times with conflicting information or predictions. For example, Twitter is getting a lot of ink in media outlets, but substantially more than half of new users are abandoning the platform in the first three months. This means it's important for advisors who now undertake a comprehensive PR program to promote their practice to not abandon those efforts and put all the eggs in a new-media basket.
Traditional media outlets are unquestionably having issues with their business model. Having said that, they still deliver demographics that are very enviable and are very much in line with the demographics that advisors target: Affluent professionals that are knowledgeable about investing and want to keep some "skin in the game," even in down markets.
One of the most common things that confuse clients when it comes to media relations is where their message is best heard. In other words, everyone automatically gravitates to well-known outlets such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Indeed for many, these are very desirable outlets and will help push forward the goals of your public relations program. However, when deciding what outlets are best for you, it's always important to take into account their demographics, since you want to appear in publications that have readers who would most always fit the definition of a suitable client. There are many cases where a financial professional has a particular industry niche and is well known within a particular industry. In those cases, hits in a high-level trade publication well read by professionals in that industry will be just as valuable, if not more so, than a major media outlet.
Also, the great thing about media placements in contrast to social-media outlets is that your contributions live practically forever. It's been more than 10 years since I was a writer for CNN Financial News, however, I can still go to CNNMoney.com and pull up a variety of stories I wrote there because they still have a full archive index of all their articles. Likewise, articles that are secured as part of a comprehensive PR program don't stop working for you the minute they're published. I always encourage clients to make copies of these articles and post them to their Web sites so that prospective clients can see them. To those who may be asking about the legality of such a practice, technically publishing articles in this manner falls outside the "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright law, but it's widely practiced and in actuality, the worst that would likely happen is the receipt of a "cease and desist" letter from a publisher. In the unlikely case that you were to ever receive one of those, taking the article down would solve all issues.
In closing, during this changing time, it's important to remember that all too often we always view a new platform or technology as something that will automatically replace another. In reality, however, that's rarely ever true. Yes, patterns and habits change and there are shifts in rankings, but in most cases, the old will happily co-exist with the new. So, for now, the traditional media outlets that are supposedly on their last legs are still a great place to be and should be part of any advisor's PR efforts.