Digital Thought leadership?

So I was flicking through the PR Week Thought Leader series on Digital PR yesterday. Nodding in sage agreement with some of the opinions expressed one moment, only to then have to repress my social-media-gibberish induced tourettes the next.  As it was a pay-to-play supplement some of articles were not quite as unbiased as I’d like about the future and what brands should do, but all in all it was a highly entertaining read.

It was only today when I picked it up again in a spare moment that I actually bothered to read the intro and my heart truly sank. As I keep banging on about mentioning occasionally, I really think that we’re not doing the PR industry, or the benefits social media can bring to us and our clients, any good by continuing to overhype its true capabilities and costs.

So comments such as:

Digital is cheaper than paper.  It is quicker than paper. And much of the content can be generated by the communities that the media serves.

From the editor of our industry’s foremost trade publication, really aren’t going to help.

A few of the articles mentioned how cost effective digital PR is, which to be honest is balls. Admittedly a lot of tools are free, but to really get something snazzy happening, be it content creation, monitoring or outreach programmes, then costs are going to creep up and the time element just gets larger too. Plus we don’t actually pay for paper, that would be advertising he’s thinking off or perhaps direct marketing.

Digital is definitely more immediate than paper, but a digital campaign takes just as much time and effort to create as a purely offline one so its not necessarily quicker. And really, ppl still that their customers are dying to spend their spare time creating content for a brand for nothing?

I can understand why ppl are pushing digital PR as being cheap, quick and dirty. In the current climate we need to keep clients interested and telling them that the latest thing is more ‘cost-effective’ can seem like a good idea, but we’re only hurting ourselves in the long run. Working digitally is brilliant, it can reach the niche audiences that make a difference, but it needs to be part of a holistic marketing approach.

If we undersell our digital services just as we tend to undersell our traditional services, we will only end up continuing the trend for overservicing  and giving our industry an even harder time in what looks set to be bleak couple of years ahead.

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