PR is PR, right? Well, yes… and no. While PR will always have the overall goal of building brand awareness, due to the evolution of the digital space over the last decade, there has been a big shift towards two types of PR – traditional PR and digital PR.

But what is the actual difference between the two? And how do brands decide what PR is best for them?

What is Traditional PR?

To put it simply, traditional PR is the PR people often think of when you say public relations. Think radio interviews, newspaper cuttings, magazine interviews and advertising. It’s the ‘bread and butter’ of the PR world and works across many outlets to help boost (and create) awareness for brands.

What is Digital PR?

Digital PR is still all about creating brand awareness, but using methods that reach audiences online. Closely linked with digital marketing, strategies and platforms such as social media, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are top of the priorities when it comes to digital PR.

What is a main difference between the two?

One of the key differences is that digital PR is never a standalone piece. For it to work well, it must be a big part of the overall digital marketing strategy – it’s never a solo act!

Whereas with traditional PR, there is scope for content to stand on its own (however, a 360 approach is always recommended!) Pieces such as a CEO interview in a national newspaper, or a radio interview with a case study, are all examples of traditional PR that can thrive as standalone pieces.

Anything else?

They both differ when it comes to measuring success. With traditional PR, there can never be a 100% guarantee on how many people may have read an article, seen a print advert or engaged with the content (but serves well in creating the overall buzz for a brand and can deliver key messages immediately).

However, with digital PR, it’s all about the numbers. Clearly trackable, it offers direct metrics which can help build the evaluation around a campaign. Data such as views, shares, engagement rates and web clicks all add up to show the responses that you’re receiving online.

What are the benefits of both?

Traditional PR is much more a one-way communication, meaning messages can be much more straightforward. Traditional media is also much more recognisable and has the ‘kudos’ that many clients and consumers value – such as broadsheet newspapers and glossy magazines endorsements that drive purchase or bookings.

It also helps humanise a brand by putting the people behind the brand in the spotlight for interviews, commentary and quotes.

Digital PR is highly shareable (with the scope to go viral!) and can help build your online presence, by boosting search rankings through tactics such as SEO and link building.

So, which one is right for my brand?

While online media dominates our everyday lives, it’s important to understand the balance between the two disciplines.

What’s right for you will depend on your overall business goals, strategy and what success looks like, but a combination of the two can achieve the best results (as long as done correctly).

Working with an expert or agency, who specialises in both, can help put you on the right track for you and your business. Get in touch to see how Palm can help you!