Traditional vs Digital PR: which is right for your brand?

At Red Marlin we’re often asked how we can help a business to boost its success. While many companies have already decided that they need to invest in their marketing and PR activity, there are multiple options available when it comes to choosing the best methods for you.

The PR toolkit has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. The main reason for this is the huge growth in digital media. While many PR professionals used to focus primarily on print media, there are now multiple digital and online formats to consider, making it a much bigger job, but also opening up many more opportunities.

However, both traditional PR and digital PR are still valuable routes, but which is best for your business?

Traditional PR – what is it?

Traditional PR relates to media such as printed magazines, newspapers, specialist publications, television and radio. Think of it as the media before the internet boom.

While some might assume that this method is outdated, traditional PR is still a hugely powerful tool. For example, featuring in a news report on television or radio reaches huge audiences via a platform that is widely known and trusted.

Similarly, a feature about your business in a respected print magazine has huge gravitas and can position your brand on front pages and leading news pages for maximum impact.

Niche and specialist magazines and publications, such as the trade press focused solely on your company’s industry, can be the ideal platform for news and features on your product or service. This focussed audience means more bang for your buck and the perfect fit for your PR and marketing efforts and budget.

Traditional PR – the benefits

  • Affordability. Traditional PR can much more affordable than traditional advertising. While advertising in print media is today generally expensive, a news story developed by your PR team can appear free of charge alongside a competitor’s advert that could have cost them hundreds or thousands of pounds, depending on the publication.
  • Credibility. A news story in written by a journalist and published in a respected magazine has higher credibility than coverage paid for by a brand. This independent credibility is at its height in national newspapers and influential publications.
  • Visibility. Traditional PR is generally more selective. This is a good thing as there’s less space compared to the infinite World Wide Web, making press coverage in traditional media more visible.
  • Reputation. Many long standing publications and news outlets have their foundations in traditional media and their ongoing presence comes with loyal, dedicated readers who trust what they read.
  • Duration. Press coverage in a print magazine has a longer lifetime than digital media. A monthly magazine for example is likely to stay in readers’ hands for weeks rather than a social media post while has a lifetime of just minutes of days.

Digital PR – what is it?

Digital PR is the media landscape since the internet gave us a multitude of online news websites, social media platforms, forums, blogs, video hosting, online magazines and other channels.

This offers a huge amount of choice when it comes to building an online presence. For example, social media is now essential for most businesses and enables companies to communicate with their customers in an authentic, direct manner which they control themselves. Successful social media profiles can garner large customer bases which allow a business to stay front of mind and secure brand loyalty.

Online news channels and online magazines are viewed by hundreds of thousands of people browsing the internet at any time of day or night. Appearing on these channels can have a significant impact on your brand awareness.

Video. One of the most highly consumed mediums of media, video is still growing in popularity due to its easy to consume and engaging format. Video usually performs much better than written text for achieving views and engagement.

Digital PR – the benefits

  • Mass exposure. The internet is near infinite and has millions of users per day. This means there’s no limit to who can see your online coverage, removing the limitations of printed magazine circulations, which can result in higher audience reach.
  • Shareable. Online content can be shared via instant messaging, social media and other means, meaning the number of people who see it can multiple across platforms.
  • Measurable. Digital marketing comes with a huge benefit which is that it’s possible to measure its success and ROI. While it’s very difficult to trace how many people have seen an article in a print magazine, website visits and clicks can be revealed at the click of a button.
  • Clever tech. Tracking might sound sinister, but the ability to follow your website visitors around the internet and keep showing them reminders of your brand is common practice and effective.
  • Google power. Whenever your business appears online it will most likely be picked up by search engine bots, creating an archive of easily sourced articles, mentions and references for anyone searching for your company. This establishes and builds your online presence and reputation in your marketplace.
While both traditional and digital PR offer benefits, in most cases it’s a mixture of both which forms an effective strategy.
If you’d like to be doing any or all of the above, get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to talk about your business objectives and appropriate PR strategy. Call us on 01926 832395 or email

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