Are Online Placements More Valuable Than Print?
By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | July 24, 2011
You remember those days. Your hotel made it on the front page of the daily newspaper, or scored an awesome feature in a prestigious glossy travel publication. You ordered tons of hard copies and sent them along with personalized notes to your repeat guests. You laminated copies of the article to place in fancy frames all around the hotel, and your office. You added copies to your press kit and send off to media to generate more interest. It worked like a charm for new marketing and sales opportunities.
Well, those golden days of print are gone. Yes, gone and disappeared for good. Go ahead and mourn it if you like.
We can finally say that the dust has begun to settle after social media took over the publishing industry and caused its major shakeout. The world of publishing has been reshaped and is now in the process of adjusting to the almighty digital space. Up until five years ago, print ruled the PR world. For hotels, PR meant bringing in reviewers, facilitating fam trips for media, organizing events, writing traditional press releases, announcements, giving tours, and talking to reporters who wrote the stories.
These days, everyone and anyone can be a writer and a reporter. With social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and so on) enabling citizen journalism, PR folks had to slowly get accustomed to talking directly to the audience, bypassing the media. People who have access to a computer and internet can become the journalists. PR folks have had to learn to change their language and their toolbox since they no longer speak to journalists who write for traditional media outlets. It's been a heck of a transition from print to online, to social media – and beyond.
But, like any crisis, this too has taught hotels how to value placements in today's digital space, where terms such as "level of engagement," "number of likes," "followers," "post quality," matter more than the traditional measurement tools of the overplayed column inches and inclusion of photo in the print article.
Online has conquered print. Or, rather, it has made print immortal. With the dust settling in publishing, we understand that online reading versus print reading offer two very different experiences. It's one thing to read news on a computer or mobile device. People get easily distracted when reading an article online, filled with links and information to side-track them. They aren't necessarily focused on reading that one article, and more like to get distracted by curiously clicking on an embedded link that will take them to another page. Reading and searching online becomes a chain reaction. And that's the idea. Sharing content over and over, while engaging with that content is what online media outlets offer. Social media come in to help promote and share that content. Think of online sharing as a digital word of mouth, where people write articles and talk to the world about their experience, positive or negative, and opening it to commentary to their network and beyond.