Standing the Test of Time

By Scott Signore

I’m subscribing to Time magazine, again. I am an avid fan. I love the snapshots of timely news complemented by insightful feature stories. I like the balance of world news and localized human interest pieces, and I absolutely love the Light Box. As the picture below of me reading Time when I was eight years old may suggest, I’ve been a fan for a while now.

Giving Time – or any other hard copy news magazine – a flip through is an instant and valuable reminder of how our challenge as PR professionals is to expand our respective areas of expertise as new technologies arise. Our obligation is to embrace new channels that connect our clients with their key audiences. We need to be strategically minded PR resources who can think comprehensively when it comes to the tools and tactics that can be leveraged to get the word out.

Comprehensively means telling a story by traditional and social media, and visually by leveraging video and graphic design technologies and services. While you can be an expert in any one category – and many professionals earn a good living being exactly that! – we are required be on top of new technologies as they are born, while still maintaining a knowledge and understanding of existing channels. While executing a smart and savvy social media strategy is hugely valuable for a key client, it shouldn’t happen at the expense of the other tactics that support the overall communications program.

We shouldn’t – can’t, really! – adopt new channels at the expense of the strategies, methods and outlets that have served us well in the past. They were (and continue to be) successful for a reason, and are still embraced as effective and impactful avenues, so we shouldn’t ignore them. There are examples in social media as well. Some brands and their PR teams may be quick to adopt new platforms for communicating with users, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube remain tried-and-true networks for their messages and shouldn’t be disregarded for the newest fad in social media.

Time is the ideal example that proves this point. It’s been in print since 1923 and has adapted to changing trends over the years. But it remains focused on delivering news the way its readers want, rather than in the newest, trendiest way possible. This balanced approach of tradition and listening to its readers has driven the publication’s growth, relevance and popularity in an era where other media outlets are struggling. As PR pros, we have the same responsibility to our clients: to find the ideal mix of new and traditional communications strategies for success.

It’s good to have Time back on the living room table, and good to be reminded that we are charged with embracing new channels as they are born – and similarly expected to maintain expertise in proven methods that generate results.