As influencer marketing continues to rapidly grow, there’s no question that it has become a powerful and critical marketing resource to brands across consumer and hospitality industries today. As influencers take a bigger role in marketing and earned media campaigns, when should traditional media continue to play a role in driving successful and impactful PR results?  

Lights, camera, exposure!  

When considering whether influencers or traditional media will offer your brand more exposure, there isn’t always a direct answer—it’s dependent on your budget, timing and goals. Remember, exposure (how much a brand is seen by consumers) leads to brand awareness (familiarity consumers have with your product or service). When a high level of brand awareness is achieved, consumers keep your brand top of mind for their next purchase, giving your brand a competitive edge. While there are many types of publications that will offer varying degrees of visibility, traditional media tends to reach a broader audience as many influencers are typically confined to their current followers. If your primary objective is gaining brand exposure and you’re not willing to pay top dollar for large-scale influencer campaign, traditional media is the way to go. 

Who can you trust?  

When it comes to building trust with consumers, influencer marketing has the upper hand. According to Matter findings, 69% of consumers trust influencers, friends and family over information coming directly from a brand. A Pew Research study found that nearly four out of ten social media users said content creators influence their buying decisions. As social media continues to integrate itself deeper into the lives of consumers, influencers have become the new online BFF. Despite the parasocial relationship, influencers are viewed as personable and the relationship is often seen as comparable to an in-person connection. If your goal is increasing recognition of your particular product/service, influencer marketing is a good path to consider. That said, if you have a small business that only offers your product or service locally, traditional media can be an excellent option as local news audiences are often looking to learn more about new experiences and offerings around their city. 

What story are you trying to tell?  

At the heart of every successful media strategy is a good story. As PR professionals, our job is to help brands identify their story, build it and ensure the right people and publication tell it. Whether you have a fascinating brand history, an unusual product development journey or something else about your company that’s entirely unique, it’s important that your story is told in an accurate and compelling way. Unlike most influencers, journalists and reporters are storytelling professionals and eager to speak about your perspective. You can trust them to tell your story in a way that’s factual and persuasive. Traditional media is where storytelling thrives—and that won’t be changing anytime soon.  

At the end of the day, PR success can be achieved in many ways—including strategies outside of traditional media and influencer marketing. The best PR strategies implement a combination of tactics to achieve success and it’s common to blend strategies like influencer marketing and traditional media outreach to secure the best possible results.