David Grant
David Grant

For several years now, pundits have been saying that the vast growth of social media has resulted in the death of traditional public relations – i.e., the practice of arranging for articles to appear in traditional old-fashioned media (OFM), such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

The reality is quite different, however. Yes, social media has become a very significant force in the world – often in ways very beneficial indeed. At the same time, however, more and more people are becoming disenchanted with the blather to be found on social media.

I myself got off Facebook five minutes after I read a post that said, “Going to sleep.” I was of course fascinated to know that one of the 137,614,119 people on Facebook had decided to go to Dreamland; after all, who wouldn’t be intrigued to learn that? But it presently occurred to me that, gee, we all of us do go to sleep, and so this kind of dazzling information wasn’t sufficiently intriguing for me to continue to read posts on my Facebook account. What’s more, posting praise of oneself on social media doesn’t exactly instill enormous confidence in the reader.

Ah, but that creates a great social-media opportunity for those who are eager to be quoted in OFM – people who realize that a highly regarded medium provides the kind of remarkable credibility that can rarely be achieved via social media. And once your name appears in the publication of your dreams (be it The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or whichever publication will do you best), you will be wise to link that article to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Three examples:

The Real Deal article

While working for a New York City bank, we learned of an unusual commercial mortgage made by the bank. The loan enabled the owners of a chain of cabaret/sports bars to refinance property for an expanded location near Madison Square Garden. Recognizing that a mortgage secured by property serving as a men’s entertainment venue is one that no conventional lender would be likely to make, we seized the opportunity to spotlight our client’s niche lending capabilities. Both the New York Post and The Real Deal ran stories about the transaction, leading to new business for the bank.

The owners of a new high-rise apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan retained us to increase the visibility of the property. After meeting with the client, we were able to place the client in “The Hunt’ column of the New York Times. In addition, our client was interviewed by the reporter for an online video that appeared on New York Times.com. The article and video produced just what the client wanted. A prospective home buyer had been searching for his dream property for over a year. After reading the Times article, he made an appointment to visit the sales center that weekend – and bought an apartment in seven figures.

A great placement for a client can sometimes lead directly to new business. After several discussions with Crain’s New York Business about a feature profile on my client (a construction firm), an editor there finally agreed to assign a writer. The piece that ran prompted one former client who recalled a good experience with the client to re-hire them - on the spot! In addition, when my client’s president was speaking to another prospect, the prospect said he had just read the Crain’s piece, and he too proceeded to hire the firm. Several other leads related to the Crain’s story turned into new business as well for the client as well.

Those three clients posted the articles on their social media feeds. Not surprisingly (to me), they all reported excellent responses to that publicity. Indeed, in a couple of cases, they led to new business for the clients.

In short: by all means, become more engaged with social media. But when you do, do it wisely. Let it capture what is being said about you by reputable journalists.

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David Grant is President of Grant PR in New York City.