You may not realize it, but you are exposed to the fruits of public relations every day, in every medium. From social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to traditional media like television, newspaper and radio, many of the pieces you enjoy are the direct result of a public relations professional doing her job. There are many misconceptions of public relations that the public takes as fact, but to be successful in PR, it’s important to separate the myths from the facts. Here are some of the top misconceptions that should be dissected.
It’s quick and easy.
Getting results overnight would not only be a great win, it would probably be incredibly cost effective. But, that reality is rarely the case. Often times organizations expect instant results – something similar to the “Oprah effect”. It’s important to set expectations with your team, and yourself, that slow and steady is the way to go to achieve quality results that will last.
PR and advertising are the same thing.
Public relations and advertising are under the same marketing umbrella, but are two very different tactics. Think of it this way – advertising is a first party approach to a conversation. The words that are shared come directly from the organization, therefore leaving customers often questioning motives. Public relations, on the other hand, comes from a third party voice. Knowing that a story was crafted from a neutral source provides it a credibility that money just can’t buy.
Any press is good press.
There’s an old saying, “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.” Hollywood icon George Cohan may have been seeing stars in his eyes when he said that, but it’s very clear he didn’t live in the paparazzi-crazed era. The idea being that any ink is good ink can be a losing strategy when the negative outweighs the benefit.
PR pros are spin-doctors.
The misconception that PR professionals are spin doctors is a tale as old as time. The idea that our beloved profession is all about trickery and deception, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our profession is about building relationships and telling effective stories. Much like the media, if we lose the public’s trust in our storytelling, then we lose all footing.
It’s all luck.
Those who are not in the industry may not understand the mass amount of work and effort behind each media pitch. From researching the outlets, finding the right media contact, drafting the pitch and engaging with the reporter, the work we do is far from just luck. The reality is that we strategize each element carefully so that everything that happens is not luck of the draw. If you know what you’re doing, securing results is made easier.
It’s a 9-to-5 job.
A PR professional’s job is never complete. Even when you’re home in the evenings, your brain is never completely turned off. Scanning social media or seeing a news report – your mind is always engaged dreaming up a new strategy.