As you can imagine, having worked in Public Relations for the past 14 years I have heard people say many things about the industry and the people who work in it. Here are some of my favourite misconceptions about the wonder world of what we call PR
PR and Advertising are the same
If I had a pound for every time somebody said “I don’t need any help with PR as I already advertise” I would definitely be a lot richer than I am now. Whilst PR and advertising do inhabit the same ballpark they are not the same. Put simply with advertising you are paying to tell the world about how great your business or product is, with PR a third party is telling everybody how great you are.
PR people twist the truth
This is a common one. People believing that the job of a PR is to make something bad look good. Whilst PR can help if you’re in a crisis to make sure you present your business in the best light and get the relevant messages out there, we are not there to lie. If we lie it defeats the object of what we are trying to do, if we tell the world that a really bad product is great, we’ll soon get found out and the client will soon lose business.
It’s super glamorous
Personally I blame 90’s comedy Absolutely Fabulous for this one. Whilst I love the programme I can only wish that my career had been spent at parties, swigging Bollinger, jet-setting and looking glamorous. The reality is much of it has been spent having early mornings, late nights, missing out on doing things because I am having to work at client events and spending lots of time in hotels alone. Luckily I love the work but can promise you that if glamour and being able to enjoy long boozy lunches is what you’re looking for in a career, PR isn’t for you.
My Business is doing well – I don’t need publicity
This is the one I understand least because Coca-cola, McDonalds, Apple,Virgin and numerous other companies are doing really well and I can guarantee they all have a strong PR team behind them all the time.
Saving PR for bad products or when business isn’t going well is not an ideal strategy. In an ideal world PR should be a constant on-going resource that you are making use of, I don’t mean sending out a press release every week, I mean managing how the public perceive you on an on-going basis, helping you raise awareness and assisting you in not only look after your current client base but helping you tap in to that audience that don’t yet even know they want what you’re offering.
We’ve had publicity for A,B,C we’ll be in touch when we do X,Y, Z
This is way too common. Businesses launch a product or event and want help with the PR of it, they get in the news, get a following and then end all PR saying they have something else coming up in six months and will be in touch then. In the meantime they may not be doing any PR, marketing or getting people talking about them, so in six months time when it’s time for the next big thing it’s like starting all over again.
Put simply your PR should be consistent and on-going not a hive of activity for short periods and then nothing. People are saturated with information in the press, on social media etc so you need to be popping up all the time to stay at the forefront of their minds.
PR doesn’t work
Just because your business isn’t in the media every week doesn’t mean PR doesn’t work. It’s not all about making headlines. Similar to the previous topic PR is about being consistent it’s like any other area of your business there needs to be a strategy and on-going work to ensure you get the best PR for your business.
Or in some situations it has been in it may not be working as the company isn’t taking the advice of the PR person they have employed. On more occasions than I care to remember I have advised people and then when the advice hasn’t been taken told it hasn’t worked. If you’re going to employ a PR person remember you’re employing them for their expertise so make sure you use it. You know your business and they know theirs.
If you’re an SME considering adding PR to your marketing mix take a minute to have a look at our website Beck and Call PR