From newspaper articles and reality TV shows to online blogs and social media campaigns, PR professionals across the globe are responsible for shaping almost everything we see in the media every day.
Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that there are many misconceptions or myths about this growing industry.
Here is a list of three of the most common PR myths:
Myth 1. PR is not the same as advertising or marketing
I’m sure I can speak on behalf of most other PR professionals in the industry – not many people understand what we do. When you tell people what you do for a living, they will usually say ‘oh, do you mean you’re in marketing/advertising?’
Although PR shares the same general goal as advertising and marketing – to promote a business’ product or services – each go about it quite differently.
PR focuses on promoting the public image of a company or an individual via ‘free’ or ‘earned’ editorial coverage. A PR agency will generate stories with the goal of them appearing in either traditional media platforms like newspapers, TV and radio, or newer media platforms like social media and blogs.
Advertising, on the other hand, focuses on getting paid coverage in the media, via print advertisements, TV commercials, signage and other paid placements on radio, blogs, websites and social media. Advertising agencies help companies come up with a concept or campaign and then arrange for the ads to appear in selected outlets.
Finally, marketing promotes a business by identifying the target audience and creating a marketing strategy that pulls together a mix of services including market research, sales, advertising, PR, graphic design and photography.
Myth 2. All publicity is good publicity
According to the popular adage, all publicity is good publicity.
I believe, however, this is untrue. There are many examples of businesses or individuals who have been hurt by negative publicity and have never recovered.
Bill Cosby was one of the USA’s most beloved comedians and actors until he became the subject of allegations of sexual abuse as early as 2000. As of September 30, 2015, Cosby has been accused by at least 54 women of either rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery and or sexual misconduct. Although he has never been charged and he has denied all allegations, his reputation has been severely impacted. He was dropped by his talent agency, many awards or titles he previously received have been revoked, reruns of his old TV show The Cosby Show have been pulled from syndication and numerous organisations have cut any ties with him.
Myth 3. PR is easy
Many business owners think that PR is easy. All they need to do is write a press release and journalists will be knocking at their door.
PR is more complex than that. It’s about building a strong brand by creating good relationships with the media, consistently writing and communicating effectively, understanding what makes a good story and having extensive knowledge of the industry.