By Alex Miarli:
There are a lot of misconceptions about PR and what it actually means.
You find yourself being asked the same questions from friends, prospective clients and acquaintances you meet while waiting at the nursery drop-off point (or is that just me?).
So, we thought it was time to act. Just like Adam and Jamie from the classic show ‘MythBusters’ used to tackle the most outrageous yet commonly believed untruths, we’re going to root out some of the widespread misunderstandings we often come across… I guess with just a lot fewer explosions. I’ll try to keep the puns though!
In no particular order, let’s dive in.
1). PR is just about getting media coverage
PR being solely about media coverage is our first myth.
While media attention is important, PR is so much more than that. It’s about managing relationships with key stakeholders, handling a crisis when needed, engaging with audiences with great stories and most importantly, it’s about building and maintaining a brand’s reputation.
It’s a multi-faceted discipline that goes beyond just securing media coverage… But yes, a well-placed article is often one of the key things an agency can deliver.
2). PR is just marketing
We get this a lot.
No. PR is not just marketing. While it may share some similarities, PR requires a very different set of skills.
In essence, marketing is focused on promoting products or services to generate sales, while PR is centred on managing a reputation, telling stories that excite, building key relationships and creating a positive image for an individual or organisation.
PR can put a brand on a buyer’s radar, while marketing can convert that awareness and affinity into a lead or a sale.
PR people are like Jedi, manoeuvring things into the right place with unseen forces ready for their marketing colleagues to finish the job.
3). PR results happen instantaneously
People often think results will happen immediately after initiating a PR campaign or pushing a thought leadership piece.
In reality, PR is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and patience… I wasn’t kidding about the traits of a Jedi here! Securing media coverage in one industry-specific outlet is a great first step, but it’s just that – a first step. PR strategies often involve a series of actions over time, like a slowly dripping tap that eventually fills a bath. PR is all about the cumulative impact on reputation and visibility. This can take years.
After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
4). PR is only for big companies
PR is incredibly valuable for companies of all sizes, not just large corporations. Small businesses, start-ups, non-profits and even individuals can all reap the benefits from PR. Put simply, PR is the relationship of a company with the audience. If you’re looking to raise awareness about your business, manage your reputation or connect with your target audience, then PR professionals are the proverbial droids you’re looking for (did I mention I’m a Star Wars fan?).
And look no further than the best damned virtual PR agency in the UK to help you on your journey. Unbiased opinion, of course.
5). Big publications are all that matter
We’ve heard it all before…
“Just get it into the Times, no?” or “The Daily Telegraph is all that matters, I want to get into that.”
In the past, major media outlets used to be the gateway to a wider business audience. But times have changed. Independent publications and podcasters wield substantial influence with engaged and specific audiences.
Legacy media may still hold sway, sure, but they’re not what they used to be. Smaller publications continue to grow, as they focus on offering audiences valuable and niche information. Collaborating with them often results in more personalised, in-depth coverage. And in our current landscape, "this is the way".
Star Wars references aside, what’s worth remembering is that PR is a dynamic and multifaceted field that involves insight, strategic planning, storytelling, tactical expertise and adaptability.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is no myth.