We may not realize it but we are exposed to some form of public relations and communications every day and throughout the day.
If you start your day watching one of the morning talk shows, guess what. Other than their news coverage, just about every guest and every topic discussed on the show was “pitched” to the show’s producers by someone in PR.
Of course, not every guest or topic is accepted, but the producers depend on these pitches to fill that two hours with interesting guests and topics five or more days per week.
Articles in many trade journals and spots on the radio are handled the same way. Content is king and it comes from PR.
But as widespread as PR and communications are and how big a role they play in our lives, there are a lot of assumptions made about the industry and the practice. Below are five of the most common:
Some Press is Better than No Press
Myth: At one time, celebrities and organizations were not that concerned about being mentioned in the press. The belief was that any press was better than no press. Just get the name spelled right. Well, that may have been the view a century ago but certainly no longer. Most brands and celebrities are very concerned about the quality of their news coverage. Large companies use technology to tell them anytime they are mentioned anywhere in the world. That’s how concerned they are.
Press Releases are Powerful
Leaning toward a myth: Press releases have lost their impact. Just 20 years ago when we were dependent on a limited number of news and media sources, yes, they were powerful. But that impact has declined over the years. Should you still send out press releases? Yes, but it is best to use them when you really do have news to report—in other words, use them sparingly.
PR is Just Another Form of Advertising
Myth. Advertising can be very effective to show end-customers a product and provide a brief discussion of its features and benefits. But PR takes it to the next level. It’s all about discussing those features and benefits in detail and showing the value of the product. Advertising can rarely do that.
A Small PR Firm Can Be More Effective than a Large Firm
True: Nothing against large PR firms and of course many are excellent, but they often are involved with all types of clients in a variety of industry sectors. It can be hard for them to really focus on just one industry sector and get to know it inside and out. Look at it this way. If you had cancer, would you want to see a cancer specialist or go to a general practitioner? I think we all know the answer to that. Smaller firms typically focus on one or two industry sectors and get to know them thoroughly.
The Effects of PR Can’t Be Measured
True. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a quick return on your investment, you will find it is very hard to determine whether a PR and communications program has worked. However, if you take a long-term view, the benefits and the return on the investment come into focus and often are very significant. PR is a journey, and the more consistent it is and the longer it goes, the more effective it tends to be.