6 Misconceptions About Public Relations

As a PR pro, I’ve worked in numerous industries, including professional sports, nightlife, entertainment, hospitality, real estate, fashion, technology … and the list goes on. One common thing remains regardless of your clientele – no one truly seems to understand how public relations works unless they’ve actually worked in the field. In my experience, there are six key misconceptions about public relations and I’d like to set the record straight.

Public Relations Is Glamorous

Society has painted a portrait of PR pros since the beginning of time as partygoers and socialites. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing experiences working in this field. I’ve helped run celebrity red carpets, fashion shows and media pits for international artists. What you may not see is the dirty work it takes to get there. Cue the time I was in a dress and heels, crawling on all fours so I could tape down media spots on said red carpet. I’ve also worked a week straight of 20-hour days for a festival. And I still have flashbacks from being woken up at the crack of dawn to inform me of a crisis and racing to my client to help keep the media at bay. Just remember, all the “glamour” comes with just as much grit.

Working in public relations can, in fact, be glamorous. But, you will also find yourself in the weeds, grinding to get the job done. 

PR Is a Quick Fix

Clients often think that PR is the “quick fix” to their problem. Whether it be low ticket sales, lack of new business leads or building awareness for a new venue in town, they all seem to think that one press release will fix their problems overnight. The reality is, PR takes time and hours of hard work. Results often aren’t immediate and one news hit won’t turn your business around. Our work can have major benefits for your organization, but it requires building relationships with the media and your audience. This process requires patience and consistent effort.

You Don’t Need PR Pros When You Have a Marketing Team

People tend to think that PR and marketing are interchangeable terms. While both disciplines want to help move the needle, they do so in vastly different ways. Marketing is traditionally focused on paid initiatives that are sales or revenue driven with the ability to hit trackable goals. PR is about earned media – or nonpaid exposure – that tells your story, connects you with your audience and builds brand awareness. At BIG YAM, we believe you need both to truly be successful. Still confused? Check out BIG YAM PR Account Manager Amber’s blog where she breaks down the difference between PR and marketing.

You Only Need PR in Times of Crisis

I can’t tell you how many times a client has come to an agency when it’s already too late. When business is good, leadership teams can start to let their guard down and ride out their success. Then, when a crisis hits their company, they come running to the PR pros to save the day. While crisis communications is a big part of what we do, it is most effective when plans are set in place long before trouble starts brewing. The PR industry prides itself on its ability to adapt and move quickly. However, we are limited if you only come to us as a reactive solution instead of a proactive one. Check out a post we wrote last year to learn more about crisis communications clients and how we can help them.

Once You Have PR Support, It’s No Longer on Your To-Do List

Any client-agency relationship requires just that – a relationship. It’s a two-way conversation that takes constant communication. Here at BIG YAM we tell all potential clients two things:

  1. We won’t pretend to know your business better than you do.
  2. We are an extension of your team.

This means we are here to help you as a part of your team – not an independent entity that removes all responsibility. You are an expert at what you do, just as we are at what we do. Together we can reach your goals. If you don’t have the ability to dedicate time and resources to the relationship, neither of us will be successful.

Coverage Is Guaranteed

It’s nice to know that clients think we have so much power when it comes to media coverage. Unfortunately, we don’t. Unlike with advertising, your story isn’t guaranteed a spot in that national publication or a news segment on your local NBC affiliate. We do our best to get our clients the coverage we know they deserve, but there are circumstances we can’t control. For example, I’ve had a client’s live news segment bumped because of a security issue at Sky Harbor Airport. Imagine standing onsite with a client and getting that phone call from the news station – talk about wanting to crawl into a hole and hide. We also can’t regulate when they cover your story or what they say about you. It’s our job to provide the media with everything they need, but at the end of the day, only they have a say about what gets published.

Misconceptions About Public Relations Debunked

Hopefully I’ve been able to help debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the field of public relations. If you still aren’t convinced, or just want to learn more about our PR team’s capabilities, check us out here: https://bigyam.com/capabilities/pr-social/ 

If you’re ready for a strategic communications plan or want to learn more about PR, marketing or social media and what your company really needs, contact us today.