Public Relations is in need of some PR—myths about our field
By Tara Settembre, Account Manager, L.A.
Sure it’s funny, but contrary to popular belief, PR is not about “spin” like this cartoon and so many other comments suggest. When I see material like this it makes me realize just how much Public Relations, as an industry, needs PR and re-messaging of it’s own.
Point #1 PR professionals are not “publicists.” These are separate roles that serve separate functions. Public relations professionals engage in a wide range of communications strategies when representing client companies, including but not limited to messaging, analyst relations, speaking engagement arrangements and media relations. Publicists almost exclusively deal in media relations, usually managing the reputation of a single individual or small group.
Myth #2: Attention-getting gimmicks are part of PR. *sounds the no buzzer* Wrong! Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Debunk #3: We are not spin doctors or tellers of lies. I know that, in my career, I have never distorted the truth or told tall-tales on behalf of a client, or relayed fictitious messages – nor have any colleagues I’ve worked with.
Myth #4: The primary purpose of a PR professional is to write press releases. PR is much more than media coverage. Yes, press releases are important and they need written, but savvy PR generates attention by applying media strategy to the news world in a meaningful way. We proactively work to identify story ideas that penetrate our client’s audience in the most impactful and appropriate ways.
Myth #5: Marketing and Advertising agencies can easily do PR, or, PR is the same as advertising. Many agencies have tried, but very few succeed in offering these dual media services – PR requires a different skill set and approach. We are not customers of the media, nor do we buy paid-for media space. PR practitioners obtain coverage if it provides information that helps inform and educate readers, viewers and listeners.