Sooooo what the heck is Public Relations really? It’s okay if you were wondering that because PR can be a difficult profession to explain. As your Communications Confidants™ at WordPop, we love clarifying challenging communications topics for you.
Here are some questions we often hear…Do you guys just send some emails and call it a day? Why can’t you call it all marketing? Is it really just like in the movies? Do you work with celebrities? Do you spin bad news all the time? These are all very valid questions so we decided to debunk a few of the myths we hear frequently about PR.
Myth: Public Relations is just a function of Marketing.
Though Public Relations and Marketing are related disciplines, they serve separate functions for an organization. Marketing is focused on selling a product or service, while Public Relations is more interested in developing the company’s overall reputation. PR generally focuses on relationship building and two-way communication between the organization and its audiences. Though these two disciplines sometimes overlap, PR also generally concentrates its efforts on unpaid channels.
Myth: Pitching is just sending a few emails to a few journalists.
While emails are certainly one aspect of this process, it entails much more than that. Pitching starts with searching through news sources to track down journalists who might be interested in the topic you’re pitching. Next, it’s important to personalize pitches to each individual that will be receiving them. Once this round of many emails is sent out, you need to follow up a couple of times over the next couple of weeks. Long story short, one news feature is often the product of many hours, weeks or even months of hard work!
Myth: Public Relations involves spinning the truth to make a company look better.
Spinning a story to improve a company’s image is not good practice in Public Relations. Spin is actually counter-productive because it severely damages the trust and organization has with their audience and the public.
Myth: Crisis communication is the main job of PR professionals.
While this can be one function of the job, and for some firms, their primary job, most PR professionals don’t focus on crisis communication day to day. For most, their daily tasks revolve around far more positive messages being distributed to their various audiences. No organization is immune to a crisis though and mistakes happen. In the event of a crisis it’s important to respond clearly and calmly. Take the time to put together a response team and a statement addressing the parties harmed. Audiences want to see organizations take responsibility for their mistakes and learn from them, so a large part of crisis communication, especially these days, revolves around implementing long-term change.
Myth: Public Relations is always oh so glamorous like in the movies.
PR certainly has its perks, however, it’s not glitz and glam a lot of the time. Most of our days are spent at our computers like this:
Or we might be spending hours upon hours writing copy for pitches or your website, working on talking points, managing your social media presence or conducting community outreach.
If you have any more questions about Public Relations please shoot us a message on Instagram @wordpoppr. We’d love to chat more about this topic and continue clarifying what we do!