10 Myths About Public Relations: Busted (I'm #5)
March 12, 2021
PRontheGO: 10 Myths About Public Relations: Busted
We asked PR and growth experts: What are myths about Public Relations and common misconceptions amongst founders? What is myth, and what is reality? Here are the top 10 PR myths busted:
PR Myth #1 PR is just press releases.
Warren H. Cohn, Founder and CEO of HeraldPR:
“We have had many clients over the years who think that we just draft a couple of press releases and that will get them into the news. In reality, earning media coverage takes considerable effort and requires pitching the news story as if it was a sale, with the journalist being the buyer. Press releases are good for sharing events or big news and they have their place, but there’s no replacing strategically pitching journalists and leveraging relationships with the press to earn media coverage.”
PR Myth #2 PR makes you famous overnight.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls:
“There are no short cuts, getting great PR won’t make your company famous overnight, it takes time to build stories/establish credibility/ emotionally connect with audiences. The messaging must be authentic/relevant don’t be tone deaf or you risk diluting your brand. Green washing and woke washing will backfire today. The value of press and getting links is much bigger after the media hits since very few people see it in real time. There are so many media outlets today looking for fresh content so find creative ways to leverage your thought leadership.”
PR Myth #3 PR twists the truth in story telling
Jennifer L. Horspool, Owner at Engagement PR & Marketing:
“One of the most common myths I hear about Public Relations is that we’re “spin-doctors,” indicating we twist the truth in story telling. Nothing could be further from the truth in my practice and in every company I’ve ever worked for or done business with. The Truth: we do try to present our clients and their brands in the best light, and to do that, transparency and honesty is a must. No one wants egg on their face. It’s better to share bad news, apologize to those harmed — if harm was done or perceived to have occurred — show you care, and lay out a plan to right the wrong or put policies in place that minimize the wrong from ever happening again.”
PR Myth #4 You’re published because the PR is friends with the reporter.
Jonathon Narvey, Founder & CEO at Mind Meld PR Inc.:
“A very common myth: you get news coverage because you have relationships with reporters. Now, I’m not saying that never happens. But it does not guarantee news coverage. Let’s say you pitch a reporter. They happen to note it’s from your email address — and they know you. Great! You’ve just bought yourself an extra five seconds of extra consideration. But is your story actually newsworthy? Do they often cover this kind of topic? Have you fed them the exact information they need? If so, you can get the win, even if this is the first time you’ve ever pitched them.”
PR Myth #5 PR generates sales
Andrea McKinnon, Owner at AMcK PR, Inc.:
“Myth [and Reality] — PR generates sales. PR’s traditional function is not to increase sales through advertisements or paid marketing. Even though the gap between marketing and public relations overlaps now more than ever, they can work as a holistic and creative force in tandem. PR can result in sales when the brand is unique and press worthy, of course. A campaign that’s developed and executed well can be extraordinarily valuable [or it can do absolutely nothing] for the client’s bottom line. A sales and marketing strategy must be in place to capitalize on any PR successes, otherwise sales are not likely to happen.”
PR Myth #6 PR means posting about product benefits and advantages for free.
Elina Kochenko, PR specialist at Genesis Investments:
“PR reality: PR means getting free publicity for the expertise of founders, meaningful startup news, and emotional stories. Getting publicity for a product benefits alone is called an ad. And it’s not free. Of course, your product is the best and you know all its market advantages. But that cannot be the key message of the story in most cases. It always takes more than an awesome product to hook a journalist. You have to offer a story that hits trends or brings value to the reader. Example: Let’s imagine you are the founder of an EdTech start-up with an ecosystem of several apps for children. It would be a misconception to believe that many media outlets would be eager to write that parents should bring all the money to you right away because apps that you have are so fascinating. Mike Kotlov, who is the co-founder and CEO of entertainment & education platform IntellectoKids, shared an expert industry overview instead of just promoting his product. This is a good example of understanding that PR is not working as a tool to post ad-like content only for free. To get published with fascinating apps but without massive news behind them at the moment, you need to offer some extra value to the reader.”
PR Myth #7 Any press is good press.
Abby Herman, Director of Strategy at Snap Agency:
“There are a lot of myths surrounding all things PR, that range from “it’s expensive”, to “I don’t need a PR since I don’t have a story” One huge myth (and potentially harmful to your business) is “any press is good press”. This is not only not true and is also not good. A customer is more likely to spread how BAD your product or service is than how good it is. So if you get bad press, you will need to spend a lot of time on crisis management, or you will not have your brand and business damaged.”
PR Myth #8 Audience size is the most important factor.
Jakub Zajicek, Co-Founder & CMO at Speak On Podcasts:
“Podcast PR is becoming an increasingly more relevant strategy. Yet, the common misconception is that audience size is the most important factor — it’s not. What really matters is how relevant your message is to the listener. We experienced that speaking to an audience of just 300 of our ideal customers translated into more revenue than speaking to 10’s of thousands of people who weren’t the perfect fit.”
PR Myth #9 PR is for celebrities
Monika Bochenek, Public Relations & Marketing Manager at UWWWEB:
“One myth I am always faced with is that only businesses or individuals with “celebrity status” need public relations management or advice. This is completely untrue. In fact, the majority of individuals and/or businesses who should be seeking public relations management, are those with small and growing brands. Every dollar counts for individuals and businesses, big or small. Having a sector to public relations in a business gives customers a sense of trust, and builds credibility for your brand, without spending too much of your marketing budget. Public relations is not just about shedding light on big topics; public relations is about growing an image and creating trust. New and growing businesses can utilize public relations to bring them that ‘celebrity status’ level that everyone reaches for.”
PR Myth #10 Never pitch to a journalist on a Friday.
Karol Nowacki, Search Acquisition Manager at Tidio Chatbots:
“Modern PR is enveloped in myths of all kinds. While some do not present a big issue to companies, certain “fake tactics” should be avoided. One of the common misconceptions is “Never pitch to a journalist on a Friday”.. Our experience shows that it is indeed a myth — there are no bad days to pitch to journalists. In fact, Friday or the weekend is even better sometimes as there is much less competition in the journalists’ inboxes, which helps to jump the queue on a Monday morning!”
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