The Most Common Myths About PR
Feb 20, 2019
Fans of HBO’s popular series “Sex and the City” may think that public relations professionals spend all their time planning big parties for celebrities — but that stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. The character in Sex and the City was a publicist, which is very different from what someone who works at an actual PR firm does from day-to-day. Publicists sell the sizzle. PR pros deliver the steak.
In real life, public relations is about creating long-term strategies directed by measurable objectives to help a client communicate clearly, consistently, and effectively with its target audiences. PR professionals are proactive problem solvers. They help clients build relationships with their publics, create a unique brand identity, and overcome a crisis when their reputation is threatened.
There are a lot of myths and stereotypes that create confusion about what public relations firms do or don’t do. At Pushkin PR, we try and break through that confusion by communicating clearly with our clients about the services we provide, and making sure we understand their expectations so we can deliver results above and beyond what they imagine or expect. We are a full-service PR firm in Denver that specializes in media and digital strategies, crisis management, and brand creation and implementation.
Common PR Myths
PR Is Marketing
If you own an HVAC company, for example, and want to get more leads for your business during the busy winter heating season, you’ll want to hire a marketing team. If your HVAC company has had a history of bad reviews, wants to establish an online presence, or increase brand awareness in the community, a PR firm will be more suited to your needs. The goal of marketing is to increase sales or leads, while public relations helps organizations understand and communicate their brand story in a way that is strategic, thoughtful and compelling. Marketing is about telling people how wonderful you are. Public relations makes people want to develop a relationship with you because you are so wonderful.
PR Firms Only Work With the Media
It is true that working with the media is one aspect of a PR strategy, but it can sometimes be a small part of the entire campaign. Pushkin PR does more than just writing press releases. We help clients organize conferences, build relationships with targeted media and build a strong connection between their brand and the audiences they want to reach. That can be done, in part, by working with and through the media, but there are many other ways we help organizations communicate.
PR Firms Can’t Measure Results
Unlike marketing, it is more difficult to measure the results of a PR strategy, but with the right strategy and the right public relations management, benchmarks can be created in order to evaluate growth and success. Media placements and social media statistics can be monitored in order to see the effectiveness of a campaign. PR agencies use a variety of tools to measure the impact of a campaign, but it starts by gaining a clear understanding of a client’s objectives so we can measure our results by whether or not we met our objectives. If you are not quite sure what you want to accomplish, Pushkin PR can help you define your objectives and develop a plan to meet them.
PR Firms Get Immediate Results
The rise of social media is creating a culture of instant gratification, but public relations is most effective when it is part of a long-term, sustained communications campaign. The best campaigns are strategic, not just tactical, and it is difficult to measure results after one press release or media placement. PR agencies help brands increase awareness by building relationships with the media and the audiences they are trying to reach. Anyone in a relationship knows that it takes time to establish the trust necessary for that relationship to be successful.
There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity
This is potentially the biggest, and most harmful, myth surrounding public relations. For example, at Denver-based Porter Adventist Hospital, between 2016 and 2018, patients may have been put at risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV because surgical equipment wasn’t being properly sterilized. The hospital without a doubt received “bad publicity,” and had to work very hard to rebuild their reputation long after it was badly damaged from all of the bad press. When a crisis happens, the onslaught of bad news and negative reviews is certainly not good for the organization. It results in a loss of trust among stakeholders, and regaining that trust can take a significant amount of time and money.
PR Professionals Are Spin Doctors
If you really want to insult a PR pro, call them a spin doctor. It’s like calling a real doctor a quack. Public relations professionals follow a strict code of ethics. We tell the truth, we conduct ourselves with integrity, we do not conduct campaigns that lie or mislead, and we don’t work for unethical clients. We are not politicians. We are not political campaign managers. We are not characters from Sex and the City.
If your business or organization needs a hard working Denver PR firm that is passionate about results, contact Pushkin PR. We’d love to talk with you about helping you gain awareness for your brand or manage a crisis you may be facing.
Jon Pushkin is the president and founder of Pushkin Public Relations, a full service Denver PR firm. He likes dogs, baseball and swing, in that order.