“You work in PR? Total spin doctors!” “You must wine and dine clients all day and plan a ton of events.”
The list of common misconceptions could go on and on, and we’d be willing to bet every PR professional has heard so many of these at one time or another. While we do in fact plan events, entertain clients, and ensure we are telling the best story possible for the brands we represent – we also do so much more!
Out of all the misconceptions we’ve heard throughout our careers, here are five favorites that we love debunking:
- PR is all about working the media and securing placements
While writing press releases, pitching media and securing interviews for our clients is a significant part of PR, it’s not the only part. PR can also involve building out a client’s key messages that tell a story in a succinct manner, working with influencers, developing content like blog posts and byline articles, securing speaking opportunities at conferences and tradeshows, planning a grand opening or launch, and developing a philanthropy program. In reality, media relations is just one piece of the puzzle. A robust PR strategy will include multiple activities that help increase the brand recognition for a client. The key is to determine what will be impactful for that specific client and build a strategy around their ultimate communication and business goals.
- You must always do what clients want
We’ve heard this phrased “the client is always right,” and the truth is, sometimes they aren’t. Strong relationships are built on trust, accountability and clear communication – this is true between the PR professional and clients too! We all have our areas of expertise and it’s important for both sides to collaborate with each other. At The Power Group, we like to say “we are more than a vendor” as we strive to be true partners, immersing ourselves in a client’s business, culture and goals. The more we understand the end goals and have that seat at the table to collaborate, the better recommendations we can make and results we can obtain for our clients. Our team will always be honest and give clients our professional suggestions, even if we disagree.
- Great PR translates directly to sales
This is probably one of the most common misconceptions we hear. While yes, PR can translate directly to sales, it’s not always a clearly drawn line between the two. For example, we have had an IT firm client mention a new prospect called the company because they saw the story in the Dallas Business Journal that our agency secured about its new office space. Now while we would love to hear that all of the time, rarely does a prospect tell the client exactly what made them decide to purchase. Instead, consider how it sometimes takes multiple times of seeing a product before buying it. Good PR is getting in front of those decision makers often and on the right platforms to ensure the company stays top of mind with their ideal target audience.
- Good products are easy to pitch and don’t really need PR
When a product or brand has a compelling story to tell, that is always a plus! However, this does not necessarily make telling its story easier. Every market is highly saturated and even the best products have multiple competitors who are vying for interest from the same reporters, that same influencer to promote the brand, and that end consumer who will ultimately purchase the product over another. The truth is, PR professionals work hard to secure those coveted spots and “wins” for clients. Additionally, without key media coverage, influencer partnerships and social media, no one will know about your amazing product. Consumers buy from brands they trust, which means it really starts with PR to build awareness and trust in the marketplace.
- PR is a nice-to-have, not a must-have
Every company’s end goal is to sell a product or service, and we understand that. We know the end goal isn’t to have that perfect blog or influencer post. However, PR should be a critical piece of a company’s overall business strategy, along with sales, marketing, operations and customer service activities. One analogy that helps paint the picture (for all of us visual learners out there!) is to think about making a fire. You need a solid foundation for it to sit on, sticks and logs to build it, as well as a match to start it. Now you can start it with just a match, it just may take forever to catch and burn significantly. However, if you throw some lighter fluid onto it, the flames will shoot up – PR is that lighter fluid that helps a company burn bright and can propel a business forward!
Now tell us – what are other misconceptions about PR that you’ve heard (or perhaps believe)? We’d love to hear from you and assist in debunking any others! If you’re interested in learning more about our PR services and discussing how we can help your business, we’d love to chat.