As an industry that almost seems like magic to some people, public relations suffers under the weight of certain misconceptions. People assume we’re always out on the town with a martini in one hand and our cell phone in the other, while the truth is usually way more boring; we’re stuck at our desk, cell phone in one hand and the mouse in the other (the martini has to rest by the mouse pad). Here are three other PR myths that need busting.
1. PR Stunts Are Always Good
The idea that one big public relations stunt will take care of all your PR needs stems from the idea that “there is no such thing as bad press.” While doing everything you can to get the word out about your company might seem like a good idea, it can often backfire horrifically.
Take for example the PR stunt orchestrated for the Adult Swim film “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.” Street teams went to different cities like New York City and Boston and distributed LED placards of one of the characters from the movie and TV show making an obscene gesture. The placards were placed in conspicuous areas, under bridges and such, presumably so when people did see them it made them notice.
Unfortunately, people in Boston did notice, and freaked out as they thought the placards were bombs! When the whole campaign imploded, Turner Broadcasting ended up paying $2 million for damages.
2. Ex-Journalists Make the Best PR Pros
It makes sense, right? A job in public relations takes a lot of understanding and command of writing, research, and communication, all of which is also present in the field of journalism. So why does it usually not work?
To sum it up, the command of skills is generally applied differently in the field of public relations as opposed to journalism. For one, having strong communication skills is essential for both. However, journalism is, for the most part, a one way street, where public relations requires a back and forth not usually found in the world of newspapers and CNN.
If you’re used to doing things one way, it’s really difficult to pull a 180 and do everything the complete opposite. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for a journalist to make a killer PR pro, but to automatically assume that the training in the journalism world will translate to the public relations world is a mistake.
3. Your Ad Agency Can Handle Your PR
Sure, being a PR pro takes a lot of creativity. It takes a lot of creative energy to know how to run a social media campaign, how best to handle unexpected backlash from the public, and when to switch gears when a campaign just isn’t working.
And that’s just it; it takes a lot of creative juice to do all that. Creative juice that an ad agency would probably rather spend thinking of creative ideas for an advertising campaign or commercial.
For the most part, creative agencies are like the journalists in our first example. They are accustomed to a one way form of communication, the art of the advertisement, of the message. Public relations pros must have skills to deal and communicate with the public, not just at them. Spend the extra dough to hire a separate group to handle your public relations so as not to stretch your poor ad agency too thin!
Share your favorite PR myth below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html