PR Misconceptions

It’s unsurprising that, having been heavily involved in the PR ‘game’ for more than a decade, I’ve come across my fair share of misconceptions about PR.  On occasion some take me a little by surprise, others make me despair!

First-things-first, let’s iron-out and reiterate why PR is by far one of the most effective weapons your business can deploy to generate awareness and ‘buzz’ about your brand/product, especially if budgets are limited!

1) PR can prove to be an economical way to reach a mass audience, stimulating awareness of - and demand for - your brand/products/services.

2) PR can aid the development of a stronger and more controlled image; since PR usually involves the media outlet covering a story, these ‘stories’ can long outlive the immediate impact of advertising for example.

3) PR can help create the perception that a company is active and on the move.

4) PR, or more specifically editorial coverage of your PR message, has up to 7x the credibility of advertising; editorial is conveyed and controlled by a third-party, in contrast to advertising - which is paid for and controlled by the company it’s for - and is therefore considered more ‘truthful’.

5) It provides an advantage over competitors who do not use PR effectively.

6) PR can increase search-engine visibility and organic results.

Now, let’s tackle some of the misconceptions…

PR is not something that can be measured and translated into direct sales, nor should any one particular media be discounted purely on the basis it hasn’t generated a direct result (such as a sale or enquiry).  PR is a long-term commitment and its primary purpose is to maintain image and generate awareness. 

When you receive a piece of editorial about your brand/product, it generates a level of credibility with the reader.  The higher they rate the media, the higher the perceived credibility of the brand/product.  For example, if you read about a ‘flying pig’ in a copy of the free local newspaper, you’d probably be far more cynical about the story than if you’d read it in, say, The Times national newspaper.   

Studies have proven that it will take a person on average, three times to see/hear a repetitive message before their conscious psyche recognises it and they subsequently begin to act on that message – again, this will also depend upon their own perception of the credibility of the media.

PR is an investment that takes time.  A media release doesn't generally get published the day after it's written.  Lots of time is spent writing material, developing media lists, and selling-in, prior to a 'story' hitting the headlines.

PR is not based on 'luck'! Chance favours the prepared mind, and timing can be controlled In public relations, marketing, promotion, and sales, timing is key: You succeed largely because you reach your media contact, target market, or prospect at just the right time, with the right story.