The field of public relations has long been misconstrued as one filled with spin doctors, celebrity publicists, and thrusting otherwise ordinary individuals into the inescapable view of the public eye. However, what many onlookers do not know is that public relations is largely centered around communication, research, crafting creating strategies, and hours of tireless planning.
Furthermore, public relations practitioners must possess the ability to evaluate the public’s attitudes, identify the individual or organization’s mission and objectives, and create strategies that fully represent those values and achieve their goals.
Seeing as there is much more to public relations than many would typically think, let us take the time to address some other pervasive customer misconceptions about the field.
The right relationships can get us any coverage we want
Although relationships are extremely helpful in this realm, they operate the same as they would in other industries — in that they exist to help each party do business more effectively. For instance, journalist will only give a public relations professional the time of day when they can provide an exclusive, high-quality story that would be mutually beneficial to pitch to an editor. Therefore, these relationships are highly conditional and are not meant for getting eyes on otherwise uninteresting and low-quality content.
Public relations professionals can get journalists interested in me and/or my business
Along the same vein, it is important to remember that journalists are incredibly busy individuals, constantly sifting through countless stories to fill, at most, one to three spots per day. Therefore, even if your recent story, triumph, or launch is perfectly phrased and pitched to the right people, it still may be overlooked by a number of journalists who simply do not have the time to work on the piece.
The right PR can land me a featured profile or contributor spot in my favorite publication
While editors value pushing out non-news stories, journalists often stick to reporting on hard news, as it is often urgent and important for the public to know. Therefore, it is important to bury some non-news stories into pieces that encompass rare or important events.
For instance, you would likely see greater success by wrapping your featured profile into a story about your startup obtaining unicorn-level funding, as this is a rare feat that many companies do not achieve. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself disappointed when your pitch gets passed over for a more pertinent story.
The list of misconceptions about public relations could go on and on. However, now that we have highlighted some of the biggest misunderstandings, it is important to drive home the most important point: Trust the process. You are working with one or more experts who have your best interest and mission at heart. Although you may not see the exact outcomes you desire, you will certainly get closer to reaching your goals than you ever would have on your own.