The Biggest Misconception About PR
Whitney Lee | True Story Public Relations
Many people want to work in public relations because they think it will be a fun career. It’s no wonder, with TV shows and movies often portraying a career in PR as days spent in a fancy office and nights spent rubbing elbows with celebrities. Fans of the hit TV show Sex and the City may think of the character Samantha Jones, because she worked in PR and had a glamorous life full of fancy parties and martinis.
Some outsiders of the industry may even have a distrust for PR professionals. People with this perspective could have been burned by someone in PR before, or they may not even understand what PR actually means.
When educating others on what PR really is, it can be helpful to first communicate what PR is NOT.
– PR is NOT marketing. Marketing focuses on SALES.
– PR is not driven by immediate results or ROI. Many times it’s a long play.
– PR is not party planning or event planning. PR is more about getting the message OUT.
So, what IS PR?
Public Relations is the use of strategic communication to build or maintain reputation and exposure. PR can be further broken down into pillars such as media relations, reputation management, exposure, and strategic partnerships.
Media Relations: Delivering important messages to media outlets so that it may be further distributed to the public resulting in increased exposure. Media relations may include creating and distributing press releases, pitching for editorial coverage, formulating responses that represent a brand when media professionals present questions, and building and maintaining relationships with media professionals so they have a dependable source for stories and information.
Reputation Management: Protecting or enhancing a brand’s reputation by improving audiences’ opinions through strategic communication and partnerships. Reputation management may include constructing crisis communication responses, monitoring and responding to online reviews and comments, and proactive reputation building through campaigns that reflect brand values.
Exposure: Increasing a brand’s presence and awareness with audiences through deliberate campaigns intended to draw attention. Building exposure may include initiating social media campaigns, hosting event launches, word of mouth through industry professionals, creating strategic partnerships, and media coverage.
Partnerships: Collaborating with brands or people that share an ethos or target market in order to support a brand’s desired reputation and increase exposure. Partnerships may include creating joint offerings with other brands, collaborating with influencers, sponsoring events or digital initiatives, or supporting a cause.
Ultimately, PR is all about presenting ideas, research and outreach that support the ideas, positioning a brand, building relationships, and following up to ensure the ideas are executed. Public relations CAN be a fun, impactful, and very rewarding career. It takes a person with a creative brain, excellent communication skills, an expert at building and maintaining relationships, and a professional dedicated to following up.
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