Following on from Steph's post on the changing nature of PR, I began thinking about other 'myths' in PR. It's often something that's misunderstood, as we have experienced firsthand. So here are my top 5 PR fictions - and the facts:
- PR is all parties - If the media was anything to go by, we'd all be sipping cocktails, planning parties and basically be too drunk to do anything else - think Samantha Jones from Sex and the City or Eddie and Patsy from Ab Fab. No doubt this applies to a few PRs but the majority of us are busy at our computers, with no cosmo in sight. PR is about gaining quality press coverage and boosting a brand's visibility and credibility, so that's what we stick to.
- Don't be controversial - We're not condoning offering any material of an offensive or shocking nature to the press - please don't do that - but it is sometimes good to be a little controversial. If you have an opinion on something then share it. Journalists like articles that give a different point of view and you can be seen as a credible commentator for giving your professional judgement.
- Tell the media about you - Writing a press release about your new office wallpaper or writing an 1000 word article about how great your new service is may seem like a really good idea but it's a waste of time. It may be exciting for your company but it isn't going to interest a newspaper - unless you're willing to fork out for an advert. Journalists want stories that are going to interest readers, so you need to make sure your idea is newsworthy. Which brings me onto:
- We don't have anything to say - You may not have a huge piece of research to promote, but every company will have a hub of knowledge that they can tap into. Chats with our clients often bring up interesting trends and facts that we use for PR that they hadn't thought were particularly interesting. If there's something you have noticed which interests you, the chances are it could interest others - and that's the basis for a news story.
- When it comes to press, the bigger the better - This is a case of quality over quantity. Many businesses dream of being featured in the national press, but is one line in the FT more beneficial than a whole page in media specific to your sector? I'd argue that most of the time it's not. Targeted PR allows you to reach your desired audience and really demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, which can then be used as a powerful marketing tool. National coverage is of course great too, but it shouldn't take priority over the press which can add real value.