Hacked Off Flack

Eight myths about PR

Date: 10 February 2014 12:27

In my totally unbiased view, PR is the best tool for marketing businesses. But as brilliant as PR is, it does have limits.

So if you want the impossible, ask the advertising guys. They are happy to promise things they can’t deliver (only joking!).

But when it comes to PR, clients need to be realistic about what can be achieved.

Here are a few PR misconceptions I’d like to bust:

1. Getting publicity is free and easy. No, it is difficult, time-consuming and needs to be well planned and executed. That’s why we have to charge. Sorry about that.

2. We can pretend that your product or service is something that it isn’t. That would be lying and wouldn’t fool anyone. As the saying goes, “you can’t polish a turd”.

3. We can just make you a “viral”. If you are very, very lucky, your video could become viral, but if we could guarantee creating a film that becomes a YouTube phenomenon, we would do it every time.

4. PR can stop bad news appearing in the press. Nothing can stop bad news spreading. But we can also spread good news, and we can advise you how to deal with a crisis. Pretending it hasn’t happened will never work.

5. PR is mostly about writing press releases. Not that I don’t spend too much of my precious time doing that, frankly.

6. PR people are dodgy, and their work is immoral. I think you may have been watching too much TV. In reality, we are normal, hardworking and above all, decent people. Honesty is vital to trust, and trust is vital to PR work.

7. Big agencies are better than independents. I’m not just saying this because I work for one of the smaller ones! Okay perhaps I am. The main thing is to find the right PR agency for you. But this doesn’t mean asking ten of them to pitch at a time – that just pisses us off.

8. PR people spend a great deal of time schmoozing. Building good relationships is vital, but most of our days are spent on writing, researching and pitching to people who have little appreciation of what we do. But enough of all this, I have a lunch I’ve got to get to.


Share this article

    Great article, personally I'd add a number 9: "Being a PR and a publicist isn't the same thing" - our jobs bear little resemblance to that of Max Clifford.

    Name: rob hickling
    Date: 11 Feb 2014 01:37 PM

    Good article, especially agree with point four. A client once said to me "can't we give them something else to write so they stop with this issue (which involved a serious dispute with a public figure)". I said "what?". They said "we could tell them that our customer service numbers have improved.

    Name: Bankflak

    Date: 11 Feb 2014 02:27 PM

    If we want to change how we're perceived let's show the value of what our work delivers rather than wallow in what we think our worth is.

    Name: Paul Wooding

    Date: 11 Feb 2014 02:32 PM

    What a terribly written article. Full of double negatives. Example: It's a misconception that "PR can't stop bad news appearing in the press". Is it? I thought it was the other way round... Do you actually get paid to write copy for clients?

    Name: Pedant

    Date: 11 Feb 2014 04:32 PM

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