You have worked hard to get a new client. You’ve called the media, explained the story and told them why the win is the most important thing, ever. You continued to work your contacts, and finally, you get mentioned in the media. A PR win. Well, sort of.
Public Relations, especially in today’s digital era, can be complex. It includes a lot of training, research, blog writing, story-telling and more. A one-time pitch that gained attention is not going to help your brand or overall bottom-line; you need both consistency and momentum. There are inaccurate assumptions about PR that breed dangerous myths. Below are 6 that need to be dispelled:
1. Anyone Can Be a PR Professional
The day-to-day work of PR includes doing great research, writing and storytelling, all while having a keen understanding about the whims and needs of targeted media. Public Relations is not a simple walk in the park. It involves utilizing a multidisciplinary approach in helping clients reach the media. In the digital era, the everyday tasks of the Public Relations expert has become more difficult as the definition of media has broadened exponentially. PR professionals need to stay relevant while constantly tracking the media that really matters to their clients.
2. Press Releases Are So Yesterday
No matter how much one hates writing a press release or finds that it could have been time better used for other more or less onerous tasks, press releases work. And they work in a certain way, too. Editors, sparring with looming deadlines, often only scan the headlines and first paragraphs. So a straight-to-the-point, short and sweet press release is often preferred. Architecting one that summarizes all of your points in a half a page takes practice and experience.
3. You Need To Wine and Dine
Yes, this may have been the case in the pre-Internet era, but it isn’t necessarily the case now. Remember, journalists have become increasingly busy individuals. Especially when those in the media are being asked to take several beats, and media houses are streamlining their editorial teams. If they can get a story or a new lead by simply emailing, scanning, searching or calling, they will. It is still a good practice to build relationships, but offering a compelling angle and excellent content is much more preferred than a good steak.
4. PR Has Very Little Effect on Sales
Think about it: Sales managers are always looking for street cred for selling products. Without a doubt, if the product gets headline coverage in an important publication or blog post, it will help to push sales. Social media is accentuating the effect by enabling actual customers to say volumes about the product (both good AND bad). This is the reason why social media PR should be important to PR professionals and why PR should be important to the sales team.
5. All You Need Is Luck
When the stars are aligned, you always have a scenario where your product story gets picked up by the media. However, it is more often due to the efforts of a tireless PR professional pitching to several different media on the value of choosing that particular product for their stories. It is not just about pitching products. It’s about pitching good ideas and story concepts, as well. PR professionals often unearth conversations, even when nobody is talking.
6. You THINK You Know How Media Works
Do you know how a newsroom functions, what a green room is and what a cluttered journalist’s desk looks like? If not, then you are not going to be able to grab the attention of the media or speak their lingo. And that will be reflected in your pitches. It is why the most experienced PR professionals are often extremely busy, always researching, creating content and looking for news angles that matter to the media.
These myths can all be dispelled easily. But a single characteristic that sets a good PR professional apart from others is curiosity. A healthy dose always opens the door to new PR opportunities in today’s information-laden, digital era. Dismiss the myths and get curious!