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Five myths and misconceptions of the PR industry

Public relations encompasses a varied and diverse field of work, which can mean there’s no simple way of explaining what a PR professional does each day.

Fuelled by movies and TV shows that depict one-dimensional “PR people”, here are five common misconceptions about the industry:

1. “All publicity is good publicity”

While some individuals might relish any attention and notoriety, sophisticated brands know that it is the quality, rather than quantity, of their media coverage that matters most to their reputation and bottom line. There are plenty of examples where bad media coverage has dented, if not effectively killed, projects, products and companies.

2. “PR and advertising are the same”

While PR and advertising professionals often work alongside each other to promote a company, product or service, they are markedly different professions that use different strategies and tools. Put very simply, advertising is a one-way communication channel that often promotes a product or service to customers, while public relations encompasses two-way communication channels that are used to engage with all of an organisation’s stakeholders and foster an ongoing beneficial relationship.

3. “PR is just about running events”

While event planning can be one aspect of PR, in reality PR professionals are also crisis managers, copy writers, media liaison experts, social media and digital content advisors, lobbyists and professional communicators.

4. “PR is all about luck”

Because PR is about managing people, reputations and relationships, for the outsider it can appear to have an intangible quality about it. However behind the scenes, PR professionals go to great lengths to research, strategise and deliver activities that achieve the best possible results for clients in ever-changing environments.

5. “You just have to be a people person, to be successful in PR”

Though it helps to be a people person, it isn’t the only thing you need to get by in the PR world. It is essential for PR professionals to be great writers, strategic thinkers and hard workers in order to develop and execute successful public relations campaigns.