PRNewser recently published a blog post describing five current PR myths.
The first is that having a relationship with a journalist guarantees a story. On this point we agree that just because you have developed a relationship with a member of the media doesnít guarantee that every pitch will be accepted on its face. Savvy PR pros will know what that journalist is looking for and not try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Thatís part of building the relationship Ė providing the news and information that they would really like to know, not pitching them every idea that comes across your desk.
The second is about press releases. We have long been proponents that press release broadcasts are more than a waste of time and money; they can actually be detrimental to certain PR campaigns. After spending the time and energy building relationships with your media contacts, the last thing you want them to see is a general release promoting a client that has nothing to do with their beat. It cheapens the relationship. This doesnít mean that there is no place for press releases. Well written press releases that appear in a press release archive may help journalists who are researching your company follow the growth and direction of your company. Just be careful how you use them.
The third is the idea that any publicity is good. This is the old ďI donít care what you write about me as long as you spell my name rightĒ approach. We have all witnessed examples of negative publicity, such as A-Rod or Anthony Weiner, and most will agree that such coverage doesnít help an individual or company build a positive reputation. A well crafted media strategy can help a company overcome initial bad press, but any marketer thinking that they can easily ďturnĒ the media today needs to rethink their strategy.
We have long been proponents of the idea that PR can be more effective than advertising in certain areas, but we understand that it doesnít necessarily produce sales. Sales happen when a customer is provided with a product or service they need at a price that they deem reasonable. Many times it requires a salesperson to push the sale over the finish line. PR can make them aware of the product, service and value that a brand brings to market, making the sales process easier and in some cases providing the information a customer needs to make a purchase, but itís not intended to replace your sales force.
Finally there is the myth that PR pros donít understand the news, because they havenít been in the cauldron of a news cycle deadline. Actually, most of us who are dealing with the media on a daily basis have a real empathy for the needs and responsibilities of the media and are always careful to respect their deadlines and valuable time. Thatís why we donít pitch them stories outside their beats, try to persuade them to tell a story they donít believe, or call them on deadline with a story they canít use. As the post says, a good PR/media relationship is a symbiotic one that benefits both parties.