The PR profession can be complicated even without myths about public relations muddying the waters. That’s why I’d like to clarify and debunk common PR misconceptions. Next time you see these myths, reference this article to make your work easier. A solid PR campaign has not only the power to boost your brand, but also to protect the importance of PR and its facts, not legends.
PR can build relationships with the publicity, increase brand awareness, improve your credibility, and create loyal customers. If PR can be so useful for a company, why don’t all companies and entrepreneurs use public relations, to start with? The truth comes down to misconception.
There are lots of legends about public relations. These legends stand in the way of many executives using public relations tactics within their company or perhaps misapplying them altogether.
I’d like to argue with five myths about public relations, that are the most popular. Let’s start discussing them now so that you can confidently make decisions about your PR strategy and realize it effectively.
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PR Myth #1. PR is Only for Large Companies
One myth I often see is that only big brands or people with “celebrity status” need public relations management or advice. This is absolutely false. Most often, small entrepreneurs, owners of the shops, restaurants, beauty salons, barbershops suffer from a lack of budget for PR and advertising. They mostly advertise their services through one or two channels. Therefore, PR for them looks like a very expensive way of promotion in terms of results.
In fact, the majority of individuals and/or businesses who should use all public relations opportunities, are those with small and growing brands. Making public relations a part of business promotion gives clients and prospects a sense of trust, and builds a reputation for your company, without spending too much of your marketing budget. Public relations is not just about highlighting big events and topics.
Public relations is about growing a reputation and creating trust. New and growing companies can utilize public relations to provide them with that ‘celebrity status’ level that everyone is aimed at.
P.S.: PRNEWS.IO is a user-friendly PR platform to share your content in just a few steps.
For a competent and successful PR strategy, it is enough to clearly understand your audience and not act occasionally: work only with those resources that are in demand by your and only your audience. Then the budget will be spent productively, and you will get new loyal clients.
In order not to spend lots of money, it is not necessary to hire a high-quality PR specialist or collaborate with a PR agency: for a small business, this can become an unbearable financial burden. You can handle it on your own. Take one or several consultations to identify the promotion channels and audience, study the tactics of your direct competitors and use the capabilities of special services and tools.
By the way, the thought that publication in incredible international or local media costs all the money in the world is a myth. Of course, we don’t mean the cover of The New York Times. In fact, the cost of placing in the media is different. You can easily choose the appropriate platform and publication format in terms of price-quality ratio even with a minimal budget.
PR Myth #2. Startup Doesn’t Need PR
Many people think that a young company or a newly opened coffee shop doesn’t need PR. This is another very bad myth.
PR is not a matter of the prestige of your company. First of all, PR is the relationship of an enterprise or a public person with the audience. As with any relationship, they can be passive and active.
The things by which you’ll be estimated by market participants and customers include the most common items: the name, legal registration, the ability to easily find the necessary information about the business, and so on.
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To properly create a company’s PR strategy, start with the simplest. At first, it is enough to create a corporate account on social networks, link yourself on Google Maps, start Google My Business, and add product cards there. Regularly update social profiles and communicate with your followers there. By doing so you can build a positive company image without involving professional PR specialists.
Besides, PR has one interesting side effect: it solves the issue of “staff shortages”. This is important, especially for young businesses. By building your image correctly, you get a better chance of attracting high-quality experts to your team. And with their help, it will be much easier to occupy a leading position in the market.
PR Myth #3. If I Don’t Have a Story, I Don’t Need PR
Public relations statistics show about 88% of PR professionals believe the future of the field lies in digital storytelling. In contrast, PR shouldn’t depend on extraordinary stories and big events. Effective PR managers aren’t waiting for a product update — they create stories around what your company is already doing or has.
A significant update or new product launch usually happens once in a couple of years at best. It’s the work and responsibility of the PR agency or internal PR manager to create appropriate news in the absence of a new product announcement or tech update. There are other types of “news” — like research results or insights, or a CEO’s professional opinions about industry tendencies or changes. Branded content can help a company differentiate its products and company itself through insights and thought leadership. Social responsibility programming creates its own news. There are many great tools for creating positive media coverage and customer acquisition.
For example, absolutely all publications earn money in two ways. Or gain money from advertisements or from articles that they publish. But if the budget is limited, relationships with editorial offices and journalists can be established another way, which not everyone knows about. Create and offer unexpected, high-quality content: then they can publish your article for free, and you will get the desired publication with a mention of your company.
There is no sense to write about another new coffee shop or a barbershop in the city: such content is published only on commercial terms. Use a more non-standard idea: create an article not about the opening of a barbershop, but about the opening of the first Museum of the Man’s Beard.
Remember, your audience loves storytelling, and they love beautiful stories even more. You may grab the attention not only by the exhibits but also by a fascinating story with awesome visuals. You can attract visitors with a gallery of posters about the evolution of men’s hairstyles or beards over the past 300 years, a collection of vintage shaving accessories, mirrors, etc.
The museum, as a tool for creating the news, works effectively even if the money is only enough for the first few exhibits. Such content perfectly fits into a video blog and posts for social accounts without additional costs. By developing this idea, you can regularly attract the attention of the media and people.
Also, there is another popular and affordable way to create news that is perfect for small businesses – show the backstage, ‘raise a curtain’. With its help, you can make interesting content about a beauty salon, barbershop, cosmetology center, team, experts, tools, and new products that you use in your business.
For example, create a post about how and where the staff regularly learns and improves the tricks of the profession. Show photos in “before” and “after” format, tell about little-known new products, the most popular haircuts, etc.
The Data-Driven PR method is also relevant for a small business. This method is based on the collection and analysis of any data from your niche. For example, while serving your clients, you can gather interesting stats. e.g. “City X is in the lead in the number of blondes”, or “What problems with hair women most often suffer from?” Enrich it with photos and useful tips from a trichologist, it will be great content for both media and social networks.
PR managers know what makes a good story — and it’s often something that brands overlook. Whether it’s an expansion of your business, charitable activities, or a round of funding, PR storytelling can always provide you an opportunity to be covered in media.
Not sure what is remarkable about your company? You don’t need it. A savvy copywriter from PRNEWS.IO will help create just the right stories to provide you with media placements. Most often, what we discover to be a popular topic for the audience is something our client didn’t pay attention to at all.
PR Myth #4. Content is not Important, the Platform is Important
There’s a misconception that popularity in the media only depends on the number of contacts you have there. Speak the truth, good contacts are only a small part of the PR work. The more important piece to successful public relations is a good “pitch” — a story about you or your company that holds audience appeal. Bad publicity is harmful and especially completed to manage in today’s online space, where bad news lives forever and spreads instantly.
You can’t just scrimp on content. Many times I’ve witnessed the situation when companies spend several thousand dollars for one placement in the publication, but at the same time, they were not ready to spend a hundred dollars on the preparation of the high-quality text. And I’ll explain below why it’s so important.
First, the material must be properly structured so that people stay on the page and read it till the end. This is also important for search engines, which serve as intermediaries in the dialogue between the company and the audience.
Secondly, the search engine must analyze the page with its content, understand it in terms of volume, structure, the presence of video and photographic materials, reviews, and how interesting this material is. If it is relevant to the key queries for which the company will be searched on the Internet, then it can take a worthy position in the search and have more chances to be read.
In order for people to read or see interesting and useful content, you need to invest in content. The text should be written for people, not for robots or with a set of trivial phrases without sense. Just ask for a media plan for your campaign and PRNEWS.IO will help you for sure.
PR Myth #5. PR Doesn’t Sell
Sure, PR may not increase your bank account balance directly. What it does do is share your story and allow the audience to discover and engage with your brand. There is ROI in generating buzz surrounding your company because ultimately that buzz will generate visits, sales, orders.
According to statistics:
- 44% of pros said clients were likely to ask for media clippings;
- 22% said clients wanted engagement metrics;
- 12% said awareness metrics were important to clients;
- and just 4% said clients wanted sales figures;
PR is more than an advertising campaign or an article in the media. The goal of PR activities is to increase overall awareness and get you into the minds of your current clients or prospects. Your audience may or may not take action, but they may still remember and be tracking you. It is a popular question: is it possible to sell using PR?
Yes, you can. You can and should create content that will provoke the audience to buy. For example, an article that you attended an event is unlikely to generate a stream of visitors. But if the article covers a call that is limited by a time frame (for example, a promotional code is available only for the first twenty visitors of a new salon), then people will have a reason to come, use, buy.
At the same time, remember, PR is a lottery. It’s better to constantly try various tools and formats that are most suitable for your company. Try, publish, and try again: This will make your content more likely to bring you results.
The chances of winning are drastically reduced if you bet on one unit of content and wait for successful results immediately. You have to make many different attempts, in different directions.
To Sum Up
Now that you have a clearer understanding of PR and public relations’ true facts, I hope this will help you to more efficiently invest in your PR campaign.
Do you have any other myths in mind? Leave them in the comments, let’s discuss what is true and what is not.