5 Public Relations Myths Debunked

Myth #1: You need “contacts” to garner publicity.

My Response: This is one of the most common fallacies about PR. Why? The reason is simple. I suspect it’s because many PR firms tout their media connections when offering their services to a potential client.

Media contacts do help sometimes. However, you can accomplish your goals without them. A lot depends on the story you have to offer, the angle of your story, the timing, and the relevancy of your information or area of expertise. If your idea or pitch lacks the essential ingredients for an article or broadcast segment, you are unlikely to get coverage. Each time you gain media exposure, add the editor’s name to your database. Don’t forget to send a short and sincere thank you note.

Myth #2: You can’t buy PR with Advertising.

My Response: I dare to disagree with the above statement. Sometimes you CAN buy publicity with advertising, but not with high-quality publications. Small magazines with little editorial integrity may give advertisers preferential treatment. However, the quality of responses might not be worth of your time and effort.

Myth #3: PR promotions do not work without follow up.

My Response: I am convinced that follow up is important. Some busy editors or reporters can easily overlook your materials. Therefore, your follow up call or email may get them to consider your story. That being said, a well-written and well-targeted press release will do the trick.

Myth #4: Editors want to be wined and dined.

My Response: It is totally unnecessary! Of course you may come across an editor who will gladly agree to have lunch with you at a posh restaurant or accept tickets to a basketball game. In most cases, though, editors prefer to keep PR sources at arm’s length. A simple thank you note or respectful attitude will suffice.

Myth #5: Publicity will bring you tons of new clients, customers, or patients.

My Response: Even if you get great press coverage, it doesn’t mean that people will rush out to buy your product or use your service. Here is what PR does. It creates a favorable image or perception about your business. It enhances your status and makes you look more professional and trustworthy. People might remember your name after reading about it in a newspaper. So when a need arises, they are more likely to reach out to you. One PR expert says: ” Everyone has an impression about your business. Without publicity, that impression might be a zero awareness.”

Final Thoughts: Publicity has to be managed carefully. Media research, follow up, writing, checking — it all takes time and supervision. The key to success is regular media coverage, so when your prospects think of what you offer, it’s your company and not your competitor that gets the call or email.

Angela Kambarian is a marketing strategist, public relations consultant and copywriter. If you have any questions or comments about the article or need help with your marketing, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call (516) 889-8636