"PR people are just spin doctors and nothing more," says a very famous quote in the Communications field. Myths have crowded every aspect of our lives. From pop culture, to arts and entertainment and even religion, the PR sector has not been spared from the usual onslaught of myths and what perceptions that people have of what exactly PR practitioners do. Below are some of the most interesting myths that the industry is being classified under:
Any Press is good Press.
This has been in existance for a very long time, with the belief that PR people can use any media forum to get themselves out there, no matter the consquences or output. While, this is surely a losing strategy, it is crucial to note that media should be targeted basing on what audiences practitioners intend to reach out to. It does not makes ense to reach out to young people using newspapers when not most can afford to buy a newspaper themselves.
PR is all about Press Conferences and Releases.
It is no suprise that the most common staple of PR should not be grossly misunderstood by many. Chances are high that everybody including your boss will run to a Press Conference in a bid to get information out there. While these tools still play a vital role, there are more channels of information that can be used to get news out there. A good blog post, a video story, a short publicity campaign and the like. Press conferences should be reserved for big events and if you hold them all the time, then reporters will not show up. Besides, PR communication methods are getting more diverse by the minute.
Once you break through Publicity, you are golden.
It so happens that every once in a while, you will have a story that will appear in every news avenue possible and get everyone talking. But the phrase "one hit wonder" does not exist for nothing. Steady progress is what matters in communication because we all know that reputation takes several years to build and just a day to destroy. So, your overall strategy should be to appear in atleast various news sources at least thrice a month in good light, as opposed to appearing in one story over six months and nothing after.
All publicity is good publicity.
While negative publicity can be used as an opportunity to turn your image around, publicity like cocaine can easily become addictive. If not well managed, it can be used to your own disadvantage. So while appearing in the press may seem like a good thing, it is crucial that your appearances whether through spot ons or talk shows and the like, are strategic and important for your overall goals as an organization.
Only Bad Products need Publicity.
You cannot ride on your success permanently. The bad products may need some polishing up in order to make them more appealing to your customers. The good may not always stay good. A shift in service delivery or a late product release can harm your good product. Competitors are always on the look out to outsmart you so it is imperative that they never forget what exactly appeals to their audiences. MTN for long dominated the telecommunications industry in Uganda. But they were not ready for what would happen when other firms penetrated the market and begun selling the same producst MTN had at subsidized rates.
PR is spin and propaganda.
Yes, PR people may every once in a while rely on spin to help put a bad story to bed. But manipulation of the public to act in a manner that is not in their best interest is not something that proactive practitioners engage in.
PR Campaigns cannot be measured.
Research has for long been an ignored aspect of public relations basing on the assumptions that it is too costly and time consuming among others. However, no body is going to roll out huge sums of money for a plan that does not show any results. And this is where research helps. It not only helps in monitoring current business trends, reseach can help reveal what opinion the public holds of you.