When it comes to public relations, everyone has their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t. Because PR isn’t pure science, it harbors many myths about what it takes to get publicity and to create a buzz for your company. I’ve come up with a brief list of 4 PR myths I hear on a regular basis. I’m sure there are far more PR myths than this, so please feel free to leave comments sharing your favorite myths.
- No such thing as bad publicity—Not a week goes by that I don’t hear this phrase uttered by someone who fancies himself a PR expert. If you don’t think there is such a thing as bad publicity, ask any of dozens of politicians who have been caught in sex or financial scandals, forcing them to resign. Or ask Michael Vick. While there are some people who are able to leverage negative publicity to their advantage (e.g. Kanye West), these are the exceptions. Bad publicity can cause irreparable damage.
- Social media can’t be used for PR—Despite the growth in popularity of Twitter and Facebook, there are still plenty of naysayers who believe social media is a complete waste of time. I feel sorry for these people. Social media is an excellent medium for PR. It allows you to create a buzz around your business and to build relationships with your target audience. But be careful: Many have shot themselves in the foot with social media. Just flip over to ESPN and it won’t take long for you to hear a story about another athlete getting in trouble for something stupid they Tweeted.
- You need to have a gimmick to get attention—Too many people believe you need to pull off a major PR stunt to get attention. Remember the balloon boy story from just a few weeks ago? Those nutjobs thought pulling this hoax would land them a reality show. Granted, maybe it will…after they serve time in jail. Gimmicks are generally a bad idea for few reasons: 1)Any attention is usually very short lived; 2)The gimmick almost always distracts from your main message; 3) Gimmicks appear desperate and unprofessional.
- Major media is all that matters—Everyone wants to be the next major story on Oprah, or they want to get interviewed on CNN. Many people think small media is a waste of time. It’s not. Getting coverage in a small magazine, on a podcast, a blog, or on a local TV show is an essential first step for getting the larger coverage you desire. In many cases, media coverage from smaller outlets can also help you more accurately reach your target audience too.
Which PR myths would you add to this list?