seven pr myths debunked
When people first hear about public relations, many do not fully understand what it embodies. It’s common to assume that it is another term for marketing or that it’s only needed in times of reputational crisis. The definition is varied and not as straightforward as people think. If you are considering doing PR, but are hesitant, chances are you hold misconceptions about the industry. Below are seven of the most common myths debunked!

“Traditional media is dead”

Digital media has revolutionised news forever and the way we report, consume, share and deliver information has changed. More people are now checking their social apps to track the news rather than reading a paper. But that does not mean traditional media is dead.

In fact, it is not going anywhere but rather is evolving to an online format. Although social media is instantaneous, the information that circulates can be dangerous and false. Many Australians use traditional news outlets for this reason, as stories must go through fact-checking and verification before being published.

“PR and advertising are the same”

If there is one thing you must know about PR, it’s that it differs from advertising. Many people get confused and do not recognise why they vary. Advertising is “paid media” aimed at targeting a specific audience with the main purpose of increasing presence and sales. PR is “earned media” focused on building credibility and a positive reputational image. It is not necessarily about selling products or services but about storytelling and developing trust and relationships. Both are useful to increase your presence, but they achieve different results.

“I only need PR when things go sour”

Although PR is essential in a crisis, it is not exclusive to that function. PR will guide your credibility journey and can help raise your profile as an industry leader. By having a voice in the media, you can amplify your presence and communicate your core messages. If you think about some of the biggest organisations in the world or the talking head in your industry they have probably used PR.

“First-tier Media is better than trade media”

When you first start doing PR it can be exciting to think of the media opportunities coming your way. It’s not unusual to want to be on TV or the front page of a national newspaper, but that does not mean it will be effective for your goals. In fact, if you’re trying to attract a niche audience, you may be better off approaching trade publications.

For example, a salon wanting to increase its client base is more likely to reach its target consumer on a beauty site compared to an article in the Financial Review. Once you understand your goals, you will understand what media strategy best suits your needs. Remember that there is always a home for your story.

“No one listens to radio anymore”

Many people still listen to radio whether that’s via traditional mediums, apps, or online. Different audiences will consume their news through varying outlets. Media also often tune into the radio to get across the topical issues of the day. If you appear on the radio, you may get picked up by journalists tuning in and listening.

“Any press is good press”

This is the most common and perhaps the most dangerous myth about PR. Bad press is damaging and will have a horrible footprint on your reputational status. Luckily there are ways to manage this, if you proactively plan for a crisis you can easily manage any scandal that comes your way.

“PR is expensive”

Although consultants and agencies vary in price, PR is one of the cheaper marketing functions and one of the most effective too. Essentially anyone can do PR by themselves if they have the right skill-set and tools. However, outsourcing experienced media specialists who know the news inside and out is the more effective way to go.

So then what is PR and how do I know it’s right for me?

To put it simply, PR is all about how you’re perceived in the eyes of your stakeholders and target audience. It’s about building trust, credibility, and a favourable reputational image by engaging in media relations. If you want to increase your presence, strengthen your brand, become an industry leader, then you are in the right place and PR is definitely for you.

Tony Nicholls

Tony Nicholls

Founder and Director of Good Talent Media

Tony Nicholls is an accomplished journalist who has held roles for more than ten years with the ABC, SBS and Network Ten, covering thousands of news stories across Victoria, Australia and in the international media.