5 Misconceptions About Public Relations

May 3, 2012

By: Danielle
While I always expected to start a career in PR, my experience at Metis through Northeastern University's internship program has made me realize that I – and many others -- held misconceptions about the field. Here are five of the most common misconceptions I've encountered:

  1. It's a 9-5 job. It's not unusual for me to log onto my computer in the morning and see email chains being sent as late as 11 p.m. The things that we deal with are often sensitive and require quick turnarounds.
  2. All you do is write press releases. Although some PR firms may work this way, it's not the most beneficial for clients. One of the things I've learned is the importance of issues response. The best way to get a media briefing for a client is to get on the phone and call reporters who are covering issues similar related to your client's expertise.
  3. You control the media. It's up to us to make publications and reporters interested in speaking with our clients. It is a PR rep's job to recognize an interesting story and provide reporters with supplementary information, photos or videos to support that story.
  4. A media interview = coverage. As exciting as it is to have a positive response from a reporter interested in speaking with your client, it doesn't mean that he or she will feature the company in an article. It's up to reporters to decide what they wish to write about, and if they don't find an issue relevant, they won't cover it.
  5. It's quick and easy to write white papers and press releases. I can write a 10-page paper for class the night before it's due, but in the real world, things don't work this way. PR pros write multiple drafts and work with clients to get to final pieces of content. One press release could take anywhere from four days to four weeks before it is finalized, depending on the topic and the parties involved.

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