Marijane Funess July 3, 2014 | 01:29:04

Declare Your Independence From These PR Misconceptions

It’s our nation’s birthday, and July 4th is a good time to take a step back from the 24/7 PR madness and re-examine some widely held notions that may hamper an agency or a client’s efforts to conduct business and leverage the true value of public relations.

Break free of some of these accepted “truths” and see if doing so helps focus on true priorities!

PR = advertising. One would think that informed clients would completely reject this false equivalency, but you’d be amazed how many do think PR can accomplish the same things that advertising may, such as reliably driving sales. Without being too pedantic, use select client interactions to demonstrate what PR does and doesn’t do.

PR is “cheap.” Yes, PR campaigns can be more cost-effective than advertising, but it’s a matter of apples and oranges. And the “work” is not cheap. Successful implementation often requires a team of specialists, as well as a healthy and realistic out-of-pocket budget. Often successful case histories are the best tool to illustrate value and what it takes to secure meaningful results.

PR is easy. No, it isn’t. But many clients feel that their story is so compelling and media are so easily won over that agencies should actually “guarantee” their placements. We have even had a potential client ask if we’d agree to a refund if our team didn’t produce the earned media they expected. While it’s always a positive to show confidence in outcomes, the point is the PR often sacrifices message control, in exchange for credibility.

PR has been replaced by content marketing. Content marketing is a terrific means for disseminating thought leadership and extending the reach of any PR campaign, but it is not a replacement for PR. The creation of great content that can be re-purposed for speaking opps, white papers, blogs etc. is a necessary addition to any successful plan.

Don’t hire a serial “job-hopper.” Today the adage of “stay in each job at least a year” is no longer realistic or even a good idea if said job is holding you back! Each candidate needs to be assessed individually and seeing more jobs than years on a resume should no longer mean automatic rejection. What is of more value on a resume is whether the candidate advanced with each move and what they can tell you about the factors that precipitated them.

Just give the social media to an intern. Unbelievably, some practitioners and clients still haven’t “gotten the memo” that social media is a major marketing force for B2B and B2C brands and must be managed as strategically and professionally as any other aspect of a PR campaign. While it may make sense for interns to be part of a social media team, the strategy and content should be handled by account pros.

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