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PR Campaign Tips: 10 Harmful Myths You Need to Avoid

Wendy Marx

Feb 10, 2020

The work of PR can be challenging without myths about public relations muddying the waters. That’s why we like how this post clarifies and debunks common PR misconceptions. Next time you’re faced with these misconceptions, reference this post to make your work easier. And while we’re adept at explaining why PR is still important in the modern landscape, sometimes a primer on the digital skills PR pros need can help us continue doing our best work.

A solid PR campaign has the power to bolster your brand. Among its benefits, PR can build relationships with the public, boost brand awareness, increase your credibility, and create loyal customers.

If PR can do so much for a brand, why don’t more brands use public relations, to begin with? The truth comes down to misinformation.

There are a number of myths about public relations. These myths stand in the way of many executives using public relations tactics within their business or perhaps misapplying them altogether.

We’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight — to debunk some of the most popular myths about public relations. Let’s discuss 10 of these myths so that you can confidently make decisions about your PR and execute it effectively.

10 Myths That Can Stand in the Way of a Profitable PR Campaign

Myth #1: PR is too expensive for my brand

There are many choices when it comes to PR, and at all price points. You can go with less expensive freelancers or retain a boutique, mid-size or large PR agency. It all depends on your needs and budget. Before you assume that PR is too expensive, check out the various options available to you, and also consider the number of benefits PR can bring to your brand.

When it comes down to it, PR can be far less expensive than advertising and offer more benefits. Rather than short-term boosts, effective PR improves the entire image of your brand for the long term. B2B PR, in particular, creates a patina of thought leadership and generates interest and awareness.

For example, a PR agency can obtain media coverage that shines a positive light on your brand. That, in turn, can lead to other outlets telling your story and over time you’ve created a crescendo of attention that showcases your expertise and credibility. In addition to these benefits, brands often see increased sales and solid growth.

Myth #2: I can do my own PR

While you may want to shave a few dollars off your bottom line, PR encompasses much more than media mentions. Expert public relations tactics and strategy from an experienced PR person have the power to bolster your reputation and draw people to your brand.

As part of an effective PR strategy, PR professionals can generate ideas to grow your reach, identify and segment your audience, and target them precisely. They can also bolster your image by booking you at events and entering you in awards. And they can cement your reach and position by a shrewd combination of earned, owned and in some cases paid media.

When you break it down, public relations is not a few-minutes-a-day job. It is a full-time job with multiple responsibilities. When companies try to do their own PR, it often lacks a strategy and falls through the cracks.

Myth #3: PR is not the same as media relations

Media relations is a subset of PR. However, PR encompasses many other tactics. It also is supported by a strategic focus. It’s not just transactional. It all begins with aligning PR opportunities with your goals and objectives.

For example, if you want to generate more website traffic, you may be better off authoring and placing articles in targeted outlets rather than trying to get the media to write about you. Booking you on panels at events and webinars may also be more effective in engaging prospects. Or you may decide that media relations is precisely what you need. That decision, however, needs to be based on strategy, not on a whim.

Myth #4: PR is just advertising

PR goes way beyond advertising. When you boil it down, advertising is paid visibility while PR is earned visibility. PR often leverages a third party to endorse your brand — such as a journalist or influencer.

The PR method of third-party endorsement often carries more credibility than a company who endorses itself with paid ads In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study about what sources people trust most, the first three were recommendations from people they know, online recommendations, and editorial content, such as newspapers.

Reading Tip: Take a look at the largest US newspapers to advertise in.

Myth #5: PR people don’t control journalists

PR people don’t whisper into the ears of journalists about what to write. That’s the journalists’ job. What PR can do is position your story so it is appealing to journalists who will then want to cover you. PR also ensures that the information the journalist receives is accurate and the finished article doesn’t have any factual errors. A PR person can request that any errors be corrected, especially if the article is online. Or a correction is issued if it is in print.

Many PR people have relationships with journalists that can smooth the way for media mentions. Ultimately, however, you need a good story — which a PR person can craft.

Myth #6: PR professionals just write press releases

While press releases are a major part of public relations tactics, it is just one facet of PR. At their core, B2B PR professionals aim to boost and reinforce a brand’s image and credibility.

Beyond crafting a strategy and media relations, PR professionals also help with:

  • Reputation management
  • Crisis management
  • Social media strategy
  • Product launch
  • Speaking engagements
  • Influencer relations
  • Thought leadership strategy
  • Awards and Events
  • Content marketing

Myth #7: PR is not fake news

PR is not about creating buzz by crafting a story out of whole cloth. Anyone who does that is unethical. PR instead uses creativity and analytics to tell a story that resonates with your audience. A good PR person knows how to weave everyday facts into a story that engages. It’s the art and science of PR.

Myth #8: If I don’t have a story, I don’t need PR

On the contrary, PR does not depend on a drop-dead story. Effective PR professionals don’t wait for a story — they create stories around what your business is already doing.

Along this vein, thought leadership PR has become an essential part of public relations. This uses your expertise and industry knowledge to establish as a leading authority and go-to pro in your industry. As a thought leader, your opinion becomes sought after by journalists and others in your industry.

PR professionals also know what makes a good story — and it’s often something that brands overlook. Whether it’s an expansion of your business, charitable activities, or a round of funding, PR storytelling can position you for media coverage.

Myth #9: I only need PR when I’m in trouble

It is true that crisis management is a crucial part of public relations. But crisis management doesn’t just come on the scene when negative press surfaces. Crisis management works best behind the scenes to predict when trouble is afoot and reduce its impact.

A seasoned PR professional who works steadily with your brand will be able to jump into action at the right time to prevent a crisis or make sure it’s handled smoothly.

PR professionals also play a vital role in building and maintaining your brand’s reputation. This is a process that takes time to develop. But once a sturdy reputation is in place, it won’t as easily be shaken by the negative press or other issues.

Myth #10: PR is all about sales

While increased sales and lead generation can be benefits of public relations, it is not its sole purpose. Public relations is first and foremost about relationships. It builds awareness of a brand, manages a brand’s reputation, and creates brand loyalty among customers. At the same time, however, PR by establishing a brand’s reputation can develop leads and subsequently convert leads into sales.

Yet, because PR is educational, as opposed to sale-sy, it can build genuine relationships with clients and partners alike. These relationships are not solely based on products and services, but on a solid foundation of trust.

A Few Points to Remember…

  • PR doesn’t have to be expensive relative to its benefits. There are PR professionals with all levels of expertise and at many price points
  • PR is a complicated process and is a full-time job — not something that just anyone can do in his or her free time
  • PR is more than advertising — while advertising is paid visibility, PR is earned visibility, which often creates deeper, more lasting results
  • PR is more than just writing press releases — it also includes everything from crisis and reputation management, social media, content marketing, media relations… to any and all other tactics that will elevate a brand and expand visibility and credibility.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of PR and public relations tactics, we hope this will help you to confidently invest in your own PR campaign.

This article originally appeared in The B2B PR Blog. This article was written by Wendy Marx from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to