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PR Expectation Vs Reality

I’ve been in the PR industry for more than 20 years and one thing that has never changed is that the expectations from friends, family and clients vary greatly from the reality. I think this comes from a mixture of things:

1. People wanting PR in their business but not fully understanding what it is and what it should be used for

2. The media portrayal of PR and marketing people, think Edina in Absolutely Fabulous, Samantha Jones and Sex and the City and Emily from Emily in Paris and you can see why people might think it’s all champagne, beautiful clothes and fancy lunches.

So, to help people out here are some of most common myths and misconceptions busted:

Expectation: PR is glamorous

Reality: Champagne and parties are rare

I’m not saying I haven’t been to some fancy parties and lovely events during my career but they are not the norm. PR isn’t about stunts and big events it’s about consistent, quality coverage that is sustainable.

Expectation: You have to be ballsy like Samantha Jones

Reality: Being yourself is the best way to network

On TV PR’s are always beautiful, glamorous, ballsy women, who ooze confidence who can overcome any obstacle. The reality is that to work in PR you do need to be confident (it’s a people heavy job) but the best way to connect with people is to be yourself. It’s not about schmoozing the room it’s about ensuring you’re kind, treat people with respect and show an interest in people and what they are doing and have to say.

Expectation: The aim is to be in your favourite publications

Reality: You need to be where your audience is

Time and time again people will come to me and ask me to get them into their favourite publication. There is nothing wrong with having this as an aim as long as that is where your potential customers and clients are.

Expectation: Hire a PR and you should see results in the first month

Reality: PR is an on-going process

It would be great if coverage in the right publications could be achieved all the time but it’s just not possible. Firstly PR is not a sporadic, shotgun approach it should be strategic. There should be some real thought about where you want and need to be seen, talking and building relationships with journalists takes time and you also need to ensure you’re pitching the right stories to the right people.

Expectation: One good press hit is all we need.

Reality: You need consistent, quality coverage, national, trade and local.

As mentioned, people normally come to me with a few ideas of where they want to be seen. They’re usually national publications.

There are immediate things worth flagging:

Do you have a unique story or opinion? If not they’re not going to feature you. This is something I can help you discover with a Dig Deeper Call.

Consider your trade and local press. They are great for reaching your intended audience They can be superb for reaching your intended audience, SEO and can help establish you as an industry thought leader and expert.

Remember one big piece of coverage may provide you with temporary attention but, , if you want to be a big brand or a household name then you need to think long term. Consider your favourite brand, or a person or brand in your industry that you would like to rival. Think they got where they got by being featured in The Times, once?

Rebecca Slater is a PR Consultant with more than 20 years public relations experience. She is based in Staffordshire and provides support to businesses all over the country.

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