Most people really don’t understand what public relations is, my family included. When I told them I wanted to become a PR practitioner, they were actually mad because they thought that meant lying to people and covering up scandals. If you’re having this problem, here are some common misconceptions that might help:
- PR and advertising are the same thing.
PR and advertising work well together and go hand in hand, but there is a difference. The number one difference is money. Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media. PR means you have to convince someone to something that an advertiser pays for.
- PR practitioners distort the truth.
Public Relations is considered a dirty word; people think PR practitioners are corrupt and constantly cover up and “spin” stories. When in reality we strive for transparency. A few bad practitioners have given the whole profession a bad rep.
- You have to be a “people person”.
Being a “people person” will definitely help with the job, but being good at PR requires so much more than that. You have to be organized, creative, strategic, innovative, and patient. You also have to be skilled in writing, graphic design, and social media. There is a lot that goes into the job.
- It’s a 9 to 5 job.
Most PR practitioners are always working, thinking of new and creative ideas to help their clients. Clocking out just isn’t an option.
- PR equals overnight results.
Good PR takes time. PR practitioners have to be strategic and are constantly planning. Results don’t always happen instantly which is what most people don’t understand. The only thing that might happen instantly are favorites on a tweet, and even then it’s iffy.
- PR practitioners control the press.
You cannot control the press. A lot of a PR practitioner’s job is communication with the press to get them to cover a story, but you can’t stop them or force them to cover anything. Reporters pretty much do what they want.