Sure, the PR machine is different today than it was a decade ago. In the pre-Web 2.0 world, public relation opportunities were limited to a newspaper article or a story on the evening news. Today, the Internet offers more outlets to get your brand and your marketing message in front of your public. Viral videos, social media and bookmarking platforms, and article and PR directories help get the word out much quicker.
However, these changes may alter some strategies and tactics, but the PR fundamentals remain the same. Let’s discuss the five myths in the PR world that can hurt your business if you believe them.
1. There’s no such thing as bad press.
The reality is that bad press is never a good thing. If you see a bad review on Trip Advisor or Yelp for a local eatery, do you think it helps bring in more business? While the PR get the business’s name into the public view, the negative ratings for service and food won’t bring in hungry diners. This example does highlight the importance for having a crisis plan in place. Since information travels at the speed of a mouse click over the Internet, your organization needs to be able to identify and respond to any negative news quickly.
2. PR is like free advertising.
The primary danger with this misconception isn’t the cost (although that is erroneous, too), but the fact that it tries to compare two marketing tools that have different purposes. Don’t look at advertising and PR as an either/or scenario. Both of them play an important role by achieving different objectives. Advertising may cost more, but it allows you to control your exposure to your public as far as placement, image, and frequency. PR has less of a cost; it is often considered more trustworthy and has greater potential for going viral, but you can’t control it like advertising. The trick with advertising and PR is to find the right balance for achieving your goals.
3. The Internet makes PR easier and cheaper.
Since the Internet is easy to use and free, more businesses are taking advantage of it. And when there is more content being shared, you have to do something different to grab the attention of your intended audience. Doing something different, going above and beyond, costs you time or money … and since time is money, one way or another, you’re still paying for it. You can either spend more time trying to create your own PR buzz, which takes your focus away from what you do best, or you can hire a marketing firm that offers public relations services to manage your PR for you.
4. Good PR can cover up problems in your business.
While no company is perfect, the press and the public don’t take highly to companies that try to mislead them with press that over-promises and under-delivers. You may be able to get away with this once or twice, but once they catch on, you’ll have to go back to the first issue in this post. Don’t forget to have your crisis plan ready; you’ll need it.
5. If you create great products and services, the PR will come.
Aaahhh, the Field of Dreams myth … build it and they will come, right? Wrong. If this were true, Apple wouldn’t have a talented marketing team and massive budget to promote their Mac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone when there are so many loyal users spreading the good word. Why do they? In a single word … competition. If you don’t put the effort into your PR, your competition will. And when they do, they will have the better relationship with your public.
The last myth I should add here is that you don’t need to have a fortune 500 sized budget to create a solid PR strategy. When you focus on the fundamentals before you implement your tactics, you can save yourself time, money, and energy responding to bad press. For more information about how we can help your business with our public relations services, go to our Contact Us page, or call us at (410)-366-9479 ext. 2#.
Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides brand-building services and strategies for small-to-middle-market businesses and non-profit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, Dina is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore teaching typography and graphic design principles. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact email@example.com