Six biggest misconceptions about public relations

  1. PR pros love to lie.




Cheat, lie and steal. That’s the life of a PR pro, right? Actually, wrong. PR professionals are held to high ethical standards, touching on everything from privacy protection, conflict of interest disclosure to acting for the public good.


  1. PR is the same as advertising/marketing/journalism.




This is a common one. To clarify, PR (chiefly) relates to earned media while advertising involves paid media. PR is about building relationships, while marketing is about selling products. Finally, PR professionals advocate on behalf of a brand or organization while journalists are meant to be impartial and objective.

Think of it this way: all of these fields are in the same neighbourhood but live on different streets.


  1. PR has no practical value.



Let’s bust this myth. PR schools and departments place a huge importance on evaluation of impact. There is enormous debate within the PR community about how to optimally measure success in the industry. The misconception that PR people bring no value has probably contributed to a renaissance of evaluation thought in the field.


  1. PR is boozy and glamorous.



Television and movies show PR as a field of glitz and glamour. From high fashion to swanky parties, PR appears to be a non-stop cavalcade of celebrities and champagne. In reality, while most people in PR do find their work exciting, few work with fashion, celebrities or, exclusively, in event planning. Celebrity PR is sometimes considered to be in decline.

If you’re thinking of getting into PR, remember to recognize the difference between fantasy and reality.


  1. PR is exclusively a corporate function.



What do you imagine PR is like? If not Hollywood Boulevard, maybe Bay Street is what comes to mind. Many imagine PR is an exclusively corporate function. In reality, many PR pros work agency side or for non-profits and governments.

PR is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and there are job opportunities in a number of areas, not just in corporate PR.


  1. PR is easy.



PR is, for some reason, seen as an easy field to excel in. In reality, the skills required for success in the industry – writing, public speaking, budgeting – are more rare than you think. Not to mention PR pros often must successfully balance multiple clients at once. PR is not a 9-to-5 job and, like any strategic function, touches on many areas.

If you’re looking for an easy career, I don’t recommend PR.


Words by Maxim Naylor

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