The world of PR is full of assumptions and stereotypes about the job we do but there are three in particular that really grind my gears.
1) There are no men in PR. Yes there are a lot of women in PR, particularly on the consumer side but last time I checked there were many talented, hardworking men able to work across all PR disciplines.
2) PR isn’t an important practice. For any company that values itself and wants to expand, PR is simply vital. Many businesses (those in construction included) see PR as part of the overall marketing mix and that's absolutely fine, especially as the lines between PR and content marketing become more blurred. I believe though that it is those businesses that dedicate time and resources to PR as a standalone tactic that flourish most.
3) PR professionals spend all of their time in swanky bars and restaurants, entertaining journalists. Short of the fact that Careercast.com named PR as the 6th in a list of the 100 most stressful jobs, there are many factors that prove this stereotype to be incorrect. PR comes with long hours, stressful situations, demanding, thought provoking, crucial work and that's without the crisis management scenarios. However, anybody who has worked in PR or media relations will know the importance of meeting journalists face-to-face.
It is no wonder that PR executives are tarred with this stereotype as meeting journalists is possibly the most important part of working in PR and something everybody in the industry makes sure they do from account executives to business directors.
With information becoming more and more accessible through digital channels and every second person now self-publishing, the role of the traditional journalist is becoming less clear. Most B2B journalists are comfortable having a symbiotic relationship with PR agencies and as they look for more information, news and content to fill the pages of their print titles, digital magazines, newsletters, social media and websites, they need to ensure they have reliable contacts within relevant PR agencies who have access to interesting industry spokespeople.
It is however, up to us as PR professionals to make sure that they are aware of our clients and what they do, especially if they are new to the industry or just starting out. It also means that you can learn a little bit more about the people behind the magazines.
For example, at meeting with a property management startup client of mine the journalist discovered he had a mutual interest in aviation with the CEO. They are now working together on a project that could open up new business opportunities with smaller housebuilders whilst sharing flying tips.
For the same client, a booking at the restaurant on the 31st floor of the Shard ensured a captive journalist who was looking for some specific information on property management. The meeting meant the journalist could obtain a new, original viewpoint on the housebuilder industry, resulting in an excellent story and some excellent coverage. Additionally, the journalist is now able to call on my client if and when she is looking for some interesting comments on the industry.
Anyway… given the chance, w here would you prefer to have a business meeting in the local KFC or on the 31st floor of the Shard?