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Top 6 misconceptions about PR agencies

By Lisa Goldsberry

bigstock-Public-Relations--Title-of-Re-71754586_(2)-203483-editedLearn how to leverage them for maximum gain and profitability

Misconception No. 1: Big PR agencies are better than independents. Some companies believe that PR has to be flashy and expensive in order to be good, but this is just not true. Often, what you’re really paying for is lots of style and little substance.

The fact that your PR agency is located in the biggest office building or boasts the most employees means nothing to journalists when it comes to media relations. All that matters is the quality of your pitch and the relationships you’ve built.

In addition, some large agencies trot out the big guns for the initial meeting, only to assign junior-level executives to your actual account. Small and mid-sized firms have highly qualified staff, but they’re typically not expansive enough for the bait-and-switch routine.

Misconception No. 2: The PR in PR agency stands for press release.” Many are under the mistaken impression that PR agencies are only good for helping you crank out more press releases than you can do on your own.

These people are unaware of all the aspects which can come under the PR agency umbrella, such as reputation management, spokesperson training and brand positioning, as well as crisis communication and press releases. Your PR agency can be a major partner as you work toward your overall strategic plan to help increase awareness among target consumers and to foster better engagement with your customers.

Misconception No. 3: PR agencies only deal with the public or customers. In reality, PR is concerned with all of a companys publics. This can include, but is not limited to: investors, board members, employees, other market analysts in the industry and anyone who has a stake in how audiences perceive the company.

Misconception No. 4: PR agencies can work magic by turning nothing special into something great. While it is true that competent PR professionals are creative and resourceful, they dont perform miracles.

Truthfully, PR campaigns are based on a solid formula which includes planning and preparation of materials, message distribution, measurement and evaluation. Still, it all starts with newsworthy information or a notable idea.

Its terrific that people see us as mystical, but we would rather put in work with your company to determine your strengths, pain points and industry issues in order to develop smart initiatives which bring measurable results. When it’s all done, if it seems like magic, that’s proof that we used the best tactics and most seamless methods to solve your problems.

Misconception No. 5: Your PR agency is an outside entity which should remain separate from other areas of the company. This can lead to confusion and unclear objectives.

PR agencies cannot operate in a vacuum. They need information and input from other areas of your organization, such as sales and marketing, to see the big picture and do the best possible job. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the writing you see in PR materials may be different than what other departments like advertising or human resources produce.

Misconception No. 6: Anyone can do the work PR agencies perform. Many people think its easy to write a press release and just send it out to the news outlets. They also believe that anyone who can string more than two sentences together is qualified to speak to the media.

In fact, it takes time to develop media lists that will help you garner positive news coverage. Without it, you are merely blindly throwing a hundred darts and hoping one will hit the target.

Also, you should never take spokesperson training lightly. This person serves as the public face of your company, so if he appears unqualified, untrustworthy or uncertain, your company will, too. Only professionals should handle any and all media relations or inquiries at all times.

At Axia, we can clear up these false impressions and give you the public relations expertise you need to improve your companys market position and increase your profitability. Contact us today or register for our 60-Second Impact program to learn how we can put our professionalism to work for your company.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations

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