5 stereotypes people have about PR

Do these have any merit or are they misconceptions the industry needs to shake?

Public relations professionals have a bad reputation. I can hardly go one day without coming across a blog post that criticizes PR people in one way or another.

Why the hate? Are PR pros really the despicable car salesmen people make them out to be? Have people developed an unfair stereotype over the last century?

Of course, everyone has an opinion. Here are five of the biggest reasons people dislike PR pros. I don’t necessarily agree with these points—I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

1. PR pros keep people from talking to who they really want to talk to. Think gatekeeper. When there’s a really good story and a journalist wants to get to the bottom of it, PR professionals stand in the way as a line of defense.

2. PR pros skate around the truth. If there’s a chance the information a journalist is searching for can make a client look bad, you can bet the PR person will circumvent the truth. He probably won’t lie, but you’d be foolish to expect the entire story.

3. PR pros speak in generalities. PR people are extremely careful with their words. A journalist may feel like the PR person is saying a lot when she really isn’t saying anything. PR people can be masters of circumlocution.

4. PR pros don’t move as fast as others would like. For many, dealing with public relations people means red tape. And red tape means a lot of waiting. When you work on deadline, waiting is simply not an option.

5. PR pros push agendas of paying clients. PR professionals have one goal: to make their clients look good. You can’t blame them—people pay them to do it. But for journalists, company agendas just get in the way.

PR pros, are the stereotypes fair or are you just doing your job?

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article first appeared.

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Topics: PR


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