Why there’s more to PR than media relations

Business leaders mistakenly think PR is only about making phone calls and landing segments on “The Today Show.” For the sake of your career, it’s time to set the record straight.

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There has been a lot of talk about how to help business leaders understand that media relations is just a tactic.

A couple years ago, I received a call on Dec. 18 from a panicked prospect. He needed PR help and wanted to know if my agency would work with him. I asked him my typical questions to determine what he did, why he needed us and how we could help.

He became exasperated by the questioning and blurted out, “I have a product in Target that isn’t selling. They told me if it’s not off the shelves by Christmas, they won’t re-order from me. If they don’t re-order, I’m out of business.”

Remember, he called me on Dec. 18—one week before Christmas.

I don’t know how long he had this information, but he assumed that appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” would solve all his problems.

He wanted to go on the show in the next couple of days. He said he would even fly to Chicago that evening if I could make it work. Never mind that the show was already on break and, by this point, Oprah was doing more celebrity interviews than giving away cars.

It was one week before Christmas!

I felt bad for the guy. I still do.

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