Written by Lane Amateur Hockey Association account team members Jordyn Volk, Jack Bell, Hannah Oakley and Cal Will.
Every day, we are exposed to public relations in various forms, whether it’s through social media, press releases, advertisements or your favorite TV shows. Despite this mass exposure to PR, many people either have no idea what the industry really does or they believe in outdated and incorrect stereotypes about what PR professionals do. Here’s a list of some of the top PR myths:
1. PR is crisis communication
One common misconception about PR is that our time as professionals consists solely of crisis communication and press releases. In reality, PR professionals must have a strong understanding of various forms of media, be aware of social issues and trends and exercise the capacity to engage audiences with creative content. Though the public may perceive crisis communication to be the essence of public relations, the multifaceted nature of the profession allows PR professionals to be creative in various media and demonstrate critical thinking through strategy and market research.
2. PR is a female-only profession
Yes, more women practice public relations than men, but that doesn’t mean it is exclusively female, as often depicted in the media. Since a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stating that 71 percent of public relations “specialists” are female, this percentage has fallen each year. Ironically, men hold the majority of the leadership positions held in the industry, and they run some of the biggest, most powerful PR agencies in the world (see Andy Polansky and Richard Edelman). As with any other industry, it’s important to have diversity to complete a project; otherwise, you may be missing a key view or opinion.
3. PR is being a publicist
Samantha Jones in “Sex and the City” is one of the prominent characters that has formed ideas about PR in many people’s minds. She is portrayed as a glamorous woman attending lively parties and having popular celebrities on speed dial, yet she still makes enough time to go to happy hour with her best friends. Celebrity PR does exist, but PR also exists in practically every other industry. PR professionals exist behind your favorite sports teams, musicians and technology companies. These people are strategic planners and do not always live a life like a TV character.
4. PR is spinning the truth
Some people think that PR is “spinning the truth,” and that is associated with lying. In reality, PR is actually the opposite of spinning the truth. It is understanding a given situation and crafting a logical response that appropriately addresses the problem. As a PR professional, the first thing you learn is that ethical decision making is the most important aspect of cultivating a credible identity. The easiest way to lose that credibility is to establish a reputation for lying.