This week we have guest blogger, Samantha Arigapudi, copywriter for Marketing Maven Public Relations. With a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Samantha once pursued a Ph.D. in psychology and soon realized that her creative talents were better utilized elsewhere. Today she continues on the PR facts track from last week with what you don’t know about public relations! What did you not know about public relations or what questions still linger?
I was with a few old-timers the other day when I was asked what happened to my getting a Ph.D. in psychology. With a smile I replied that I simply didn’t want to listen to people’s problems anymore and wanted to utilize my creativity in the best way I knew how—through writing. With some innovation and miles of commuting, I eventually landed a job in the marketing and public relations field—exactly where I wanted to be. However, there was one caveat—I still had to listen to people’s problems.
Having asked these same seniors what they thought public relations was, I received answers related to advertising or campaigns and puzzled faces when I mentioned banner ads, QR codes, and hits. While public relations tie with campaigns is partly true, PR has more to do with listening to a client’s needs, customer problems, and creatively presenting them with a client’s product as their solution. Listening to a client’s issues and needs and solving the world’s day-to-day problems is one of the backbones of public relations without having to present a diagnosis or a 12-step plan towards recovery.
So what is PR? Well, this is PR and 7 things most don’t know about it:
1. Public relations is a continued effort
…to reach out to reporters, producers and the media with information about a company or organization and their product. By presenting say, a hair tool, in the best possible light, public relations companies are able to enhance credibility and engage discussions through third-party editorial commentary.
2. Enjoy the Limelight!
PR companies take a product and pitch it to media so it is presented in the best possible limelight. As Phineas T. Barnum said, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” and getting a product onto the Today Show or Good Morning America can help skyrocket hits and interest to the related site.
3. You’re a Salesman.
A big part of working in public relations is the ability to pitch. PR professionals need to be able to sell something in a creative manner by making it applicable to their media interest. A PR company has a pet supplement and wants to pitch to a toy company? Pitching the importance of pet health with dog toys and earning a promotion via the toy company to promote the pet supplement is a start to selling efforts.
4. You’re Also a Mind Reader…
No, a psych degree isn’t needed, but PR professionals do need to understand what motivates people and how they respond to products and pitches. PR people put themselves in the media’s shoes by understanding that they have their best interests at heart. With that in mind, a PR pro’s goal is to help them succeed but understanding what it is they want.
5. Public Relations Is Like Solving a Puzzle.
Along those telekinetic lines, to pitch and sell a product successfully, it is also a foundational necessity to understand why consumers want a product or service. What is it that keeps people up at night? And how does a product or service serve as their solution?
6. PR Is A Chameleon.
Public relations is a field that can friend any other field. It can be used in neuroscience or aerodynamics to dog walking companies and yoga retreats. It can also be used in private, public, nonprofit, and any other sectors and what ties them all together is the creative backbone of public relations. Although public relations companies have niches as far as the industries they excel in, most if not all are capable of fitting right in to an organizations services and needs.
7. Social Media is at a Forefront, but So Is Your Face.
While technology consumes all as people attach themselves to their phone while watching television, it is important for public relations companies to successfully brand themselves and their clients online. However, nothing supersedes meeting someone face to face. Although building credibility can be done online, it is best done in person where a voice can be heard and is not automized.