Debunked: The five most common misconceptions about PR

Public Relations is an often-misunderstood field. Those unfamiliar with the industry, and even some PR professionals themselves can sometimes get the wrong impression about what the work involves, and what an effective PR strategy looks like.

Within this blog, our team have debunked the five most common misconceptions about Public Relations to give you a better understanding of how it can help you and your business:

5 Common misconceptions about PR

  • I will instantly get on TV
  • PR is the same as advertising
  • National PR coverage is best
  • There is no such thing as bad publicity
  • Anyone can do PR

Below we discuss these 5 common misconceptions about PR in more detail and what is important to consider when planning your businesses PR!

“Hiring a PR agency means I will instantly get onto ITV News or The One Show”

One of the most common misconceptions about hiring a PR agency is that people assume that you’re guaranteed to appear on BBC Breakfast or The One Show. We in PR know that it doesn’t work that way.

Whilst we are not saying it can’t happen, it does also take a lot of time, as does any other strategy. It’s unrealistic to think that one campaign or press release can make the business go viral. It requires an ongoing, consistent effort from all involved to achieve good results!

That’s why it’s important to set and manage these expectations from the start, to avoid any misunderstanding later.

“PR is the same as advertising”

There’s that old saying – ‘Advertising is telling everyone how great you are, whilst PR is getting others to tell everyone how great you are.’

PR goes way beyond advertising. When you break it down, advertising is paid visibility while PR is earned visibility. PR often includes a third party to endorse your brand or business, such as a journalist or an influencer.

The PR method of third-party endorsement often carries more credibility than a business who endorses itself with paid ads. In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study about what sources people trust most, the first three were recommendations from people they know, online recommendations, and editorial content, such as newspapers!

“National PR coverage is best”

Almost everyone wants national coverage, and who can blame them?!

Getting coverage in the National news is amazing, of course because it is great exposure, but it’s important to remember that it is not the only kind of great coverage that can get the kind of results you want.

There is real value in securing local, trade, sector specific and online coverage. Most businesses can achieve a far better return on investment in PR simply through targeting media outlets with highly relevant readerships.

If you’re selling a service that makes life better for, say, care home managers or care home providers, then the most sensible thing you can do is focus your efforts on the industry magazines and trade websites that write specifically for those audiences.

“There is no such thing as bad publicity”

We have the 19th Century American showman and circus owner, Phineas T. Barnum, to thank for this infamous phrase!

Though the saying has stood the test of time, it is certainly not the most sensible approach to public relations as we know it today.

A business’s reputation can take a long time to build, but just one mistake to destroy. You only need to look at recent PR mishaps like M&S filing the colin the caterpillar cake lawsuit against Aldi to understand that making a wrong move and generating bad PR can do some damage to an organisation, big or small.

Of course, if your business does become subject to some negative publicity, Here at Conteur, we have Crisis Comms specialists who can steer you and your business in the right direction.

We are here to guide you through that experience and help you come out the other end still standing tall!

“Anyone can do PR”

PR activity is far more complex than it often appears from the outside.

Developing strategies and key messages for businesses, generating pitches, developing impactful news stories, identifying audiences, building relationships, and accurately reporting on results are just the basic elements of PR.

PR also includes everything from crisis and reputation management, social media management, content marketing, media relations to any and all other tactics that will elevate a brand and expand visibility and credibility.

If you want to shout about your brand properly, its best to leave it to the PR pro’s!


Now that you have a clearer understanding of PR and public relations tactics, we hope this will help you to confidently invest in your own PR team! We’re always available to discuss how we can help, so why not get in touch with our friendly team? Call our Worcester-based office on 01905 670881 or email us at

Facts and myths sign in glowing neon style.

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