10 falsehoods about PR

Sometimes communicators must challenge misconceptions in order to explain what public relations truly means. Here’s where you can start. 

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PR’s 110th anniversary is coming up.

Ivy Lee, arguably the founder of modern PR, published his Declaration of Principles about the purpose and value of PR in 1906. Despite more than a century of activity, PR professionals are often asked to define what we mean by PR.

We may explain that PR is about building relationships, reputation management, promoting value and thought leadership by engaging with different groups of people. To outsiders, such explanations don’t mean much, and don’t challenge their preconceived, false notions of PR.

You can further explain by vanquishing misconceptions. Here are the top 10 things PR is not:

1. PR is not spin, lies or misrepresentation.

Spin is bullsh**. The fancy definition is it’s the deliberate distortion of truth: the propagation of lies or a truth so diluted and vague that it’s no longer recognizable.

Spin is to PR what stupid is to Albert Einstein. It’s the Bubonic Plague of communications. PR is about building relationships and credible reputation management.

2. PR is not marketing or advertising.

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