Richard Edelman recently took issue with an article run in the New York Times, titled “Spinning the Web: PR in Silicon Valley.” This article, he said, “reinforces every stereotype about our industry and undermines our ability to make the case for our role as a serious advisor on both policy and communications.”
Here are five myths about the industry Edelman outlined:
- The best PR campaigns are done without media of all sorts (in favor of discussions with a few influential people on social networking sites). Contrarily, “the fact is smart PR people work at the intersection of social and mainstream media to create a continuing engagement with stakeholders,” he said.
- The job is all about relationships, with reporters, investors and celebrities. In reality, “we forge connections through substance, not show, as a reliable partner to media and to opinion formers, as well as the public at large.”
- We are now beyond PR and media relations. ‘we’re connecting people at the highest level, getting deals done.’ In actuality, “We are consultants, not decision makers,” Edelman points out.
- It is a distinct advantage to be an attractive female in PR.
- We do what the client asks, based on ‘gut’ feeling at the moment. “In fact,” he points out, “the best PR programs are based on listening to the community, whether it’s public opinion research or on-line audits. We do not discriminate against reporters or bloggers because they are too tough.”
What other myths and stereotypes exist about our industry? What can we do to break these down?