Public Relations: Expectations vs. Reality


Much like the holiday season, our expectations around public relations often do not line up with expectations. Today we are exploring how to make sure your reality is more Hallmark movie and less Cousin Eddie in the RV.

There are many misconceptions about public relations. It’s an industry with fundamental parts that haven’t changed much, but one that is ripe for innovation. That urge for potential disruption is probably what fuels those misconceptions. Brands must ask themselves: our industry is moving rapidly and changing every day, so why isn’t PR keeping up the same pace? 

The reality of public relations is tricky. Gone are the days where professionals can simply call in a favor to the media and get coverage on behalf of a client. That old school approach worked when there was less competition. The current landscape is much busier, and more confusing for some. 

Vintage Logotype Etsy Banner (1)

[Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash]

But here’s a quick primer on how PR professionals can navigate the expectations versus reality of the industry:

Communicate Realistic Plans

Clients sometimes automatically assume media coverage will happen right away, and often expect to see huge results within the first month or so of on-boarding. While some big splashes might occur depending on the client — a notable funding around or high profile hire, for example — that isn’t the case in general. One big name publication won’t always yield the highest ROI. 

A thorough PR strategy enables you to be able to make communicating a message as versatile as possible in the best way possible. It also helps maximize the success of PR efforts and helps to grow your client’s business.

With a strong and well-thought-out plan, PR professionals can undercut clients judging effectiveness based solely on media hits. Placements, and the media relationships that facilitate them, are a fundamental piece of the PR puzzle — but not the endpoint.

Think Beyond the Quick Hits

By taking the time to plan, PR experts will guide a company’s story to the public willing to listen. And the public that ultimately supports their goals as a company. 

A true expert knows that the extent of their job is much more than just PR. A single piece of coverage is a nice thing to brag about in your weekly meeting, but extending the life of a pitch, angle, or placement  by utilizing multi channel tactics like email marketing and social media channels to amplify your press coverage to your target audiences exponentially increases the shelf life and value of the coverage. 

Be Accountable

Measuring the success of your PR strategy is usually a grey area. It’s one thing to offer clients vanity metrics like advertising equivalency value or readership reach (UVPMs), or even (KPIs) for what you want to achieve. For N6A, that isn’t enough.

We’ve created Outcome Relations, which reinvents PR to make it relevant to today’s generation of brand leaders. Like other marketing disciplines, the OR approach recognizes that it is the organization’s job to reverse engineer desired business outcomes by getting a company’s products and services in front of targeted personas in a compelling way.     

By specifically monitoring your plan’s success via outcomes, you’ll not only have a measurable scale for that plan, but also know how to improve on similar strategies in the future. 


The expectation is that hiring a PR agency will make a brand go viral overnight, trend on Twitter, be the lead story on the evening news… the reality, though, is that a well-thought-out strategic plan with multi-channel amplification is required to reach a defined goal for that business and their goals. 

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