The Scary Side of Public Relations

By Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, Public Relations Foreman

It’s that spooky time of the year — so it seems like a good time to rehash some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients.

We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients. Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them.

1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them.

“Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers.

It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print.  

2. Negative comments on blogs and social media. 

Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media.

3. Giving interviews is intimidating.

When we set up interviews with trade publications, they often send some sample questions ahead of time to help you prepare. Knowing how you would answer those questions provides a foundation of confidence. Media people are not out to get you, and by providing an interview you’re helping them educate their readers and they’re helping you get your name and expertise out there.

Think of interviews as a conversation rather than an interrogation. Sometimes our clients are even given the opportunity to review and approve their quotes! And they’re often surprised by how articulate their quotes sound.

4. Am I missing out on all of the new things that pop up overnight?

You are probably familiar with this, it’s a condition called FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. Your company can’t, and shouldn’t, join every new platform or use every new tool that is introduced. If you’re suffering from a severe case of FOMO, work with your public relations people to set your goals and evaluate which platforms and tools are the best strategy for reaching your audiences and which ones would be a waste of time and resources.

5. I want to use the excellent testimonial from my customers, but I’m afraid to share customer information that my competitors will find.

When you’re confident with a customer relationship and know that you’re giving that customer the best quality and service, there’s no need to be afraid of telling their story. Testimonials are an excellent tool for building your credibility, when others read about what your company made possible for that customer, they’ll wonder what your company can do for them too.

When you feature a customer in a testimonial, you’re also helping them get their name out there and gain more visibility. And they’ll love you for that!

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