PR-agents don’t necessarily have a good reputation. To put it bluntly, a lot of people think we create advertising–– but in an insidious manner, namely that we „bribe“ journalists so that they will write about our clients. Or even worse: we lie and make up stories to get media coverage. Just like some Hollywood stars who fake a scandalous affair. Or like the unpaid New Zealand U.N. intern who lived in a tent on Lake Geneva supposedly for lack of money*. Because of such actions we are often described as PR-hacks who think up PR-gags all day long. Just storytelling – telling fairytales.
Fairytales? Please! I will not deny that they exist. But actually, public relations is a very honest profession. In the PR field comprehensive codes have been developed which are based on the codes of conduct for the press.
Journalism enjoys great confidence with people due to freedom of the press; it is credible – and critical. Therefore, it is not so easy for a client to get his products in the media. Because the journalist doesn’t just select the press releases but he also is free to decide what to do with them. How he writes about them. On the other hand, a journalist is often grateful for topic suggestions and we PR agents can offer a lot of them. It is our job to find exciting themes that we coax out of our clients.
The clients know their stories, but they often don’t know that they are worth something. As the saying goes: Every person has a story that deserves to be told. The same is true for brands. We don’t make up stories, instead we know how to tell them correctly. That’s storytelling. That is what we do.
* By the way, he wasn’t really broke, rather he wanted to draw attention to the hypocrisy of unpaid work.