Publicity is vital in business success, end of. However, that doesn’t mean that all publicity is good for your company. I’ve just picked up Rich Leigh’s books ‘Myths Of PR’ and under the title on the book, it’s followed underneath with ‘all publicity is good publicity and other popular misconceptions’ and seeing as Rich is one of my biggest inspirations and thought leaders in this industry, this certainly rings true to me too. The purpose of public relations is to portray you and your business in the very best possible light. This can include anything from damage control to establishing yourself in the market, to begin with.
However, much like how having no PR for your brand can wreak havoc – so can poor PR practices. Making a slip-up with your PR can cause chaos within your company. So with that in mind, here are six PR mistakes to avoid.
Treating Journalists With Disrespect
Treating journalists badly will never end well. PR to journalist relations are so so important and getting it wrong can be absolutely detrimental not only to your campaigns, but also to your own personal brand as a PR person too. Whether you’re harassing them, spamming them, or acting like they owe you – the repercussions of these actions can be incredibly damaging. Those in the media are busy people, so you shouldn’t take it personally if and when they take a while getting back to you – or even don’t get back to you at all, because let’s face it, it happens. Instead, be patient and cultivate a respectful relationship with them.
Working Without A Plan
As with anything else in business, it’s difficult to be successful with your PR campaign unless you create a plan first. This should take into account your budget and timeline, as well as the channels you plan to use, including press releases and promotional material, like the Alpha Card. Without this plan, your campaign could be inefficient, or, worse still, completely ineffective.
Sending Pointless Press Releases
When you send out press releases every time there is the smallest development, journalists will largely begin to stop listening. This means that, when something important does happen, no one is going to learn about it. For this reason, you should only write and send a press release when there is something truly newsworthy and eventful happening within your business. And adding to that, if you’re working within an agency – make sure to spend time carefully crafting your proactive media relations. Shoddy press releases can blacklist your name if you’re not careful. So make sure you’re ONLY sending out the juicy stuff.
Neglecting Your Online Presence
Social media can be an incredibly effective tool for improving the reach of your PR efforts. It’s helped me to connect with some of the biggest names in the industry and has taken not only my blog and my personal presence to the next level – but also my career too. However, it can also ruin your overall digital presence. From abandoned Twitter handles to unprofessional Facebook photos, neglecting your social media can negatively impact your company image on a larger scale. To avoid this, you should take the time every now and again to clean it up. Plus, if you’re big on reactive comms – you’ll likely be tracking journalists activity all day on Twitter and sometimes Facebook too. So make sure they’re in order.
Pitching The Wrong Way
Pitches that are too wordy, too long, robotic, or just plain irrelevant aren’t going to help your PR efforts in any way. In fact, they could derail them. There are dozens of things you could do wrong when pitching, but you need to make sure that you don’t do any of them. If you can’t write a great pitch, then you’re going to waste a lot of time in the long run, so it’s well worth perfecting this art before going in for the kill.
When you work in PR, it’s really common to want to get something out there as fast as you can. Especially if you’re up against a developing story or a tight deadline. However, there’s nothing more gutting than sending out an email or even a statement and realising an error – or something that could’ve been better worded. I came across this unfortunate email on Twitter yesterday that was actually shared by THREE different journalists in my remit. At first glance, the subject header seems fine – but when you read it over, you’ll notice the unfortunate choice of words.
Don’t become the laughing stock of the journalist network – make sure that anything you put out there is proofed at least once (though I’d always recommend twice).
Do you have any tips to share, or any live-and-learn PR mistakes to avoid? Let me know in the comments below.
*This is a collaborative post, but all views and opinions are honest and my own*
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