Public relations is a fast paced world not for the faint of heart. Before you start email blasting press releases and spinning molehills into mountains, consult this list of the 6 most common PR mistakes:
1. Badly Written Press Releases – Nothing turns a reporter – the ultimate communicator – off like a poorly written press release. Writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit. If it isn’t yours, there are plenty of services out there that will take over the odious task of press release writing for you so you can get back to doing what you do best – publicizing your company.
2. Failing to Research – For most harried PR pros, the heat is on to place news stories and obtain media bookings. Because of this job-threatening pressure, it’s tempting to email blast that pitch, press release or fact sheet to every media outlet that seems remotely likely to cover your news. Resist! But if you’ve already made that mistake (and wasted the time of many annoyed producers and editors), take a deep breath, do your research, and the next time you pitch to that outlet, make sure the story is right up its alley.
3. Lack of Follow Up – The boss calls you into his office. “Why am I getting all these calls from reporters?” Oops. You sent out a press release and the story caught fire, but you forgot to prep the boss with facts, figures, quotes and all the other necessities he needed to give the media a good story. Get in the habit of prepping the boss, the other PR pros, the legal team, and everyone else who might get a call when you’ve sent a press release.
4. Overhyping – Admit it. PR pros don’t have the best reputation in some circles. And a large part of that problem is some PR pros’ tendency to overhype. Don’t invite a hundred reporters to a press conference for a “life changing announcement” only to tell them that you’re company is bringing in a new Vice President. That’s the quickest way to lose your credibility. Instead, focus all your hype on the big news and admit it when the other news just isn’t that newsworthy.
5. Prioritizing the Contact List – Just because that contact has “Editor-in-Chief” after her name doesn’t mean she’s the only person at the publication that matters. Some PR pros are too eager to step over the bodies of regular ol’ beat reporters to get to the EIC. Don’t be! Many great EIC’s, or broadcast producers for that matter, give their subordinates quite a bit of leeway. Any journalist is a great contact and shouldn’t be treated lightly. And you never know, with all the shakeups in the media these days, your beat reporter buddy may soon be sporting that “Editor-in-Chief” title after her name.
6. No Overarching PR Strategy – If you only listen to 1/6th of this list, this is the point to take to heart. All those other mistakes can be forgiven and forgotten, but floundering around without a PR strategy will get you nowhere. Your only choice? Take a break from the phone and email, sit down, identify your PR goals, and pinpoint where you want your company to go and how you plan to get there.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.