As competition becomes fierce, companies are struggling to differentiate themselves. It’s important to look to public relations professionals for help. Hiring the PR pros can benefit your company by increasing brand awareness and developing your company’s credibility but just like any other industry, mistakes can be made if the proper steps aren’t followed. Here are some of the most common mistakes made public relations professionals and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1: Lack of Plan
Plain and simple, the field of public relations comes down to strategy. It’s by no means a job that can just be done by winging it. With that being said, the daily duties most public relations pros will change rapidly and it’s necessary to plan accordingly. Not only do you need to plan out every step, you should always be prepared with a backup plans.
Mistake 2: E-mail blasts
We all know the common phrase “quality over quantity,” well; this is especially true when pitching journalists. Always stay away from crafting a general pitch to send out to one hundred irrelevant journalists. This will only set you up for failure. Rather, make sure the only people you reach out to fit the industry and needs of the client. Always tailor each pitch to every individual on your email list. Many PR pros treat pitching as a numbers game but it’s far more valuable to spend the extra time researching only those few key journalists. Go a step further by mentioning past stories they’ve written about on a similar topic, they’ll be flattered you took the time to appreciate their work.
Mistake 3: Drawn-out Pitches
When contacting journalists it’s important to keep your emails and phone pitches short and to the point. They are often on a tight deadline and don’t have time to scroll through five persuasive paragraphs and a press release. Be courteous to them by compiling all the information you need in a couple strong paragraphs. It’s helpful to take the most important information from the press release and break it down into simple bullet points.
Mistake 4: Poor Timing
Timing is everything, be strategic when considering the timing of a pitch. Month to month you’re pitch angle will change. It’s helpful to research editorial calendars of publications that fit your client’s industry and plan out your pitches at the beginning of the year. Some publications will write their stories months in advance, therefore, the sooner you can prepare for the seasonal pitches and monthly opportunities the more likely you are to place your client in that outlet.
Mistake 5: Staying inside the box
More often than not public relations pros stay within their comfort zones pitching the same newspapers, radio stations and television stations each month. When you do this you’re not using your savvy abilities to the fullest potential. It’s important to push yourself out of this pattern because it’s only doing the client a disservice. With the Internet readily available there is an infinite amount of opportunity at our fingertips. Be sure to brainstorm out of the box pitch angles and innovative ways to get coverage for your client.