The goal of public relations is to show your business in the best possible manner. This can range from establishing yourself in the market to damage control. Unlike advertising, your goal is not to pay for space in the media but to persuade the media to take an interest in your business and to write or report on your business activities.
First of all, let’s look at the definition of PR mistakes.
What are PR mistakes?
PR mistakes are when any negative event or review related to your business gains traction in the public sphere. It could be related to an unhealthy business practice, a customer accident at your location, or an internal, employee-related issue.
However, as much as PR is an important tool for brand visibilities, there are certain mistakes that should be avoided. Below are some mistakes you should avoid;
1. Incorrect targeting: Journalists are the window to your target audience and it’s important to remember that they serve their interests and not your businesses. A common mistake that businesses make is to assume that what they think is news is relevant to a reporter. A new customer, a hire, or an office move may be big news for your company, but it doesn’t translate to an effective PR campaign. The key is to work in collaboration with the key journalists in your target media to understand the story hooks, topics, and assets that will resonate with their audience. 70% of publishers are open to getting pitched a set of ideas that fit their beat, and they prefer collaboration over getting pitched a finished asset without prior contact. Each publication will have its own editorial style and content requirements. It’s important to tailor your PR pitch specifically for each publication you target and to work on the assumption that one size will not fit all.
2. Failure to tell a good story: big news for your company will not necessarily translate to your target audience. The most effective PR campaigns are based on the ability to tell a good story. Crafting persuasive and compelling narratives is no mean skill, and it is this attribute that gives PR its place in the marketing mix. It starts with a deep understanding of your business and the specific problems that your products and services solve for your customers.
The way that you deliver these key messages must then be driven through personality and told through your brand persona. Make your story compelling by discussing the key issues that your prospects are facing, championing causes close to their heart, and sharing best practices. Telling your story authentically creates a bond of trust with your audience so avoid sales pitches at all times and involve your audience and business stakeholders in your storytelling where possible.
3. Failure to understand the pressure of a journalist: Against a backdrop of spikes in fake news and the rise of social media as a news source, 71% of journalists believe that the public trusts them less than they did three years ago. As a result, journalists are becoming more selective about what they choose to report on. Consequently, PR professionals will need to make compelling cases that which their information and news are worth coverage. But don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results, especially if you’re trying PR for the first time. Public relations should be seen as a long-term strategy and a collaborative approach is a key to generating strong relationships with your key media and positioning your company as a go-to source of reliable information. 57% of top-tier publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week so if you are not successful on your first pitch that’s not to say that future pitches will also fail.
4. Press releases without purpose: Like the boy who cried wolf, if you send out press releases every time there is a minor development in your business, people will stop listening. And when something really important occurs, editors will already be in the habit of hitting delete when they see a press release from your business. Do not try to make stories where they do not exist. Some publicists actually do this to look busy and justify their billing.