Public relations offer many benefits for companies and executives. PR provides broad exposure, creates awareness for the brand, and builds credibility and authority that result in more sales and revenues.
However, when done incorrectly, PR efforts can either fail to deliver the expected results or, in the worst case, cause actual damage to the brand. Here are four common PR mistakes that anyone embarking on a PR campaign should be aware of and try to avoid.
Mistake #1- Lack of Strategy
You rarely get into the car for a journey unless you know where you are heading. The same applies to PR. Every PR campaign should have well-defined objectives and a clear strategy to achieve those objectives. Failure to define measurable goals, the right target audience, or the right media to reach this audience might waste time and money without making the desired impact.
Mistake #2 – Bad Timing
Real-Time Marketing and PR, or RTM, refers to brands’ ability to align their messaging with current events. Timing plays a vital role in successful PR, but an untimely response might have a negative effect. A company planning a pitch for a product just after a similar story has been aired for a competitor is unlikely to set the media on fire. Likewise, responding late to a news item might be met with indifference. PR stories need to be up to date with industry developments and published when they are fresh and relevant.
Mistake #3 – Mass Emailing
One of the most common mistakes people make when pitching reporters is sending a mass email to multiple journalists. Journalists usually ignore these email blasts. They want to know how they can benefit from publishing the story and why it is suitable for them.
The email should be individually crafted for each reporter, be personalized, and target the journalists’ needs and interests. It can refer to past tories they have covered, mention why it is relevant to their audience, and why they specifically should be covering it.
Mistake 4# – Counter-productive Picture
We have all heard the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But a picture might unknowingly be counter-productive and harmful, as the following story demonstrates:
A young business owner was once featured in a very prestigious magazine. When asked for photos for the magazine article, he sent pictures of himself wearing a costly watch. The images were of the highest quality and taken by a professional photographer, but all the photos gave the impression that he was showing off with the watch.
The magazine readership consists of very wealthy people who are highly sensitive to bragging. The photos could have alienated them and could have caused real damage to this business owner’s image and brand. As PR specialists, we noticed this mistake right away and advised him against using the existing photos. He then had new photos taken for the article, with precise styling instructions and real-time expert guidance.
How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
Public relations mistakes can be costly and sometimes even harmful. A seasoned PR expert with sound, long-lasting relations with journalists, editors, and producers will ensure these mistakes are avoided and get your message across professionally and effectively.