Guest post: From short-termism to hard-selling, Kathy Casciani identifies six common, but avoidable, public relations mistakes
Public relations (PR) is a valuable part of the marketing mix, and an essential tool when it comes to building trust and authority for your brand or company. (OK OK, so I’m biased.) But with so many new and diverse platforms, tools and publishers at our disposal – from websites to blogs to podcasts – companies and brands of all sizes have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of earned media.
However, it isn’t enough to buy into the power of PR…taking the right approach is crucial. After 25 years in public relations, there are a few common missteps that I see companies repeatedly make when they are investing in PR for the first time. Here are a few of the big ones:
1. They don’t give PR enough time.
Too many companies bail out when they don’t see results immediately. It takes time to build authority and recognition for your brand or founder and find your pitching groove. And you’ll likely need to start with some lower-hanging fruit before working your way up to the top-tier outlets on your wish list.
2. They don’t have a strategy or plan in place.
Many companies and founders expect “results,” but they haven’t given any real thought to what types of results will most positively impact their business or how they plan to achieve those results. Practicing random acts of public relations is not a good strategy.
3. They’ve blindly delegated the PR process.
Many founders are guilty of hiring an agency or contractor and then disappearing. In reality, your PR person or team needs you to stay actively involved, particularly if thought leadership is part of your strategy. Unless you’re DIY-ing it, PR involves ongoing collaboration between the execs and/or thought leaders at a company and the person doing the outreach.
4. They want everything but the kitchen sink in their pitches and press releases.
If your PR person edits a pitch or press release to make it shorter, there may a good reason for that. Brevity = empathy and respect for your audience. (In this case, the audience is busy, overwhelmed reporters!)
5. The approach PR through a lens of selling vs. helping their audience.
Way too many businesses think of media interviews as a chance to sell their product or service, rather than an opportunity to help the readers or listeners. This is an important mental shift that will result in much better interviews and relationships with reporters. No one wants to talk to the guy who is simply there to push what they are selling.
6. They don’t share their PR results.
Landing an amazing media placement is a starting point, but never assume that your stakeholders will discover it on their own. Sharing media results in places such as your website and social channels is a crucial step that serves you AND kindly acknowledges the reporter or host that included you in the story.
Public relations can be one of the best and most affordable ways to garner trust and visibility for your company. Just make sure you have a sound strategy, a service-oriented mindset and enough resources in place to ensure success…not to mention a healthy dose of patience!
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Kathy Casciani is the principal of Azul PR + Communications. I first read her thoughts in a post she made on LinkedIn – and reached out to her for permission to run it as a guest post.
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Image credit: DALL-E, “an impatient public relations executive who is hard selling and blindly delegating duties in the style of Edvard Munch”