Doing your own PR? Here are five mistakes not to make

SmartCompant, 5 July 2021,

Adrian Falk

Public relations can increase your company’s credibility, help with SEO, and has great reach for communicating with a wider audience. When building your business, reaching media outlets can be a great way to grow your brand and secure new opportunities.

PR can allow you to position your company as a brand leader by demonstrating expertise and knowledge in your field. It can also be more cost effective than traditional marketing techniques, but there are mistakes that entrepreneurs are making time and time again, stunting the growth of their company.

Here are five mistakes companies are making when doing their PR:

1. Not offering an exclusive story

Media relations is very similar to dating. You must be careful about when and whom you become “exclusive” with.

If you fail to consider offering a story to the media as an exclusive, you may be forfeiting a great opportunity for your company. An exclusive is offering an interview or story to a single journalist with the understanding that they will be the first to receive this new information.

The story is then released to other media outlets after the exclusive runs.

Offering an exclusive will give you greater control over your story’s release and it can result in a more significant coverage than a release to dozens of media outlets at the same time. Offering an exclusive can also be good for building media relationships that you may need again in the future.

2. Pitching the same story to international markets

After you successfully grow your idea into a business, it is natural to have aspirations to reach an entirely new audience.

Regardless of how you’ve run your company previously, when entering an international market, the pitch needs to be adjusted to meet their local ways.

This means adjusting the content and format of your pitch to meet the business protocols and have cultural awareness of each nation’s consumers.

It is important that you research the region you are hoping to tap into because there are major cultural differences in international markets that could prevent your message from being understood clearly.

Differences such as currency, size, metric systems, and spelling may change depending on the region you are in, which you need to be aware of in order for your content to be understood and relatable in international markets.

3. Not doing your research

In order for your PR pitches to be more successful at hitting your target audiences, you need to first understand the journalists’ platforms. In the public relations world, journalists are being hammered with misguided pitches and stories that are not relevant to their audience.

Not understanding a journalist can be the difference between pitching to a highly relevant industry outlet and pitching to an outlet that has absolutely nothing to do with the field your company is in. If you blast your press release to everyone, you’ll end up having a bad name among journalists, which can ruin your media relationships.

When seeking PR opportunities, focus on key media outlets that will be more open to discussions and topic suggestions about the content you wish for them to release. In some instances, it’s better to target a news outlet that has a lower audience but is more relevant to your target market, than a larger news site with readers that aren’t really your customers.

4. Following up too many times

Many entrepreneurs struggle to find a balance in how many times to follow up with a journalist after their initial pitch.

Although follow up emails are a useful tool if used correctly, they could also block you from getting your message in front of anyone at all.

Following up too many times can do more harm than good because the journalist may label you as “spam” and block you from all contact.

Only follow up once because no answer is still an answer, and always follow up on a different form of media.

Remember to show journalists respect by not bombarding them with information, or expecting instant replies and coverage. It is key for entrepreneurs to keep in mind that the media is doing them a favour, not the other way around.

5. Not being prepared for the media interview

At some point in your career, a journalist will likely call for an interview or invite you to appear on a television or radio program. This is an important opportunity for you to let the world know more about yourself and your business. You will want to show off your area of expertise to the public but in order to do this successfully you must be prepared.

The best way to be prepared for an interview is to ask the interviewer several questions beforehand: Will the interview be live? May I receive a list of the questions that I will be asked?

These are all important things to know before the interview takes place because you will need time to prepare and practice your responses.

Practicing your responses will allow you to use your words, tone, and body language to deliver your message in a powerful way. Being prepared for your interview will give you confidence in speaking with the media about different topics regarding your business and help further to position yourself as an expert.

Editor’s Tip

You should practice for video interviews by sitting in front of a mirror and recording yourself. This will let you work on your involuntary movements and delivery.

Audiences trust speakers that don’t fidget, move, or look away more than those who do. By working out what your involuntary movements are, you can better eliminate them.

You can also try these behavioural science hacks to look relatable, and sound reliable.

Fixing these common mistakes that companies make will help set you on the right path when going about implementing your PR campaign. New businesses that manage and maintain PR effectively have better growth opportunities than those that don’t.