PR and marketing can be overwhelming and many don’t do it as often as they should because they are afraid of doing it wrong. Yes, you can make mistakes, however, once you know how to look for them it’s easier than ever to get great results for your business. Here are the top mistakes we have seen in business and what to avoid.
Mistake #1: Missing the Boat
There are numerous way to miss the boat when promoting your business. Here are just a few. First, not getting back promptly with someone from the media or responding too late will have you missing opportunity after opportunity. It’s imperative that when asked for additional information, you give it to them as quickly as you can or at least provide an update when they can receive the information.
Another way to miss the boat is waiting too long to respond to HARO or Profnet requests. Yes, they might give a deadline of several days, but normally once they get their information and expert source, that’s it. So waiting too long will leave you high and dry.
And finally, there is a delicate balance of when to send press releases or media. Timing is critical. Sending out press releases too early can have a negative impact as some will think they have time and just wait. If it’s too close to the event or whatever you are promoting you may have missed the media outlet's deadline. Plan accordingly.
Mistake #2: Getting Upset Over Things Out of Your Control.
Unfortunately, by the nature of the beast , things happen that are often out of your control. The best thing you can do is go immediately to Plan B. Say you are scheduled for a big interview and then a bigger news story delays that interview. It’s important to be professional and work with the network to reschedule. Know that it often isn’t their fault, so be flexible. It hurts, but hopefully will be resolved soon. Also, don’t follow up too much. They are busy with this new event that supplanted your interview and if they are getting dozens of emails from you to reschedule, guess what .. it’s not going to happen. While it’s good to follow up, don't be a pest.
Mistake #3 – Typos and More – When someone receives your pitch, press release, article, etc., and it’s riddled with typos guess what, they immediately think less of you. That’s harsh, but true. Now we aren’t always perfect, but do take the time to reread and make sure it’s accurate. Double check key things such as contact information and websites.
Mistake #4: Start/Stop/Start/Stop – Not Being Consistent with Your PR
This is what we see the most of in my work and is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes made. Clients go gangbusters and get the attention of numerous sources building a solid relationship and then they decide to slow down a bit or downright stop. Not only might we lose those sources, but when it’s time to start back up again, it can feel like starting over again. Most PR pros also know their clients well and as they work together to get to know them even more building a solid understanding of their business, brand, message, products and services, etc. When they stop, it takes some time to get that familiarity back again when they want to start back up. So don’t make this mistake. Commit and continue.
Mistake #5: Follow-up Media Calling
Too long, too unprofessional, too often. We do call media for a client, but it’s time-sensitive and very on point to be featured on the news or publications. Normally we don’t follow-up when sending press releases or articles out unless it’s very important. Most editors don’t want to hear, “Did you get my press release on an event taking place in two months.” So be very mindful if you do follow-up. When you do, get right to the point, be very professional, and have thick skin. Most will be receptive and nice, but you will get a few that aren’t. Brush it off and continue the journey.
Mistake #6: Missing Deadlines
Huge mistake (HUGE, said in the Pretty Woman tone) you can make in getting PR is missing deadlines or requesting too many extensions. Keep in mind most of those who have asked for additional information or questions answered are on a tight deadline themselves. When you miss it, you put them in a stressful situation. They are more than likely on deadline too. So know the deadline and always meet it. And yes, it’s AOK to say, “When do you need this by?” so you know the time frame to work with.
Mistake #7: The Same Ole’, Same Ole’
Have you ever followed someone you respected, but then it seems like their content is hitting the repeat button over and over again? Yes, they still put out new content, however, you can tell their heart isn’t into it. Always know that yes you will be in front of the audience often, but have something new. Look for motivation in different places. If your content is feeling stale, figure out how to amp it up. Recognize it first and then figure out how to change it.
Mistake #8: Hearing Crickets
Another huge mistake many businesses make is once they get media mentions, they don’t do anything with it. You should be shouting it from the roof tops, or at least adding it to your social media, blog, in the news page, newsletter, and more. Your audience, who already knows and loves you, will be interested in what you are up to so let them know when you get a media mention. So set up systems to do this.
Mistake #9: Playing Big Shot
Stop already. There is no need to sound smart and use all these fancy terms to show you are an expert. It usually has the opposite effect and leaves editors wondering what the heck you are saying and why you feel you need to impress them. Make your point, say it well, and forego of too much industry jargon or big words. Now we aren’t saying to dumb down your pitch, we just recommend that you sound like a human.
So many more we could address, but these are the biggies. And remember if you aren’t sure, ask the assistance of a PR Pro who does this day in and day out.
Diana Ennen is president of Virtual Word Publishing, which offers PR and marketing services, book marketing services, and PR and virtual assistant coaching. She has been featured in USA Weekly, Forbes, Inc. Radio, Fox News, Women’s World, USA Today, CNN, and Wall Street Journal. Follow her on social media at Facebook and Twitter.