Believe it or not, studies show there are six PR professionals per every journalist in the U.S.. It’s important, then, that organizations begin taking a strategic approach to public relations efforts and not view the practice as free advertising. Strategizing and being studious with your PR approach is essential to your success.
With that, here are three common PR mistakes and how you can easily fix them for future success.
1. Lack of Media Relationships
The focus here is on the word “relationships.” Having a person’s email address or phone number doesn’t equate to close ties. Relationships take time to develop. And the best way to think of them is as mutually beneficial. Build rapport and understand what they, the journalists,need or want to be successful.
Follow-ups are a necessity in media relationships too, but too much or too little can hurt. Following up every day, or a few times a day, can get on someone’s nerves. Waiting a week to follow up means trying to repitch old news or news that wasn’t of interest. Two to three times, spaced over a period of a day or two, should be plenty.
Cold calling can work, but make sure you have done extensive research before you attempt it. Publications can sense if there was no effort put into the call beforehand. Mass emails fall in the same category. Publications know when minor, personal touches are added to email blasts, and this can aggravate them. Instead, try to heavily personalize emails to each publication so it doesn’t feel like just another of the email’s 100 recipients.
2. Believing Everything Is Newsworthy
This mistake is more common in startups and new businesses, but it’s still a mistake that can break your public relations. While PR is needed to build relationships between your brand and the public, the latter — and, by extension, the press — isn’t interested in events that aren’t newsworthy.
When you reach out to a publication, it’s in a unique position to determine how newsworthy and shareable your news is in comparison with the myriad of other pitches it has received that day. You want to make sure your news can stand apart from the rest.
Thankfully, the solution is simple: Present yourself in a way that is both newsworthy and notable. For example, you can become involved in your industry-specific events or you can become involved with a local non-profit. If you start a new trend, then by all means get the word out and congratulate yourself — nobody else is going to do it for you.
3. Aiming Exclusively at Top Media Outlets
It’s easy to fall into this trap. After all, top media outlets offer what we all want — referrals, traffic, business, brand awareness, to name a few. But if your target audience isn’t there, or if your piece doesn’t fit with the nature of the publication, then your message will fall flat if it’s even published at all.
For example, an inner-city arts program that amplifies student voices isn’t going to gain coverage in a gossip magazine. The audience for your information likely doesn’t subscribe, so you won’t see any growth no matter how many people read that publication on a daily or weekly basis.
Instead, it’s more prudent to think of quality over quantity when getting your message out. Contact publications that are suitable for your target audience. For example, this inner-city arts program can reach out to a local newspaper or even a local television station. If your clients mainly consume smaller-market media, then focus your relationships on those.
And if you begin pitching to smaller markets with success, then pitching to larger media becomes easier. You’ll have a leg to stand on — and so will the story you want to pitch.
To find the right angle for your story, and to help with your next media pitch, contact us at GYC Vegas, the leading public relations firm in Las Vegas, with over two decades of experience in multiple industries including gaming, non-profit, yourism, and hospitality.