Why are some PR programs more successful than others, and what should you do when faced with a media relations program that just isn’t gaining traction?
Here are a few common PR mistakes.
You rely on blasting press releases rather than telling a story. “PR” isn’t shorthand for “press release.” A newswire spam strategy might have a temporary effect on search engine optimization, but it doesn’t work over the long term.
Your message isn’t memorable or different. Not every company or product is original, but nearly anyone can craft a distinctive, relevant story.
Your story doesn’t ring true. Authenticity counts. If the customer experience doesn’t live up to the claims, you’ll be lucky if a lack of coverage is the result. And remember, journalists and bloggers are customers, too.
You’re drowning in jargon or insidery factoids. Sometimes, the packaging of the message is at fault. Buzzwords are threatening to take over communications, especially in tech PR. It’s best to think twice before stringing together empty phrases like “unique, industry-leading end–to-end solution.”
Your approach is impersonal. It may seem ironic, but as traditional media shrinks, and email and marketing automation technology gets more sophisticated, the personal approach, whether to customers or media, becomes more important. One thoughtful email is worth 100 spam releases.
Your spokesperson is a dud. He’s caught in the weeds, too commercial, or overly cautious, or perhaps he’s well intentioned, yet disorganized or over-prepared. (Yes, there is such a thing.) The best brand spokesperson is engaged, prepared, and able to distill complicated information into digestible points and memorable examples.
You want a quick fix. It pays to act as a background resource for journalists and bloggers, even if your words don’t find their way into the story. Relationship building is just as important in media relations as it is in sales or business development.
Dorothy Crenshaw is CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week. A version of this story first appeared on her blog.