Public relations (PR) can help your brand get exposed to the right audience at the right time. But many people make these common mistakes when they think about implementing PR for their business.
Think of PR as Advertising
PR is not advertising, and it is not just about getting press coverage. However, many people think of PR as advertising.
The difference between PR and advertising is that advertising is always paid, and the main purpose is to promote a product, while PR placements are usually earned and have a newsworthy angle.
Additionally, while superlatives may be acceptable in advertising, they will not pass in PR. Avoid using adjectives and cliches in public relations messages like the following, unless it is in a quote or you have facts to back it up:
- Special / unique
- Exceptional / great
- Better / best
- Cutting edge
Don’t think of PR as advertising because if you try to send a journalist just information about your product, they will ignore it. Journalists care about news, industry trends and fascinating stories. You need to frame your stories to journalists as PR, not advertising.
Think Everything is Newsworthy
Just because you think something is exciting for your company doesn’t mean that a journalist or a reader in the general public will be interested. For instance, if you’ve moved to a new office that can require a lot of internal work and preparation, but likely no one externally will be interested in the story.
You should read stories in trade magazines, newspapers and online to get an idea of what is considered newsworthy in your industry. It might even give you ideas of stories you can work on for your company.
According to OWL Purdue, a story is newsworthy if it has one or more of the following characteristics:
- Relevance. Is it relevant to the journalist’s audience?
- Timeliness. How recent was the event?
- Unexpectedness. Was the event unexpected, like a natural disaster, accident or crime?
- Impact. How many people does this impact? Is it on a large scale or a small one?
- Conflict. Editors find stories with conflict to be more interesting.
- Prominence. Are there notable or famous people involved? That will make it more newsworthy.
- Continuity. Some stories stay newsworthy for a long time, like war, elections and protests.
Share More than Your Core Message
It can be tempting once you have an interview, or even in a press release, to share as much information as you can. However, that can actually water down your message and turn journalists away.
The media need information in short snippets that are easy to digest. The more you can tighten your message to what you know and what you need to discuss, the better.
Additionally, stick to your area of expertise. You may end up getting questions you don’t understand or cannot answer.
Don’t fall trap to these common PR mistakes! PR can help you build your brand and get your message in front of your target audience at the right time. But these common PR mistakes often prohibit brands from getting effective results for their PR efforts. You can also try working with a PR agency to help guide you to success in PR.