Every business needs to be aware of the costs it incurs and should try to manage them responsibly. One place executives often try to reduce expenditure is in the area of public relations. Especially in small and medium-sized businesses, it’s easy to think that there’s not enough PR work to warrant hiring an in-house team or an agency. But once you realize that PR involves a lot more than writing up a news release every six months or chit-chatting with a reporter every once in a while, it becomes clear that going at it alone brings its own challenges. If this is something you want to try, read the following article to learn about four common pitfalls of DIY-PR and how to avoid them.
Not Understanding News Value
The media landscape is a diverse and extremely busy one. When undertaking PR for your company, take the time to familiarize yourself with it well before you dive into pitching your stories to newspapers and magazines.
Often, PR novices make the mistake of assuming everything their company does or produces should be featured in leading publications. And while a new product launch or a technological advancement by your company might seem like something highly newsworthy to you, unfortunately, reporters will often disagree. Every day they have to choose from hundreds of submissions and pitches so, unless yours features groundbreaking information that has never been seen or heard of before, don’t count on it being published, especially by large general news publications such as the Bangkok Post or The Nation.
To increase your chances of getting featured, go for trade publications that have an audience interested in your topic. When you approach a reporter, let them know why your piece is relevant to their readers and how your information will help them. And, even then, ask yourself whether your pitch would be considered newsworthy by the media. If your answer is not a resounding yes, don’t send it. Filling people’s inboxes with too many pitches they deem uninteresting may soon lead them to start to ignore you.
Not Acting Professionally
In PR, you need to build a relationship with media representatives. To do this successfully, it’s important to follow some basic guidelines to ensure you act in a way that’s good for your cooperation with reporters and your company’s image. Apart from sending boring or off-topic pitches, coming across as a needy amateur is one of the best ways to get a bad reputation in media circles.
When doing your own PR, there might come times when you feel treated unfairly, overlooked or neglected. While this is definitely not a pleasant situation to find yourself in, the only thing you can do is get over it and hope to do better next time. Avoid calling up the journalist whom you feel wronged you to lecture them about why you should have been featured in their latest piece. Likewise, don’t call them up to ask for their help on getting featured. It’s not their job to train you and teach you how to write a great pitch.
Instead, reach out to publications you want to be featured in and volunteer your expertise. Let them know you are open to doing interviews or answering questions they have about your industry. Showing how you can make their job easier and helping them to get the information they need will go a long way and eventually get you those coveted features.
Public relations is like a science in many ways. It takes time to learn about and master all the different approaches. Whether you are doing your own PR or are working with a PR agency, you will see that a lot of trying and testing is involved. Because every company’s needs are different and markets are constantly changing and developing, you always need to find an edge and be willing to do something new and different, see if it works and move on. This can be very time- and energy-consuming, and it might be tempting to simply copy something a successful competitor is doing.
That’s something you should absolutely avoid, though. Not only could it have potential legal or copyright implications, but it can also lead to your image being damaged and your brand being diluted. Because your company is unique, you need to be promoted in a way that suits your brand and not someone else’s.
Expecting Overnight Results
Public relations is not something you do as a quick fix before the end of the quarter to boost sales at the very last minute. Rather, it’s about starting a conversation, building credibility and trust as well as nurturing relationships with the public, current and potential customers as well as shareholders.
Doing this takes time, effort, dedication and consistency. When done correctly, it can drive sales as your visibility is increased and your public perception is improved. However, unlike with marketing and sales (hence the name), raising your bottom line is not one of the primary goals of PR.
When starting a PR campaign, give it time. From the moment you devise a strategy and implement it to getting featured and seeing results can take several weeks or even months. The fact that it takes time doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. PR is an ongoing process in which you need stay engaged to see the amazing results it can bring in the long run.
If you’ve tried doing PR yourself but have decided you’d like to work with an experienced partner instead, get in touch with us by e-mail or have a look around our website www.midas-pr.com to learn how we can help you to get your company the media coverage you deserve.