Biggest PR Mistakes

Most articles on PR and marketing bore me to tears after the first few sentences but a recent one didn’t. Steve Cody, co-founder and managing partner of Peppercom, offers up the five classic PR mistakes in his piece, Why No One is Talking About Your Company.

I’ve worked with many brands across many industries and a particular mindset continues to flourish – that getting media coverage is as easy as logging into your media database, whipping up a list and blasting your press release out to eager reporters with empty in boxes, who are just waiting for a great story.

Media relations is a tough biz. It takes a heck of a lot of time to cultivate relationships with reporters, understand what they need, what they write about, what they care about. And, once a reporter says they’re interested, it could take months before they do anything about it. Reporters, producers and editors and, now, bloggers are busy people with ridiculous amounts of information coming at them from all angles.

Of course, sometimes (more often than you want to believe), your “story” just sucks.

Cody offers up some terrific insight into ways to make your media relations efforts more fruitful. Who has time to mess around and spin their wheels? Not in today’s uberfast world.

Here are a couple of my favorite “classic mistakes” from Cody’s article:

Thinking one size fits all. As Cody writes, “I was an early believer in blasting out any and all news about my fledgling business. I was wrong. While I believed my new firm was the greatest thing since sliced bread, very few journalists agreed.” Cody goes on to describe how he learned to research reporters’ past work, understand each reporter’s “brand” and “hot buttons” and then create a pitch that fit within those parameters. That way is much more effective…and much more time consuming. But oh, so worth it.

Using corporate-speak. This one cracked me up. Sometimes it’s hard to get away from that mindset. Even if you’re pitching a reporter who covers your industry, you still need to take it easy with the jargon. Put your pitch into real people language. Ultimately your reporter friend would have to do that themselves anyway so make it easy for them to say yes to your story by helping them envision how it would come across to their readers.

For the rest, read Cody’s article on Inc.

Then, tell me, what are the classic mistakes you’ve made?