6 mistakes businesses make that prevent PR success – Part One

Don't lose a PR opportunity for your business

A good public relations (PR) campaign contains a number of ingredients starting with hiring the right PR agent, a creative professional with the right media contacts and solid relationships. However, there are several things a business needs to do to optimise the positive effects of PR. This blog series will identify common mistakes many businesses make that prevent maximum PR returns.

Have you made any of these mistakes?

1. Unavailable talent

Your PR agent has lined up a juicy media opportunity, but you’ve decided to take the day off and head to the beach—this is a big no-no. Always get back to a journalist as soon as you can. If you wait 24 hours (sometimes even less), they are likely to move on to find an available spokesperson. Journalists often work to tight deadlines and several will need information from their sources within 24 hours of contact. If your key business spokespeople do not make themselves available, an opportunity can fall through.

If you suspect you will be unavailable at certain times, for example you’re taking leave or you’ll be attending a conference or important meeting, let your PR agent know. A professional PR agent will never pitch anything to a journalist without knowing that the business owner or designated spokesperson will be available for any media requests around that time.

2. Website not fit for purpose

A journalist may be keen on interviewing you and head to your website to get some background information only to find a site that’s unappealing, unprofessional, outdated, unattended or amateur. Considering the media outlet needs to think of its audience, how do you think a journalist would feel about featuring a business with a website that was not up to scratch?

Think about your website as a representation of all you want to be known for as a business. First impressions are formed very quickly so ignoring aesthetics and having a difficult to navigate website will let your PR campaign down.

Another mistake is having a great-looking website only to find it can’t cope with increased traffic after positive media coverage, which may cost you customers down the line. Talk to your web hosting service to find out how to deal with pressure on your bandwidth.

3. Poor interview skills

The journalist is on the line and you’re tongue-tied. Oh dear. Make sure you prepare for each interview by having speaking notes in front of you as a prompt. These notes should be a list of possible questions with a list of talking points so you don’t forget to mention things. Tip: Don’t read from the notes; it sounds obvious and stilts conversation.

Your PR agent should be able to give you advice on the interview skills you need to strengthen your talking points and speaking style, and some offer media training so you can learn and practise how to stay on message. This will help you give a journalist what they want while positioning you in the best light with your message being communicated in a concise and compelling way.

A good PR agent will also brief you on how to answer difficult questions. Don’t be tempted to ‘cut to the chase’ and write your own rules; as a professional, your PR adviser would have thought long and hard about the best approach to take.

Not only will avoiding these bad practices increase your likelihood of receiving great media coverage, it will help ensure you do not damage the media’s perception of your business and their willingness to deal with you again.

Stay tuned for Part Two  of this series, for more common mistakes that businesses make that cost them PR opportunities.

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