Four Common Mistakes When DIY-ing Your PR
Getting ready to start your own PR campaign? Good for you! It takes guts to go out there and try to bring in publicity, but it can also bring a worthwhile return for your business. In order to boost your success, make sure you don’t make these four common mistakes as you pitch media contacts and secure interviews.
1. Giving up.
Reaching out to the media is hard work. You’ll face a lot of rejection, and it can be easy to get discouraged thinking, “Am I ever going to get a placement?!” But remember: in PR (as in life) tenacity pays off! Don’t stop reaching out just because the media hasn’t returned your calls and emails. Even if they say they don’t have an opportunity for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t follow up with them at a later time to check in. Try a different story or try a different angle. Eventually you’ll make contact.
Once you do, work to build a relationship with that member of the media. And keep in mind that lasting relationships are a two-way street. Think of how you can help each other out, not just what you can get from that person.
2. Not being professional and gracious.
Maybe a media contact makes you think you’ve gotten a PR opportunity but then it falls through. Maybe they are rude to you. Whatever the case, do not cast aside your professionalism and respond in a negative way. Treat everyone you interact with throughout the PR process with nothing less than your best attitude. Doing anything else could limit your opportunities in the best-case scenario, or bring you negative press in the worst case.
Always thank a reporter, producer, editor, or whoever you speak with for their time, and offer your assistance if they need anything else. Professionalism and gratitude will go a long way to building strong relationships with the media.
3. Being unprepared for an interview.
It’s easy to say, “Once I secure an interview, that’s when I’ll prepare.” But this mentality could get you into hot water – what if a reporter calls with a tight deadline and wants to speak with you today? You should always prep for an interview that you know is coming up, but you should also have at least a basic preparation before you even start a campaign. Make sure any facts and figures you might want to reference are easily accessible, and outline possible questions the media could ask, as well as your answers to those questions. It doesn’t hurt to over prepare, but being underprepared is a waste of your time and the reporter’s. Plus it’s less likely they will call you again. So do your homework and make sure you’re ready to give a great interview, before you get started.
4. Trying to advertise during PR.
PR is not about selling. It’s about educating. If you try to market your products or services while pitching or interviewing, the results will not be good. Either the media will see through you and not call you back, or the audience will see through you and not trust your expertise. Working with the media through PR is like being given a megaphone – when everything you say is amplified, you need to make sure it is resourceful. Focus your PR on educating the public, and don’t worry about selling your business. If what you’ve got to say is truly helpful for the audience, if they have a need, they will come to you.
Keep these four mistakes in mind your PR campaigns should be much more successful. Good luck!