7 reasons your PR is failing

Frustrated that your PR doesn’t seem to be getting the reaction you had hoped?

Feel confused as to the benefits and not seeing the results you had wanted?

You could be making these common mistakes when it comes to PR for SMEs.

Used right PR can be a great asset and have multiple benefits for growing your business, from supporting your online presence, boosting social media engagement to increasing brand awareness. But get it wrong and the results could be less than inspiring.

We explore 7 reasons why you might not be getting the most out of your PR plans.

  1. Lack of a good brief and focus

As with any part of the business it is vital you take the time to define why you are doing something and what you want to achieve. By being clear on your goals and defining your key messages you can hone your activity and deliver the very best results. If you are working with a PR professional, make sure that you are clear about why you want to promote this story.  A good PR person will always take the time to define what your key messages are, what you want to achieve and explore the best ways of achieving that. Without a plan you are just firing out messages with no real purpose.

2. Misunderstanding what makes a news story

A product launch or award win might be big news for your business but if it isn’t of wider interest then it is not newsworthy. PR or public relations, looks at editorial opportunities within media publications. It is not advertising. You are not paying for space within a publication so are pitching to journalists to use your story as you believe it deserves wider exposure, it is of interest to the target audience. If your pitch sounds like an advert for your business it will automatically get canned. The art of PR is understanding what a journalist is looking for and explaining it in a way that grabs their attention.

3. No imagery

All media outlets need images to go alongside their stories. If you don’t have a standout image then you are already limiting your chances of your story being chosen. Think about how you can bring your pitch to life with great imagery and even short video footage if possible. In the digital era even radio stations look for quality imagery as stories can be reworked for the online outlet.

4. Targeting the wrong media

All publications have specific interests and areas that they focus on. Part of the art of good PR is knowing who to talk to and how to make sure you are reaching your target audience.

By understanding the stories that each publication is interested in you are increasing the likelihood of success. You could have a great story but if you pitch it wrong then the journalist might not see the relevant elements to them. For example, a regional paper might not be interested that you sell products across the globe but they would be very interested if a local business owner has designed a unique new product that is helping to save thousands of lives.

It is about understanding the areas of interest and making sure that you pull out the relevant key points.

Different journalists also have different strengths and interests so a good level of relationship building is needed to pick the right person to pitch to.

5. Working in silos

PR is another tool in your marketing armoury. As such it should be used to enhance and work alongside your existing marketing strategy. Build your PR in to your ongoing strategy. Look at ways it can enhance existing work rather than working separately. What are your key messages and how can you showcase that in multiple ways across lots of platforms. The constant drip feed of your message in various ways all helps to build up an engaging picture for your business.

For maximum impact share and feed your PR coverage into other marketing activities, in social media, on your website, in email marketing.

6. Treating PR as advertising

Some of the worst PR fails have occurred as people have misjudged how a journalist will interpret their information. PR is not advertising. I will say that again as it is so often forgotten – PR is NOT advertising. You are not paying for space in a publication for the journalist to reprint your exact wording. Any pitch or press release should be seen as a suggested story idea. Journalists will do their own research and change the content as they see fit. The art is identifying a story which is relevant and pitching it in a way that it is not misunderstood or which could take on its own direction. It is understanding how your words could be interpreted or whether the news cycle could change your well-meaning pitch.

7. Failing to measure

When it comes to PR success is about more than just the article or press coverage received. To find out how successful your campaign was in driving your aims careful consideration should be given to measuring. PR measurement takes many forms from analysing the tone and use of key messaging within the content to reviewing Google Analytics and website insights to track engagement and positive trends. To really understand how successful PR coverage is, it is important to continually measure data not only from that one activity but ongoing. This will reveal trends in website activity, engagement on social media, new visitors and contacts. The full impact might not always be clear without diving into the statistics and seeing how the activity all adds up.

PR is a skill that takes time to perfect. If you are struggling to get the results you had hoped for why not contact Creative Word PR for a free, no obligation chat. It may be that simple changes to your strategy could help you increase results.

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