Overcoming the 7 Deadly PR Sins committed by mid-sized companies

By committing one or more of these classic PR mistakes, your mid-sized company might be at the risk of falling behind the competition the all-important race to win and keep the customers. How many of these sins have you committed?

1. Believing that you have nothing newsworthy to share

The biggest misconception about PR is that it stands for Press Releases. Getting news announcements about your company published in media is just one public relations tactic. It’s an important part but not the only part of your PR strategy. PR strategy dictates what and how you tell the public about your company and should include:

  • Public speaking engagements and events
  • Bylined articles by the CEO & key leadership team
  • Media visits in key cities
  • Case study placement of your marquee clients
  • Customer Testimonials

The opposite of above point is also a deadly sin and i.e. Believing that the existence of your business is newsworthy

If you have invented the cure for bone cancer, then your business is inherently interesting. Most businesses are not. It requires skill and creativity to turn what your company is doing into newsworthy stories. Those who send out press releases announcing the minutiae of a small business’s dealings will just irritate journalists. For something to be genuinely newsworthy, it has to be out of the ordinary.

2. Our marketing manager deals with PR whenever we have something newsworthy to report

Organizations that handle PR on a case-by-case basis are wasting their time and money. First, a good public relations campaign isn’t just about press releases. (See above.) Second, to be effective, PR needs reach and repetition, just like advertising. In other words, a good PR strategy requires a plan and someone who is accountable for its execution.

3. We don’t do PR because it won’t help ring the cash register this quarter

No question about it, PR requires patience. It can take up to a year to start seeing the benefits of a modest PR campaign. So no, it won’t help ring the cash register this quarter, and maybe not even this year. The mistake is to think about PR as a short-term tactic, while it is a long-term activity just like the brand building, awareness advertising, competitive research and corporate training.

The value of PR is qualitative, not quantitative. So how do you know if your PR program is working? Look for these trends:

  • You’ll get feedback from industry peers and key customers.
  • Your sales reps will find that new prospects recognize your company.
  • Inbound calls to your customer service or inside sales groups will increase.
  • Reporters will call you for comment on industry and business trends.
  • You’ll be invited to speak at events and conferences.

4. We’ve explored PR but it’s just too expensive

You may have talked to an agency that’s too big for your business. A smaller agency may be better able to help you start small and then scale incrementally as results warrant. First, recognize the importance of a planned PR campaign sustained over time. Second, set a starting monthly budget you can live with. Then meet with two or three mid-sized agencies that have experience while working on your niche. Ask them to submit a plan of action for the amount you are willing to spend, and then select the resource that offers the best value.

6. We only chase the shiny objects

For every Times of India & Hindustan Times, there is a Cargo Connect or PC Quest. At times, we need to see what our prospective users will be reading than getting on to the mastheads of better-known publications. If you’re a B2B business and you’re targeting CXOs- they’ll be reading B2B magazines. Getting covered in consumer-centric publications or regional dailies will be of no benefit to you. At times, you will need to take big bets, but you must make them smart wagers backed by research and analytics.

7. We Use a Press Release Newswire to spread the word out

Press release newswires cost you money and may get your press release onto Google News, but they almost never cause your story to be used by proper publications. Decent journalists don’t read pay-for newswires because these are packed with press releases that are spam. Save your cash, and send your press releases directly to a hand-selected group of journalists. Just use the search facility on newspaper websites to find out which reporters write about each topic. You ought to be able to guess a journalist’s email address. For radio and television programs, you may find that ringing the broadcaster’s switchboard and asking to be put through to the producer on the relevant program works.

Check if your business is committing any of these PR sins. And you know what the great thing about these mistakes is — that they are all addressable. Once they’ve been identified in your company, you can effectively use PR for the growth of your brand.