Six public relations mistakes to avoid

Bloomingdale’s creepy “date rape-y” ad, Ivanka’s “flammable scarves” were just two of the biggest non-political PR blunders over the past year or so. AdWeek has a list of several more if you want to learn what not to do.

However, PR blunders aren’t just something the big brands make. Small and medium sized businesses have their fair shares of public relations disasters as well. Even if you’re working with a PR agency, digital media firm or even an integrated media/corporate bartering company, there is always the possibility of making a PR mistake if you’re not careful.

Here are some public relations mistakes you should avoid making:

Not having a corporate PR policy

Even if you have a small business, you should still have a corporate PR policy that governs how stakeholders and employees should engage with the public. Create an outline with objectives, such as who is allowed to speak with the media, content guidelines, what kinds of topics should be confidential, and so forth.

Trying to release press releases en masse

Just because something might seem like a big deal to you doesn’t mean it will be to anybody else. Bombarding a bunch of journalists and publishers with one press release after the next will do more harm than good. We advise clients to spread them at minimum one week apart. If you are sending loads of news, you may be viewed as annoying. Only send out a press release when there’s something MAJORLY important going on with your organization. Even still, you will want to refrain from sending it to everybody. Select the media outlets that are actually involved in your industry or to journalists who tend to cover such stories.

Automated pitching

When trying to introduce new products to journalists, it’s important that you to compose pitches that are personalised, well-written and attention grabbing. You won’t be able to get away with email automation (or any form of automation).

Bad timing with launch dates

It could be the greatest thing ever invented, but if you don’t choose the right time to launch it, your product might not get as much coverage as you’d like. The Paid to Exist blog recommends asking yourself this question when planning a launch “How can I make it impossible for this to fail?” One way to prevent failure is to wait for the ideal time when there are no other events going on. Avoid launching on holidays or during planned announcements by major brands or news organizations.

Angering or upsetting journalist

Individuals involved in the media tend to be very busy. Always be polite when approaching them, even if they’re ignoring you. Do not just keep spamming them and emailing them. You could end up offending them, even if you don’t mean to. Sometimes it takes some patience to cultivate a relationship with a journalist.

Making embarrassing social media posts

This is why you should be careful with who you let have access to your company’s social media accounts. There are so many things that can go wrong with social media. It could be something as simple as bad spelling or grammar to much worse something highly controversial and potentially offensive. The problem with it is that it never goes away, even if you delete it.

You can avoid these mistakes with planning, timing and caution. It helps if you invest in a good PR expert or company, like Vitis PR. Or if you have products, and are reading this from the US, then you might also be interested in corporate trading services from firms like Sherwoods Integrated Solutions. They offer product and fee in return for exposure.

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