If you’ve decided that 2018 is the year for your brand to become the go-to in your industry, you need to consider Public Relations (PR) as an essential part of your marketing and communications strategy. Before you even think about contacting a journalist or sending a media release, here are 3 common PR mistakes that a qualified specialist can help you to avoid.

 

Mistake #1: Expecting miracles

 

So you email pitched a journalist a couple of days ago and you haven’t been approached for a feature length story yet… how can that be?

We don’t want to use the word ‘miracle’ but it’s difficult not to here: truthfully, a journalist picking up a story to provide you with high quality coverage off the back of one email from someone whose name they don’t even recognise, would be close to a miracle. Sure, you might be lucky enough to get the odd quick win but if your strategy is to become newsworthy, you’re going to wind up feeling disappointed. A key part of success is knowing how to build meaningful relationships with the media for the long term. This requires expertise, strategy and in-depth knowledge of the media news cycle, what makes individual journalists and publications tick, understanding when to pitch and how to pitch, as well as understanding how to position your brand.

Becoming newsworthy is a labor intensive process. Contrary to popular belief, It’s not as simple as having a media kit and reaching out to as many journalists as humanely possible. A PR specialist can take all the guess work out of this and instead, create a strategy of where and when to pitch your brand so that instead of you chasing the media, they begin chasing you.

 

Mistake #2: Failing to understand the news media cycle

 

It’s vital that you understand the different time pressures various mediums are under. An online media outlet can turn around a story a lot quicker than a monthly magazine publication. You really need to get your planning right when it comes to PR. You can’t expect to pitch a Valentine’s Day story to a magazine that goes to print monthly in February – chances are, that edition will be going to print in the last couple of weeks of January. Again, a professional will be able to pinpoint and work with you as to how far out you need to be working with your PR to secure coverage in the key media you’re targeting. You can have the best piece of content in the world but if your scheduling is out of whack, you’re not going to get the results you’re after.

 

Mistake #3: Using PR as advertising

 

If you’re looking to showcase how brilliant your products and services are, it’s a far better strategy to pay for advertising than to go down the PR route. Being newsworthy is about enabling quality journalism by putting your thought leadership forward. Any high quality journalist will go digging to investigate a story further. A PR specialist will be able to steer you in the right direction by helping you to understand what constitutes advertorial versus editorial content and provide you with some guides as to possible directions a journalist may take with a media release or pitch. Remember, storytelling is subjective so what you may view as the best piece of news since the invention of the Smartphone, may not be what the journalist is after. Journalists are looking for credible sources, reaching out to them with something that isn’t newsworthy, won’t help your cause.

When done well, PR can help to establish your brand as the go-to in your field. Like anything that’s worth doing, it takes time and investment in expertise and strategy to build quality PR presence.

If you’re keen to investigate what your PR Strategy could look like for 2018, reach out to discuss what we can achieve together.

Sarah Cannata

Founding editor at This Woman Can
Sarah Cannata is the founding editor of This Woman Can, a trained journalist, PR consultant and has over 6 years' worth of experience in Communications. She's also an aspiring picture book author.

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