A PR campaign can be a relatively high risk strategy. If you manage to secure yourself the long-term, sustained publicity that you hope for it is likely to reward you in spades. However, getting to this point can be tricky. Many companies produce press releases that spout out their news in a format that resembles an internal memo, but this can out your press release on the express route to the recycling bin.
Here are 5 of the top mistakes that companies make when launching a PR campaign.
Anyone can write a press release…and anyone does. You need to craft a press release.
Think about what you want to say and consider whether you can make your story more interesting by adding a human element to it. For example – ‘Elixir Radios Still Sound Great 100 Years On’ may be interesting to the people who already know or use Elixir Radios but not really to anyone else. A more interesting slant on the story may be ‘Elixir Radio gives 90 year old the gift of clearer sound’. Don’t worry too much about the length of the title. Your job is to get the journalist to spot your story.
The second huge trap that many companies fall into once they have written a press release is to send the same couple of paragraphs to every publication in the area (and maybe even outside).
For a successful PR campaign you need to issue targeted press releases that are relevant both geographically and topically. Tweaking a press release to include a vital piece of information that links the story to a different geography takes you from completely out of the ball park, to smack in the middle of it.
For example, a press release I wrote for a client based in one geographical location typically isn’t published in a nearby town as the client themselves fall outside of the publication's catchment area. By adding a few additional details about an individual featured in the press release we got the story mid-field and saw the publication concerned taking the story to print that week.
If you want to build brand awareness you need to keep a sustained press presence. One article a year in your local press isn’t going to cut it. What you need is a prolonged and sustained presence. This means that you need to have plenty of fresh ideas and someone who has the time and the perseverance to execute them.
Don’t think once your press release goes out that’s your job done. It’s only just beginning…
Once your press release gets sent out it’s highly possible that it may sit under a pile of very similar press releases about charity events run by companies, appointments, or sponsored hikes so aside from writing it so that it stands out in the first place you then need to draw attention to it.
Don’t shy away from a follow up email. You could send any additional photos that come to light (making sure you are still in time for the print deadline)
A follow up phone call to check whether any further information is needed can also be useful to both yourself and the journalist running the story.
If your article makes it to the paper, don’t forget to thank the journalist that wrote it up, and the person you sent it to.
But you don't have time to sit around and celebrate. You’ve scored the try, now to get the conversion. Get on Twitter and Facebook and share the news about your press release.
One press release I created for a client was duly tweeted about by the client as soon as it was featured in the local press and by the end of the week the story was featured on Worldwide Radio, TV and online. You can read more about how this happened here in our PR campaign case study.
If there aren’t enough hours in the day to get the PR ball rolling, or to keep it rolling, you can read more about our PR services and drop us a line.