Public relations is a major commitment that has the power to change any business for the better. While some companies can successfully take on PR initiatives themselves, the truth is that the DIY approach backfires for many. Without proper discipline and an excellent strategy, you could be inadvertently sabotaging your own PR efforts.
10 Ways Organizations Undermine Their PR Efforts
If you aren’t seeing the PR results you hoped for, one or more of these reasons could be to blame:
1. Lack of follow-through. Securing a dream media hit is great, but it’s equally important to continue the momentum and leverage that hit as part of a clear strategy. How will you use and reuse this kind of win for the good of your business?
2. Sparse website updates. Your website is the public face of your company. If the latest piece of content is from 18 months ago, visitors may take that to mean that you haven’t done anything of note in a year and a half. Plan to update your website once a month at a minimum to keep content fresh.
3. Administrative logjams. The news cycle moves quickly, and companies need to keep up. You don’t want to risk your relevant story becoming dated by the time it’s gone through layers of approvals. Get ahead of administrative logjams by streamlining the approval process and making approvals a priority.
4. Lazy writing. Everybody makes mistakes, but incorrect spelling and grammar can make your company appear careless or—even worse—incompetent. It’s essential to have an extra set of eyes on every piece of written content that you publish. I once came across a caterer’s website that listed one of its specialties as “figs wrapped in prostitute” instead of “figs wrapped in prosciutto.” It’s always worth double-checking your work to prevent that kind of mistake!
5. Inadequate messaging training. Anyone from your organization who speaks to the press should receive proper media and messaging training. Knowledgable, intelligent, well-spoken people bomb interviews more often than you may think. Prevent a PR nightmare with solid interview preparation that includes: message training, development of key talking points, and rehearsal. Even if you feel confident in your interview skills, a little assistance can go a long way.
6. Missing press kit assets. Members of the media are extremely busy. If they can’t find what they need for your story, like a high-resolution logo or image, they may run it without the assets you want or pass on it altogether. Having a comprehensive press kit that’s easily accessible saves time, helps you secure new opportunities, and ensures brand consistency.
7. Incomplete long-term planning. Many businesses fall into the trap of being reactive instead of proactive regarding PR. But preparing for the year ahead is key to reaching your target audience in meaningful and effective ways. Create a plan around events, media relations, and upcoming milestones—then stick to it. Leave room for flexibility, but try to avoid realigning your strategy more than once per quarter.
8. Poor messaging. It’s critical to control your brand messaging to prevent the media from getting the wrong information about who you are and what you do. Make sure your messaging is clear and consistent so you can reach your audience more effectively.
9. Taking a backseat. CEOs are understandably busy, but if they want their company’s PR to succeed, they must be fully invested in these efforts. CEOs create the company vision, and much of the storytelling in PR begins with their insights.
10. Putting off hiring a PR professional. Some internal communications and marketing professionals are skilled at achieving PR success, but it’s important to remember that PR is its own distinct practice, and not everyone specializes in it. Hiring a dedicated public relations consultant allows internal employees to focus on their areas of expertise.
I’ve seen firsthand how frustrating it is for companies to realize they’ve been undermining their own hard work. Many of them have approached me after the fact, saying that they wish they’d hired a PR consulting firm sooner.
The good news is that it’s never too late to ask for help. If you recognize any of these mistakes, I encourage you to contact me! Together we can get your public relations and communications strategy back on track.