3 Most Common PR Mistakes
The PR (Public Relations) business may be easily defined as the business of making your client look good. Whether you’re doing PR for a product, a service or an organization, the end goal of your project is always “to make it look good”. Or look better. My first encounter with Public Relations was way back in college. I spent an entire semester reading about it, studying it and learning how important it is in business. Now that I’m out of college, I bump into it almost every day until I realized that I fit snugly in this industry. So, armed with a Marketing degree and ten years of experience in advertising and corporate events, it was easy for PR to sweep me off my feet. Almost everyone will start out DIY-ing their PR, and if you’re one of those people, here are three tips about the mistakes you don’t want to commit:
PR Mistake #1: Saving the Meaty Part for Later
Many writers disregard (or forgot!) the reasons why the inverted pyramid as a story writing format became a classic. For those who didn’t know about this, the inverted pyramid is a style of writing where the most important data of the story is placed at the top and then the information that follows afterwards are just the supporting details. In “importance grading”, it’s like an inverted pyramid because the bigger side is at the top. Every PR story or advertisement should follow this.
See, it’s good to also “save the best for last” but a lot of people really don’t have time to wait around for what’s going to appear next. This principle is especially useful in the Internet world. Studies show that you only have less than 5 seconds to impress your first time page viewer. If you don’t get his/ her attention by then, remember that it also takes a fraction of a second to click that close button at the upper right corner of the window. A shocking title, a meaty sub-title, and a punchy first line will always do the trick. Then enchant your reader with a powerful first paragraph. Impress, satisfy and ignite interest from your audience as soon as you can. When you got that running smoothly, everything else will follow.
PR Mistake #2: “We” instead of “You”
Look at your company profile. Do you constantly talk about how long you have been in the business, how good you are, how many customers you’ve served, et cetera? Do you fill your copy with “we” instead of “you”? Many businesses think that the best way to impress their audience is to brag about themselves. Though this may spark interest as well, the best way (really) to incite action from your viewer is to drop the benefits part. After all, what comes after you impress them? Do they walk away with the good impression? Shouldn’t they do something? Answer these questions: What benefits do they get from your product/ service/ organization? How will it help them? What kinds of feelings must your PR effort (may it be a picture, an ad, a statement or a press release) leave on your viewer?
PR Mistake #3: Releasing an Advertisement, Not a Story
Now, for the tricky part, many businesses do PR to advertise something, instead of telling a story. See, people now have become smarter buyers. They know which ends some companies would go just to make a sale, or make themselves look good in public. This is why you need to take a softer approach in PR. You must showcase your business as something that has an identity of its own, with its own stories to tell. For example, if you’re releasing a story about your latest nonprofit project that sponsors scholarships for orphans, tell a story on how your business appreciates the value of keeping the children on the right track when it comes to education, well-being and their physical growth. Tell a story on how your business is relevant to the community by saying how this value is relevant to the community. Stuff like that.
So yeah, those are just top 3 of the most glaring mistakes that businesses commit whenever they do Public Relations. Keep these in mind and you’ll surely find the other PR trappings easier.
***Don’t want to DIY? Trust only the pros. Get in touch.