PR Mistakes To Avoid

Mistakes occur in life, but some are more costly than others.

Simply put, Public Relations (PR) is

The practice of managing the spread of information between an individual and the public or an organization and the public.

This spread of information can be in the form of press releases, newsletters, public appearances as well as online content.

Passing information across to the public might be the end point but then how does this affect your Tech Startup and the public or potential customers?

Your aim might be to create and maintain the positive image of the organization and then build a strong relationship between either the public or your targeted audience via persuasion.

Persuade the public, investors, employees and other stakeholders to view the organization, products, services etc. from a positive stand point.

In trying to achieve these goals, some mistakes (avoidable mistakes), are made and these are the considerations in this article.

Goals and Strategies

You should have clearly stipulated goals and how you plan to achieve these goals.

In my opinion I’d say goals are ‘What’ or ‘Where’ and strategies ‘How’.

PR agencies should endeavour to understand the goals and strategies of the company, is it to get more customers, impress potential business partners or attract investors?

Without this understanding, you most definitely are wasting money, time and energy hiring a PR agency as they will churn out messages that are not congruent with your company's goals and strategies.

In cases where the Tech Startup is handling the PR themselves, it is better to have as spokesperson someone who can handle the press not necessarily the CEO. While they must be smart, it is more important that they have a very good understanding of the company.

Wrong Timing

In PR as well as advertising, timing is almost the core if not the core.

Choosing to distribute press releases at the wrong times could only end up being detrimental to the startup. No matter how interesting or ‘new’ the news, you should know when to publish or release whatever you have ready for public consumption.

You should be able to consider the best time to go to the media, pending on what your strategy is as regards to timing

If it’s a monthly release, you should have alerted the press some months before or weeks before if it’s a weekly thing.

With regards to new product and service launches, you do not go live the minute your product is ready, you should have a period of testing if not, this might just backfire on you.

Have a pre-launch.

You could give BETA testing rights to certain people to have a go at it, or better yet to some key reporters.

This could influence their report on the story when it eventually is launched as well as keep them in anticipation, waiting earnestly and eagerly for the release of the product, leaving them ready to give a good story and coverage.

Common mistakes could be detrimental to the image of your Tech Startup so in this article is a continuation of the list of mistakes you should avoid.

What Makes Up Your Story

Many Public Relations (PR) agencies are only in communicating with the public when there is a story about a new product launch but that is not all that should make up the function of a PR agency.

Releases should not only come when there is a product launch, although they are important.

You could build credibility in the press without necessarily waiting for another product launch, you could do this by having published articles from the organization’s management showcasing their area of expertise, reports on new market trends, and generally generating content to boost the organization and boost the Tech Startup’s image.

Now this is not to say that you’d have to just give journalists or ad agencies stuffs to read but then you must have a reason and a good hook so it can be published.

Do not send stale and banal information.

This means that you should always be in the know; the latest news, the latest trends in the industries both foreign and local showing that you are up to date and supply supported facts as well as avoiding generalizations and exaggerations.

The Right Reporters and Not Enough Reporters

Most of the time, your press release or newsletter or whatever you have going for you does not get to quite enough a number of reporters.

The truth is, not all reporters or journalists that get your report publish it. Some will not even have a look at it because they feel they have better stories, a number of them might be too busy to look through it and that point you need to spread your ‘tentacles’.

Even if they are influential, there’s nothing wrong with having your stories on the big as well as the small platforms.

After casting your net, you should take a record of the number of fish you’ve been able to bring home – how many of them finally published your story?

Which of these reporters are always willing to do justice to your story?

What this simply means is that you take into cognisance the places your story has been featured, and where you’d love to be featured this way you can plan ahead and correct past mistakes to achieve better results.

Finally, do research to see if what you are writing on or have written on is a topic that has been written on before, and then target the journalists themselves.

Don’t guess, target an individual with a name and address.

Poorly Written releases

Why should I spend the time I have trying to correct a badly written release and a lengthy one at that when I can just go for something that wouldn’t pose as a waste of time?

A badly written release WILL will go straight to the trash bin.

Use correct punctuations, correct spelling, be concise and straight to the point, making the first paragraphs contain messages important enough to grab your readers attention.

Avoid jargon, clarity is of importance.

With that done, envisage a follow-up question and be prepared to give answers. This is crucial because whatever you say on tape to a reporter goes straight to the public.

Think Online

Internet services have made it possible for you to reach to a large crowd with little or no cost associated. Good Public Relations could boost your Tech Startup’s image. Good articles, newsletters should add up to help build your company image.

Image Credit: Niuton May

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