Public Relations – even in 2019 – is more than just a press release. While PR and marketing are similar in nature, they have very different goals.
The main goal of PR is to boost reputation, which doesn’t always impact sales. Conversely, the goal of marketing is to drive sales.
Yes, digital marketing plays a critical role in a brand’s success in this day and age. However, neglecting your public relations strategy can set you back if you ignore it completely.
Here are 5 PR mistakes to avoid to help enhance your brand’s image and boost your reputation.
Neglecting the Importance of Timing
The importance of timing cannot be understated. Sending a press release at the right time makes all the difference between getting your story published in ten major publications or finding your breaking news stuck in the back of a rural print newspaper.
When planning your press release, it’s important to be mindful of journalists’ time. Generally the best time to send out a media release is Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning, when they’re more likely to be at their desks.
If your news is urgent, you should send your press release right away. But if you wait too long, your story will be old news and it won’t be covered.If your story isn’t urgent, pick the best time to send it out. Consider other stories going on that won’t overshadow yours. If necessary, you should hold off for a few days.
Also consider where you want the news to be featured. For example, if you’re hoping to get featured in a monthly magazine, journalist’s deadlines are usually three months in advance. If you want it to appear on the 6 o’clock news, plan enough time for a camera crew to take shoot footage and edit it before the news airs.
Avoiding Distribution Companies
To thrive as a small business, you need press coverage. Unfortunately, building a contact list doesn’t come naturally and can take a large chunk of your time. If your press release isn’t seen, people won’t know about your business, which completely defeats the purpose of creating a press release in the first place.
Utilizing a PR distribution company as part of your PR strategy can increase the success of your brand launch and make more efficient use of your time. PR distribution companies have various lists and resources to which they send your press release. You can count on them to effectively disperse your newsworthy article.
Assuming the Media Will Write About You
Setting realistic expectations is imperative in the world of media. Whether your public relations strategy involves a PR distribution company or you plan on doing it yourself, don’t assume you’ll make the news.
Even if you have an amazing product or a revolutionary idea, there’s no guarantee that journalists will write about it. Building a reputation is something that takes a lot of time and effort, and humility goes a long way when dealing with the media.
In order to get noticed, you have to be newsworthy. In order to be newsworthy, you have to write an eye-catching headline and structure your press release in a way that fits the news format.
Your headline should grab attention and be easy to read. Which reads better to you?
“Boy Spends 7 Days in Jungle Eating Snails and Drinking Rainwater While Trekking 300 Miles To Home”
“Boy Lost in Jungle Eats Snails and Drinks Rainwater To Survive”
If your public relations strategy doesn’t involve writing like a journalist, you should stop and reconsider. The higher purpose of the media is to tell the news. But ultimately, they want readers.
Disregarding SEO Alignment
Just like content marketing, digital PR can help your brand’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Whenever you send a press release, popular publications will write about your business and include a backlink to your site. With backlinking being a bread and butter technique for SEO, garnering links from authoritative websites helps achieve unprecedented search rankings.
Additionally, focus on creating trending and relevant content to further increase your search rankings. It’s important to ensure your content is fully-optimized with high-traffic keywords to help Google register that your content is relevant to the audience you’re targeting. This also substantially increases your click-through rate and drives more traffic to your site.
Failure to Track
Monitoring your PR performance is just as important as tracking digital advertising. While it’s sometimes difficult to gauge acquisition and ROI from your public relations strategy, there are tools available to help you connect the dots.
Digital monitoring tools allow you to track where your content is being shared and how often it was picked up. With digital monitoring, you can also gauge the performance of your press release and analyze what worked and what didn’t. By reviewing the data, you can apply these learnings on your next press release and continue to build on your public relations strategy.
If your public relations strategy is successful, you should see new backlinks from multiple media outlets, as well as influencers and partners who continue to share the story. If this isn’t happening, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
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