Public relations is all about learning, re-learning and sometimes even starting from scratch. Consumers are constantly watching what a brand says, what they do and more importantly, how they do it. 2020 was a challenging year for even seasoned PR professionals and corporate communications experts. Just like everyone else, they too felt the burn and made a few rookie mistakes along the way. So whether you are writing your first press release piece or your 100th , it bodes well to re-evaluate your process so that you can avoid common PR errors!
No clear focus
First things first - To prep for 2021, having a laser-sharp focus is essential along with being consciously aware of any industry changes that are happening minute by minute. The phrase ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ rings true if you have a hotchpotch of elements cluttering your press release. And because journalists will not have a clear idea about what to focus on, it could have a less than positive impact on a brand’s overall reputation. The quickest way to get around this is to identify where your press release will be shared, and create a compelling narrative for each separate pocket.
Spending too much or too little!
Are you budgeting enough for both paid media and owned media? A poorly designed website for example could be the tipping point for a consumer when it comes to them making a decision about purchasing your products. On the other hand, it is essential to also keep an eye on how much you need to spend on marketing as well, because 2021 will be the year that sees PR and Marketing teams join forces to elevate brand growth. Good PR opportunities will also come from smart budget allocation towards CSR work and cross-brand promotions.
Not trusting your gut
With the industry changing at the speed of light, it can get difficult to make decisions based largely on intuition. But don’t forget that intuition comes from years of experience, mistakes made in the past and advice received from industry stalwarts. So the key to going with your gut is to rely not just on your intuitive capabilities, but also on your expertise. If your brand has chosen to go with a niche PR firm, the best bet would be to trust their word and monitor results. After all, leaving it to the PR pros is what smart communication is all about.
Jumping the gun
If you’re a start-up that has just launched a new business or product, take some time to cool your heels and develop your brand voice. Asking the important questions such as– ‘What sets us apart from the rest?’ ‘What exact problem do our products/services solve?’ and ‘Are we catering to the right audience? will help save any new brand a world of hassle. Rushing to get word out without fully understanding the market and tapping the relevant media outlets is a rookie mistake that even well established brands tend to make!
Sporadic Public Relations
The PR industry does not operate like clockwork between 9-6pm from Monday-Friday. Being a crucial part of the communications revolution involves crafting stories, keeping your audience engaged and keeping your ears to the ground 24/7. If your brand occasionally releases a press release or two and posts less than twice on social media, it can get pretty difficult to communicate with your target audience.
The pandemic threw curveballs at practically every industry imaginable, and public relations and advertising professionals were no exception! Moving forward and embracing change in 2021 will require a certain level of grit, expertise and an openness to learn from the past.
As a seasoned PR pro, what are some learnings that you are bringing to the New Year?