This question is all too common. Read on for three slippery scenarios you can prevent, and a personal confession from me.
1. Too Little Too Late
A client hired me to write blog posts featuring some of their customers. My client has an excellent Facebook following and website, so the opportunity for the customers was real. However, when I called the CEOs and marketing professionals of these customers, I got a lackluster response to say the least. Some were very interested at first, but they did not provide all the necessary information in a timely manner. Some entirely ignored our offer to feature them on the blog.
On the other hand, a few customers jumped at the chance. One even submitted their own post for our use.
2. Nonprofit Photo Woes
Over the years, I’ve provided public relations services for several organizations who had some sort of event or function. They often use volunteer photographers to save money, and events are a very hectic time for volunteers. As a result, three problems often occur:
- There aren’t enough photos.
- The photos aren’t optimal for printing in local newspapers.
- The volunteer finishes touching up the photos too late for publication.
Opportunities to gain exposure for your message may come from unexpected sources, and they may arise at difficult times. However, busy professionals sometimes realize later that neglecting these opportunities was not in their best interest. It’s ideal to plan for the unexpected in public relations so that you avoid that awful feeling of doing too little too late. A prepared press release template, media kit, and collection of ready-made quotes go a long way.
It also helps to set expectations and timelines in advance, depending only on the most reliable people for the most critical tasks. Nonprofits benefit from making conscious decisions about how critical they consider their photo and video needs.
3. When Reporters Aren’t Humans
Many businesspeople think of press release submission as an automated task. They don’t consider the individuality of the reporters and editors receiving those media pitch emails. Using the BCC function on your email program is a quick and dirty way to reach lots of reporters and editors at once, but this bulk email method misses one key ingredient of effective public relations. Bulk emails lack the customization of a media pitch that is crafted based on the reporter’s interests and coverage area.
Now My Confession
Right out of college, I used to use the BCC method indiscriminately. My rationale was, they’ll see the subject line and open it if they’re interested. Unfortunately, seasoned public relations professionals and journalists told me what a big mistake I made. Aside from the consequences of neglecting a reporter’s name and beat, too many BCC pitches could have landed me on a reporter’s bad list had I persisted.
Don’t Sabotage Your Outreach Efforts
By now, you can see how well meaning professionals, and college grads too, can easily sabotage their outreach efforts. I am passionate about helping others learn from my own experiences and those of my clients. Learn more in my upcoming free webinar on getting noticed.