Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are You Making These Common Mistakes in PR Management? - Part 2

Three Mistakes That Can Make Your PR Less Effective – and How to Avoid Them

In my last article, I talked about why leaving your PR firm alone – on its own, with no ongoing input and direction from you – is a common and costly mistake.

Here I talk about a second common mistake that businesses make – treating PR as an afterthought – and how to fix this mistake.

The Mistake

Great news! Your company has just signed a new partner or closed a big sale to a customer, or maybe you have a special sale or promotion you are running. Or perhaps you have tentatively agreed to be acquired. In any case, these events are important for your company and the people who do business with you, and some events may be important to the world outside your company.

Many businesses crank up the marketing machine – ads, direct-response letters and so on – but “remember” to call their PR firms only at the very last minute.

The Fix

Do yourself a favor: when you begin planning something important, let your PR firm know as soon as possible. PR can lead and almost always can amplify your other marketing activities, contributing to a highly integrated campaign that gets better results.

Good PR people can and will also tell you – honestly – how important your news is to the outside world. Good PR people also monitor your industry as part of their jobs, and they may know trends to which they can link your event to make it more newsworthy. Finally, good PR people almost always can recommend creative and effective approaches – such as using social media, bloggers and direct-to-consumer news releases to “narrowcast” your news to the people who are most interested, instead of just doing the standard dialing-for-dollars pursuit of major news outlets. In short: good PR people can almost always add a lot of value.

If you are hesitant to share confidential information with your PR firm, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (if they haven’t already). Or ask them to document their procedures for protecting confidential information. If you still don’t trust them, then get another PR firm.

Next: why it’s a bad mistake to treat your PR firm like an adversary instead of a partner.

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