Archive for June, 2011

Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective P.R.: Are You Sabotaging Your Results?

June 1, 2011

You spend hours pitching the media for your client, product or service.  You email, you fax, you snail mail, you dial, you pitch, you pitch again and for some reason, your efforts don’t seem to yield the results you’d expect from the amount of time you’re putting into getting media exposure for your company or client.  So what gives?  What could you possibly be doing wrong?

Perhaps you’re guilty of engaging in Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective PR. To most seasoned public relations professionals, this list will be quite humorous but, trust me, as a producer who worked for many television programs, these industry faux pas are more common than you’d imagine.  Let’s take a look at these seven ineffective habits:

  1. Pitching product announcements and stories without knowing what a publication or television programs covers or who the audience of that publication or program is.  Saying that you don’t have time to read these publications or watch these programs because you work for a living does not score you any points with a reporter or producer. PR pros buy and study the publications they pitch and TIVO programs they think might work for their clients to determine if it’s a fit or not.
  2. Issuing press releases with long slug lines that serve the client, not the reporter.  Your slug line on your press release must have an angle that hooks readers — including reporters and producers.  Sell them on the slug line and you’ve probably sold them on the story.
  3. Failing to check a publication’s or program’s deadlines or production cycles, especially for monthly magazines, which often work more than three months in advance. Failing to plan is planning to fail here.  In the fast pace world of P.R. it’s easy just focus on the fire in front of you, but it’s the fire three to six months down the road that needs your attention as well.
  4. Deluging reporters with too much spam and too much information to “pitch” the story.  Remember the main object of a media alert or press release is to get the reporter or producer interested in the story.  Introduce more details to them as they are needed or you could kill the story before it breathes its first breath.
  5. Hounding a reporter to see if they plan to use a recently sent press release.  There’s a difference between pitching and harassment.  Know where to draw the line.
  6. Not returning calls or emails from reporters asking for help on stories.  Like them or hate them, in our ever increasing electronic world, that’s where cell phones, Blackberry’s and Treo’s make the difference between your company or your client getting on the air (or the competitor.)
  7. Not displaying PR contact names, phone numbers, and email addresses in easy to find places on the company web site.  Sometimes this information may be hidden from the very media decision makers that need to contact you.  Have an effective method in place on your company or client website for the media to reach you easily.

For more ways to plan on how to break through the clutter and give newsrooms stories they need to grab viewers, get time sensitive ideas on planning media opportunities for you or your client at our  Broadcast Calendar

Peace & Coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

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