As entrepreneurs—honestly as human beings, we all make mistakes. Some mistakes hold more weight than others, and some mistakes can be totally avoidable. Going through the process of creating a business requires lots of patience and practice, and requires you to build relationships with various people. Once you realize you have to do things such as pitch to various media outlets, push out content from your business, and simply get your name out there—the tables begin to turn.
Entrepreneurs may not realize how important it is to have an established plan for putting your business on the map, so we’re giving you some of the most common PR mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to grow their business (and of course how to avoid them).
Some of these mistakes can cause a media source to quickly delete your story pitch and remove you from their email list. Of course we wouldn’t want that to happen, so we’ve got your back sis! (and fellas too if you’re reading)
PR Mistake #1: Don’t be a Robo-Pitcher
Even if you decide to write in the most personable style, sending out mass emails to a large number of media entities on an editorial list demonstrates laziness and unfamiliarity with the said publication. Every email you send out should be written for that specific media outlet/journalist. No one wants to feel like they are being told about something that has been released to 300 other people. Make your pitches personable to each media entity, and make sure you include things such as their first and last name and their professional title.
PR Mistake #2: Failing to Check Pitches and News Releases
Failing to check your pitches and news releases is one of the most common PR mistakes entrepreneurs make. This normally occurs when they are in a hurry or simply have not proofread their news releases. Failing to check these pitches can result in misspelled names, spelling and grammatical errors, and erroneous facts. Pitches and news releases that contain a plethora of errors, shows a lack of care and precision, and who wants to work with a company like that. Make sure you triple check each pitch and news release you send to media to save yourself, and your brand the embarrassment.
PR Mistake #3: Bad Timing—Pitching Past the Deadline
It’s important for public relations professionals to understand that publications are based upon lead times and deadlines. Journalist for publications don’t want to cover news stories that will be considered “old news” once it’s available to the public. Being able to keep tabs on the news cycle is very important when you’re wanting to pitch to these publications. Make sure you are paying close attention to large events and specific events as well, in which your media publications are extremely busier during these time periods.
PR Mistake #4: Not Being Mindful of the Time of Year
Journalist will not write about a new Christmas feature or fancy new ornament in the month of March or even a Valentine’s package deal during May—it just doesn’t make sense. Different publications have different lead times and it’s important to remember this. When you are sending your pitches to media outlets, you have to think about when the appropriate time to release the story is, so it will be the most relevant during that particular time period. Make sure you are also keeping an eye out for things that happen in the press on particular days and times so you can release your pitches accordingly.
PR Mistake #5: Too Many Follow-Ups
Following up too much is an actual thing. Multiple follow-ups is a sure way to irritate a journalist. If you’ve sent them a message or two, trust me they’ve gotten it. Crowding their inbox will exhaust your chances for your current pitch and possibly future pitches as well. Sending a reminder email is OK to do several days after the pitch, but if you have not heard back, simply let it be. Remember this, if a journalist doesn’t respond to your story idea, it may mean it’s simply not the right time or topic for their publication—don’t take it personal.
Overall, avoiding these rather common PR mistakes will not only improve your effectiveness and approach as an entrepreneur, but it will help increase your likelihood of your pitch and news release being published. As an entrepreneur, your goal is to protect your businesses’ reputation, and get your name out there in the least harmful way.