In the grips of unbridled delusions of adequacy, I have decided to address an actual PR/marketing issue with real ideas of interest to actual members of the Charleston AMA. The feeling will go away soon, so read fast.
- Thinking a news release is public relations. Local media receive enough news releases to choke a rhino herd every day. They (the news releases, not the rhino herd) get funneled to the junior assistant deputy sub-intern to weed out, so don’t assume that yours was read personally by George Stephanopoulos or that anything was done with it that didn’t involve the delete button.
- Not understanding your media partners. The Moultrie News doesn’t care about your event in West Ashley. The President could get assassinated in West Ashley and it wouldn’t make the Moultrie News. But if your Mount Pleasant-based nephew digs out ear wax in the shape of Donald Trump, the Moultrie News wants the photo and your nephew’s bio. Just don’t send that to the Summerville Journal. That’s just one example of how you have to understand the differences in various media outlets. Newspapers can’t write stories based on a single fact. TV and radio need video and audio, and don’t do well with complex issues. Bloggers don’t have staffs to cover events. And so on.
- Forgetting to employ every platform available. If it’s important, post it on your website news section, write about it on your blog, include it in your e-newsletter and link to it on social media. People will find your information in one way or another, but not in every way.
- Failing to prioritize the people who really need to know. I talk to a lot of organizations fixated on “public awareness” about information of interest to a pretty small slice of the population. If registration is opening up for your Mensa Summer Camp, it’s definitely not necessary that I know. But it’s essential that parents of really smart kids do.
- Talking about your organization instead of about the customer. You got a new employee! She’s licensed and certified! She came from Atlanta! No one gives a pitootie!
- Forgetting the call to action. (Buy! Give!) If you give people permission to blow you off, they will.
- Telling a story once and thinking everyone has seen it. Have you got a testimonial or success story worth sharing? Shout it from the mountaintop and don’t stop shouting. By the time you’re sick of it, people will just begin noticing. There’s a reason “Think Different” has been Apple’s motto since before you were born.
- Failing to keep the website fresh. An atrophying website tells the visitor you don’t care and aren’t very dynamic. When I see news sections of websites whose last post came during the Bush Administration, I leave. They don’t have their act together.
- Using social media without making the commitment to do it right. It’s like giving out your phone number but never turning on your phone: it’s worse than not doing it at all. If you’re going to have a Facebook page that people might visit, make sure it’s updated regularly with interesting, useful, entertaining information. Many AMA members, such as my own personal self, make a living helping people like you with this.
- Not recognizing your company’s own expertise. You have knowledge that would be of value to a blogger, reporter or editor. You’re an expert in reverse-gravity solid waste management systems, or charitable remainder trusts, or 15th century Hungarian folk music. Or whatever. Find a time/place/news outlet that could use that information and offer it. (This explains why I rarely converse with the news media.)
Bonus thing you’re doing wrong! (besides still reading)
- Dumping your PR onto an intern, volunteer or over-worked staffer because “anyone” can do PR. This is true: anyone can do PR. Anyone can fly a plane. But if you’re headed to Los Angeles and want to see your next birthday, it’d be advisable to hire a professional pilot. Again, many of your fellow AMA members and hangers-on are not just devilishly good-looking but also adept at this and available for hire.
You’ll be amazed how much good PR can accrue to your bottom line. So do it right.