Don’t Make These Common Public Relations Mistakes

Public perception may peg the public relations industry as purely focused on “spin” and hyping up clients’ reputations. While these elements are key parts of a public relations agency’s repertoire, there is much more that goes into providing quality PR to a client. Building an effective PR strategy for a client requires a lot of attention to detail and the ability to both act proactively and also react quickly in the event of trouble.

But there are many common mistakes that public relations professionals make on a regular basis, and the effects of these mistakes can be far-reaching and more damaging than it may seem at first glance.

Conducting an audit of best practices within an agency can identify problem areas or opportunities for improvement. Believe it or not, mistakes are easy to make. Performing an audit of current procedures and policies can help head off these mistakes before they happen and prevent a fallout in a profession where perception is everything.

Press Releases Need a Purpose

It’s common practice in the industry to churn out press releases for clients. Press releases typically have a standard format that contains all relevant information, but PR pros should ask themselves “what’s the ‘why’ of this release?” Turning out press releases left and right may seem productive, but if the information contained in the release isn’t informative, interesting, or otherwise enticing to the recipients, then this practice could end up having detrimental effects.

Soon, the recipients of the releases may start ignoring the constant barrage of announcements. Ensure that every press release has a clearly defined purpose and objective, and don’t simply turn one out for the sake of checking a box.

Write Well, Write Tight

Public relations requires a foundational skill base when it comes to writing. Sure, PR pros aren’t typically writers by trade, but this skill is important when it comes to crafting the right message for a client. Learn how to write better and how to eliminate filler words or phrases. The idea of “write tight” is common practice in journalism, and it lends itself well in public relations scenarios as well.

Don’t make the mistake of using too much flowery language or taking too much time to get to the point. Remember: use as few words as possible to directly engage the reader and communicate the message in a short time. Impactful, short writing is a best practice to cultivate in public relations.

Always Follow Up

Proper follow up is another best practice to follow in the PR industry. Following up on a story or an issue is a way for a client to feel that their needs are being monitored and taken care of. Simply publishing a story or pushing out a press release is often not sufficient — there must be a follow-up to ensure that the release is having the proper effects or that the client is satisfied with the results.

A public relations professional who dedicates time to properly follow up on tasks will also be able to cultivate strong relationships with clients, who will come to trust their representative more and more with this strong attention to detail.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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