How to Craft Timely PR Strategies with PR Pro Samantha Bryant - Podcast Transcript SPEAKERS…
17 PR Mistakes to Avoid Podcast Transcript
I’ve done some of these you might have, your team could have or could soon be too. In today’s minisode, we’re going to cover 17 pr mistakes to avoid. Now, first, a disclaimer, I want to acknowledge that we are all human. And last time I checked mistakes, to some degree are unavoidable, they happen to us all. So whether you’ve done one of the errors I mentioned today, or you do so in the future, give yourself grace. You know, all we can do is learn correctly if necessary, and keep on keeping on. With that said, let’s start off with some mistakes that I feel pretty darn passionate about. I mean, I’ve stepped onto a soapbox many times to preach the following. Number one first PR Mistake is to avoid buying a generic pre-built media list. Do not do it. Okay. So some context number one, you know how people change jobs. So do journalists, meaning that they might be at x outlet today, but they could be a y outlet tomorrow. So there’s a good chance when you’re buying a prebuilt media list, that isn’t entirely accurate. Number two, just because you have a list, doesn’t mean it’s the right list for you. This brings me to number three, to ensure you have the right contacts even if you buy a list, you’re still going to have to do some sort of due diligence to track down if the contact information is correct, you’re still going to want to read through recent buy lines. So ultimately, it actually might even take you more time to correct a premade list. Then add the right contacts as if you were to just create one yourself from the beginning. Now if you have a budget and refuse to create a list from scratch, your money is better spent hiring someone to make you a custom list or opt-in for a directory software like Muck Rack decision. So in summary, stop buying pre-made generic media lists my friends, it is a waste of money. Mistake number two, having a pitch keyword a, okay, I can’t tell you how many times I hear entrepreneurs say I bought a list, wrote a press release, and have a pitch. I’m ready for press. You know, at some point or another, these entrepreneurs received really bad PR advice. It’s one of those things that you don’t know until you know, but now you guys know so well law. Having a pitch is great for a journalist, AKA a single member of the media. So yes, sure, you can use a pitch template as guidance. But ultimately, you need a pitch custom-tailored for each journalist on your list. Mistake number three, pitching a writer, the same thing they just wrote about. This is a common one. If you find a super relevant article covering a topic you’d love to see you or your Brandon or your clients, Brandon, that doesn’t cue you up to then pitch the author the same angle. Again. Think about it, right? They just wrote about it, they need a new or a fresh idea. So take this article as a good indication that they are interested in topics surrounding your industry or beat but then pitch them something new and timely. Mistake number four not doing your research. Ah, so bad. Okay, one of the most important parts of THEPRBAR you know, one of the most timely, is research. Research of writer’s outlets, beats, newsworthy angles, the works, take the time to really research a given contact before you ever enter their inbox. This will help you avoid a whole slew of mistakes, I promise. Mistake number five. overusing press releases, everything is not worthy of a press release. I repeat, everything is not worthy of a press release. I’m actually going to point you to two other episodes from Pitchin’ and Sippin’ that go deeper in this topic. First episode 10 from season one with Tony Harrison. Okay, and second episode 59 from season three with Amanda Lee. In both of these episodes, we dive into what is and is not worthy. Release.
Mistake number six is thinking it’s about you. Specifically thinking that when you are pitching any member of the media for an earned placement, that it’s about you. Okay, like they’re writing about me, of course, it’s about me. No, it’s not, it’s actually about the journalist’s audience, it’s about their outlet. If you can somehow serve their audience, then they might feature you. Otherwise, if it’s a new contact, they don’t owe you your brand. any favors. Mistake number seven is not having your assets in order. If you get a bite or response, you better be ready to jump on a press opportunity ASAP. So if you don’t have your photos in order a bio put together or further information on the pitch topic, that delay in time could quite literally cost you the feature. Journalists are typically operating on very tight deadlines. So get organized now, so you don’t waste time, their time, or opportunities later. So we’ve talked about some general PR mistakes, I want to now go into 10 Mistakes specifically about the art of the pitch. Number one, book pitching, aka copy and pasting. Do you know what type of people create one pitch, copy and paste and blast that same pitch to their entire media list. People who don’t know how to do PR, that’s two guys gone are the days of book pitching. While it’s more time-consuming, crafting personalized pitches proves substantially more effective. Number two, addressing an email to nobody. Never send an email to anybody. Now, that seems obvious, but here’s what I mean. If you can avoid it, don’t send your pitch to a hello act outlet.com or contact at outlet comm or info at contact outlet.com. Okay, try to find a real human being if you can. Now sometimes if it’s a super small outlet hyperlocal that might be the only email address available. And if that’s the case, still try to figure out who is behind that email. Mistake number three is kind of the opposite. No, literally opposite to mistake number two, is addressing an email to everybody. Right? So opposite to what I just said. Do not under any circumstances feel that you are being clever in saving time by BC seeing your entire press list. TThis I’m going to use air quotes here time saving tactic is not only rude, but it’s pretty much the opposite of strategic. Right. So I’ve also seen on multiple occasions people mess up and accidentally put the list in the CC over the BCC. Oh my gosh, my heart hurts for anyone who does that. Don’t let that be you. Okay, number four, spelling the writer’s name wrong. Check one’s check twice, check three times. Speaking from personal experience, one of the quickest ways to get a writer to press Delete is by butchering the spelling of their name. Okay, so I’m going to use me as an example. My email has my name literally spelled out in it. Lexie L E X ie at the PR bar inc.com. Yet, you would be amazed how many people start emails with, hey, Lexie, and they dropped that so people spell my name Le xi, le X, Y, or Alexa or Alexis, and guys that make my eye twitch every single time. And having spoken to many, many, many journalists, I know that this isn’t a pet peeve of just mine. So again, spelled the writer’s name correctly. Number five is pitching the wrong beat. This one’s pretty simple. Don’t pitch a tech reporter about your beauty launch. Don’t pitch a style editor about your new cocktail menu. Like the concept of staying in your lane and PR stay in the writer’s beat. If you don’t, you’re wasting both his or in your time. And then another Asterix to this make sure you’re not only pitching the right beat but the right type of writer. So if you’re looking for a feature, don’t pitch someone who only does how-to or hard news articles. Okay, pay attention to that stuff.
Mistake number six for pitching, being overly salesy. See, a key indicator of being too salesy is making extreme or outlandish claims, right? A few keywords to look out for are the best, the coolest, the most disrupting innovative, the list goes on. Unless there are literal facts to back your claim, avoid these overused terms if at all possible. So what’s a fact? Well, if you have a client that does win an award, and this actually happened, my client won an award called most innovative technology. In that case, we can use the word innovative in a way that has facts behind it, right. So, ultimately, unless you want an award, or there’s something to back the claim, where you really are the first of its kind, avoid those more marketing speak the language. Number seven, not getting to the point. Don’t send writers an essay, unless the source is asked for an extended amount of information or you know them and they appreciate a long pitch but the general rule of thumb, is nobody got time for that, right. So if they want more information they’ll ask, and get to the point. Be concise. Stick number eight for getting a CTA call to action, do more than just write this. Number eight, for getting a CTA. do more than just by the way CTA means a call to action, so do more than just tell the writer the story, then peace out. Give them the next step. For example, one might ask you for writers interested in learning more about a topic. Or perhaps the call to action asks if they want a free product sample, whatever it may be, leading the writer towards the next action. Or you might notice your chances of hearing crickets massively go up. Number nine, getting the outlet wrong. This happens more than you think when people get in the zone and start hammering through pitches to their media list, right? You’ll have your inbox open, you write out a pitch, you copy it, you bring it into another email inbox, you think you’re tailoring everything you forget the outlet, right? Slow down and triple-check everything within that pitch to get it right. And with that, that brings us to number 10. Huge mistake having careless grammar and spelling errors. These are writers, after all, these are people in the media. They care about the written spoken word right. So unless your grammar is taking on an intentional tone, you’re being very human, you know y’all, for example, then be mindful of your language and sentence structure and format. Always make sure you’re paying attention to spacing details and formatting and your pitch. Okay, so there are many more mistakes in the ones I just covered. But hopefully, this gives you a good list to get started. I want to also wrap this up with some good news. All of these mistakes, all 17 of them are entirely avoidable. Okay. If you want a quick list to reference, go to the PR bar inc.com/pitch it good to grab my personal checklists, we’ll put that in the show notes of course. But remember this. You’re only human. Give yourself grace. Life will go on. So you should too. Cheers.