Business owners' three biggest PR blunders

Business owner in glasses reading book about PR

Small-business PR expert Paul Green spent many years working as a journalist. He recalls the three most common mistakes small-business owners made when trying to secure press coverage

While I was a journalist, I saw many business owners make the same three basic PR mistakes time and time again. When it comes to trying to secure free publicity for your new business, the following mistakes should be avoided…

1. Trying to push dull, irrelevant or non-stories

sSorry, in truth, journalists don't really care about you or your business, they only care about stories that are of interest to their audience.

Furthermore, it can be very dull being a journalist, having to wade through the same old marketing guff being sent to you day in, day out. So when something special comes along, naturally, you jump on it. As a business owner, that's your opportunity. If you are to engage journalists and their readers, you must have a compelling story to tell.

2. Giving up after one failed press release

If you send out 100 direct mail letters and then stop because "direct mail doesn't work for you", you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.

It's not necessarily that direct mail doesn't work for you; you might not be sending your communications to the right people, you might not be writing about the right product or service or you might simply not be communicating your key messages effectively. Sometimes the timing isn't right or your success is hampered by external factors.

The same can be said about PR. There is no way that each and every press release you send will lead to coverage, no matter how good your story, release or how well you know the journalist. Effective PR requires long-term commitment.

3. Having unrealistic expectations

PR is not really meant as a direct lead-generation tool (although it can work that way if you are fortunate). It can certainly be used to raise awareness and enhance the credibility of your business and support the rest of your marketing activity.

Your goal should be to encourage and make it really easy for interested readers, listeners or viewers to find you (or more usually, find out from your website how your products or services can benefit them).

Don't expect overnight success, either. Raising awareness, securing sales and ensuring customer loyalty usually takes a lot of time, effort and investment.

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