Have you ever had a PR campaign that just didn't work? Are you planning a new campaign? Here's the top 8 reasons PR campaigns fail and what you should avoid.
1. You're Starting Too Late
Do you have a story that has to "go live" this week? Next week? You're too late. Sure, you can try and see what happens, but you need to have sent out your stories at least two to four weeks in advance.
Looking to get coverage in a print magazine, try three months or more in advance.
Looking to get your new product/service on a major TV show? That could easily take 6 months of hard work and dedication.
Do you have a holiday campaign coming up? Start in August or September. After that, it's too late.
Starting with a new PR firm? Bring them on, at least a month before you need to start pitching anything.
2. Your Story Is Not Really News
Did your startup just get a new logo? Unless you're Uber or Apple, nobody cares. Get over yourself.
A story has to include something new and noteworthy, as well as how it impacts customers, and the larger world.
3. You Chose the Wrong Hook
If you're talking about your hot new algorithm, but fail to connect that to how it will save PC users billions of hours a year, you're doing it wrong.
Consider the biggest impact your story will have on someone who does not care about your brand already. That is your hook.
4. You Don't Pitch Enough Reporters
What's that you say? You pitched a whopping total of twenty reporters across publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Kotaku, The Verge, etc? That's ADORABLE! Good luck!
This kind of strategy only works if you're already famous. Unless these reporters have told you when they will drop your story, don't hold your breath.
You should be reaching out to hundreds of reporters (at least), and paying for a press release on one of the known distro sites to kickstart your story. Not sure how to contact hundreds of reporters? Hire a PR firm.
5. You Don't Pitch the Right Reporters
Not every story is something TechCrunch will break to the world. If you have a "lifestyle" story, go to lifestyle-focused blogs, websites, writers, shows, etc. Consider who your customer is and what media they consume. Start there. Sure, pitch to TechCrunch too, but don't expect them to break the ice for you.
6. You Ignore Reporter Requests
If you've pitched a reporter and they ask you for further information, an interview, images, etc., and you ignore them, or take several days to get back to them, you're missing out.
You don't have to fly across the country for a tiny TV station interview with a viewership of 50 people (unless you want to), but you should have the decency to write back to reporters who ask this and more of you. If you don't have time, again, consider hiring a PR firm or a PR manager.
7. You Pitch at the Wrong Time
Pitch early in the week, at a time that works for all time-zones. Don't pitch on a Friday and expect anyone to write same-day. Don't pitch at midnight. Don't pitch on a major holiday.
Did a disaster just happen? Is something else consuming the news cycle. Hold your story for a few days if you have to. Wait for things to cool down. Then pitch.
8. Your Pitch is 100% Wrong
Most people start here, but I've saved this one for last because everything else has to work, in order for the pitch to work.
A good pitch:
• Is short, and to-the-point, complete with supporting links, and no attachments.
• Is sent at a respectful time of day, to the right reporter.
• Is not typically sent randomly over social media (unless the reporter requests it).
• Is not presumptuous, rude, or manipulative.
• May follow-up on the same story once or twice, but no more, unless the reporter replies.
Most failed PR campaigns occur because they ignored one or more of the steps above. Get these steps right, and your campaign will be much more successful.
From luxurious retreats, to expensive market research analysis, entrepreneurs have many resources to help them become seasoned thought leaders, but as they say, startups ain’t got time for that.
If you only have fifteen minutes before your interview with a TV show, radio show, podcast, or other media engagement, here are nine things you need to know right now:
1. Check Your Facts: Run a quick Google news search on the topic you’ll be discussing. Make sure nothing has changed in the last few hours/days. (In the tech space it’s entirely possible).
2. Know About the Show: Know the show’s name. Google it. Learn the host’s name. Know where the show airs. Keep this in mind during the interview.
3. Know Your Segment Length: Know how long you’re on for and make the time. If the interview is 30 minute long, don’t rush it to try and leave at 25. Be respectful.
4. Know the Format: If it’s “live,” then the audience can year you as you speak. If it’s “live to tape,” then they record and use everything, just at a later time. If it’s “edited” then they’ll shoot more than they can use and edit it down to the time they need.
5. Look in the Mirror: If the interview is in any kind of video format, check your teeth, your hair, your buttons, your fly. Make sure nothing is out of place. If you’re wearing jewelry, keep it small and to a minimum. Less is more.
6. Drink Some Water: Don’t down a bottle, but hydrate before you get out there.
7. Relax but Keep the Excitement: It’s a fine line to walk, but you want to sound “natural” as you talk. Avoid talking too fast or too slow.
8. Listen to the Host: During the interview, really listen to the host and try and answer their questions as best you can. You’re having a real conversation and hosts are representing the kinds of questions their audience will have for you.
9. Turn Your Cell Phone COMPLETELY OFF: Vibrate won’t cut it. Literally, any data your cell phone sends or receives during a recording or broadcast will mess with the audio equipment/signal and it will ruin your interview. You have to put your cell phone in airplane mode or turn it off.
2017 was a big year for Jacobson Communication. From documenting the Solar Eclipse in the path of Totality, The View, Drone Easter Egg hunts, and PDXLan, here are some of the year's highlights.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist who helps brands advance in growing industries. Her clients have been on The View, The Today Show, in TIME Magazines’s best site of the year, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more.
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Jacobson Communication is a Pacific Northwest boutique public relations firm that helps startups, emerging brands, and nonprofits get the attention needed to drive positive brand engagement. From sales, to biz dev, to company enrichment, you'll be surprised what better communications can do for your brand.
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