Whose time is your PR wasting?

Effective PR requires time and effort,
but we need to focus activity clearly to make sure we’re not wasting others’ time as well as our own.

Whose time is your PR wasting

If you’d put a lot of effort into writing and distributing a press release or article, how would you feel if a journalist started reading but then stopped and asked: “What is this all about?”

If it’s a really interesting topic and the journalist wants to pursue it, they’ll call you to get the real story.

It’s more likely that they won’t have much time and are up against a tight deadline and will give up.

How much time would you have spent putting that press release together?

What do you think the journalist’s opinion will be of your business?

Does it ever happen?

It happened twice to me recently when I received two vague press releases. I like to give people a chance and re-read them to see if I was missing the point. No, they were too vague. They referred to awards or achievements, but did not give any specific details.

I did a bit of investigation. I try to check facts wherever I can as I know that people often mention things without checking them. There was nothing on their web sites.

I now reached a point where the value of the stories in my view was not worth more of my time. I had other news to follow up that I knew was of interest, so I did not follow up these two any further.

What improvements could have got them published?

If the press releases had set out precisely what the awards were, what organisations made them, why they had won them and what it meant to the businesses to win them, it would have told me all about the stories.

Perhaps they would have been newsworthy.

In the event, they wasted my time and, I imagine, wasted theirs too.

My advice when looking to start any public relations activity is to establish what your news is, who will find it interesting and what you want it to achieve.

If you can’t provide the answers to these questions, I suggest spending the time on something more likely to be useful.

Who is your audience?

Who do you want to hear your story?Who is your audience? | presume

Is it one group of people or more, eg young people and pensioners?

Different groups could be interested in different aspects for different reasons. They are likely to read different publications.

If so, you will need to tailor press releases for each type of publication to emphasise what interests individual groups.

If you don’t know who you want to reach,  you won’t know what they’re looking for and so won’t necessarily be providing what they want. It’s also a waste of resources to send press releases anywhere as they are unlikely to get published without a clear focus.

Perhaps your audience is small and limited to a specific sector served by just a few publications. Or else it could be much bigger and include large numbers of consumers who read different publications according to their age, interests, etc.

Knowing your audience enables you to target your resources more effectively and gives your press release a bigger chance of success.

Finding your focus

When you look at the extensive range of communications you could get involved in, it’s easy to feel swamped by it all. Keeping in touch with customers, employees, suppliers and associates can take a lot of time and effort and there are so many things to do: web sites, newsletters, emails, phone calls.

Everyone has finite resources so it’s useful to focus on what can be managed rather than attempting, and failing, everything.

For many businesses, a web presence – even just a brochure web site – is the bare minimum for creating awareness. That’s not to say that the majority of your customers or target audience don’t prefer other means of communication, so the main focus should be on what really counts.

Just keeping everything up to date is a start. An out-of-date piece of information on our own web site was pointed out to me today and we’re amending it so that it is correct. This will happen for most businesses and there’s no point in worrying about it as long as you take speedy action to put things right as soon as you can. This shows how important it is to review material regularly.

Once you start planning and managing your communications, it does get easier as each activity will require less time to keep it going than was needed to get it started.

So focus on what’s really important to your business first and gradually widen your activity as and when you’re able.

After our last blog, have you achieved the right balance of challenge and achievement?

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