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.
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.