Approval from the cleaner can wash PR down the pan

A cumbersome approval process can waste a fleeting PR opportunity.
While press releases need checking, businesses need to act fast or miss coverage.

Getting things done in time is what meets PR deadlines

I like to get things just right / just how I like them / perfect done.

Sometimes there is not enough time to do things precisely how we want. If there’s a fixed deadline, we must make it or lose the opportunity.

That’s life.

How many good stories never get told?

Recently, I saw a company had won an award and phoned them for details. They told me to speak to one of two PR agencies that work with them. I phoned the agency and was asked to email. I emailed and heard nothing. I emailed again and was asked if there was a deadline. I replied and have heard nothing since. In the meantime, more interesting stories have come up. I wonder how much they pay their two PR agencies?

Another scenario is when I speak to a company and they say: “We’ll have to get this checked out by head office.” Now, I realise companies need to manage their PR, but they can’t control everything written about them.  And if their process is so cumbersome that they miss the deadline, it’s not worth the resources they spend on this.

Opportunities speed past

Many PR opportunities arise suddenly and need quick responses.

I know from my own PR writing that it’s good to aim for the ideal target market, timing and circumstances, but these rarely occur.

To make the most of opportunities, it’s best to:

  • Prepare as much as you can to take PR opportunities when they arise
  • Respond fast – even if it’s just to say you’re unable to say anything at this time – lack of interest could mean you never get asked again
  • Don’t wait for the perfect moment – it is unlikely to arrive and you will have missed all the other opportunities

It’s likely that if everyone from the chief executive to the cleaner has to have an ‘input’, the resulting PR will go down the pan.

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.

Improve your PR results with basic research

My work as a freelance journalist constantly reminds me what businesses should and should not do to get press coverage.

Above all, the simplest thing anyone can do is find out the right person to receive a press release on a specific topic.

What surprises me is that even though direct dial telephone numbers and email addresses of journalists sometimes accompany articles they write, many people don’t think to look for these. How do I know? Because inappropriate press releases are often forwarded by one journalist to another.

Now, if you’ve spent 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or however long writing a press release – time that could have been spent earning money from your customers – it makes sense to ensure that it gets to the right person.

I’m a forgiving soul and look at most material I receive, but not everyone is.

So before you send: look for the right person, find out their contact details and address the press release to them personally.

Does it work? Yes, because many people are doing this and get through direct to me. It’s a good start because I know they have put some thought into what they’re doing, so probably have a good story to tell. They have established my interest.

I would also recommend researching target publications before starting to write a press release, because then you will know what type of articles they tend to publish and can tailor yours to suit their style.

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