A cumbersome approval process can waste a fleeting PR opportunity.
While press releases need checking, businesses need to act fast or miss coverage.
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.
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 do you want to hear your story?
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.
No, we don’t have a franking machine. No, I don’t want to win tickets to football matches. No, no, no.
It’s all right, I woke up feeling cheerful this morning, so why the rant?
It’s not really a rant, but annoyance at poor marketing.
When I go to a cashpoint, I don’t want to be offered the chance to win football tickets as I have no interest in football. The assumption that I am interested annoys me. Now, promotions through cash machines are a challenge to target as most people need cash, both those who like sport and those who don’t. If my bank wants to drive away non-sports lovers, it’s doing a good job. If it wants to keep us happy, it could either stop offering football tickets or offer a range of tickets for other activities, eg theatre, music, film. These wouldn’t just not annoy me but would actually attract me to participate in the promotion.
And I wouldn’t feel so annoyed if sales people phoned up and asked if we had a franking machine rather than asking to speak to the person in charge of the franking machine which we haven’t got. How sloppy is this? If they can’t be bothered to establish whether or not the franking machine they think we have exists, it’s unlikely they would provide good service had we got one.
Just a slight alteration and all annoyance can be avoided.
It’s worth remembering if you don’t want to annoy potential customers.
We’re getting more enquiries from businesses needing to do something fast . . . a sales letter, a blog, revised web site text. Unsurprisingly, businesses in every sector are having to work harder to attract and retain clients, and their marketing tools need to be in good shape to help them do this.
Before we can write a sales letter or blog, we ask questions so that we understand clients’ objectives and usually the answers are in their business plan, if they have one. A useful business plan is one used to direct the business, not an academic exercise to please banks or lenders, which can often bear little resemblance to reality. Even a brief plan of a page or two can be effective.
A good plan will remind a business about its core objectives, key markets, required level of sales and other important targets. In a challenging marketplace, it’s useful to review your business plan and objectives, and modify it to reflect changing circumstances. For example, with the difficulties being experienced by sectors such as financial services and car manufacturing, should an existing focus on one of these be switched to another sector? It’s also possible for difficulties in a specific sector to open up new opportunities and the business plan can be adapted if you want to take advantage of these.
Businesses with an understanding of current market conditions and an up-to-date business plan can monitor their progress easily to see what is working and how they are doing against their targets. They can also see what is not working and stop or modify unsuccessful activities.
When you have clear objectives, know your target audience and understand what they want, it’s much easier to develop marketing tools that will put your plan into action and help it succeed.