Common PR Pitfalls that Can Affect Media Coverage
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Common PR Pitfalls that Can Affect Media Coverage

Common PR Pitfalls that Can Affect Media Coverage

Marketing and communications efforts in 2020 were challenging to navigate. With the cancellation of events and more people social distancing due to COVID-19, companies pivoted strategies (multiple times) in sharing announcements and connecting with audiences. 

As a result, big brands and small businesses alike relied heavily on public relations. And in 2020, with more than 30 million small businesses as more people are opting for the path of entrepreneurship, securing coverage this year was not easy. The busy news cycle wasn’t the only reason but media companies encountered their own challenges due to the pandemic with smaller staffs or completely folding all together. Outside of the media’s limited bandwidth, there are some common PR pitfalls that lead to lack of interest or stories for our clients and businesses – even without the pandemic. 

Whether you have an agency or If PR will still be a part of your communications plan going into 2021, then here are some items to consider before engagement. 

Get clear on your “why” and the value you bring to the marketplace.

Your brand’s purpose and mission is vital to telling your story, but your value proposition or unique selling point is how you will stand out amongst competitors and capture the attention of your consumers – as well as journalists. For example, when it comes to food delivery service apps – there are several. While some are limited based on location availability, there are those that are competitively priced, offer premium restaurants or faster service. Either way journalists want to easily discern what you’re bringing to the table that sets you apart from the others and why your business benefits their readers. 

Your news or business is relevant and timely.

While it is cliche – timing is everything. The news cycle will never cease. There will forever be breaking news on a national and local level that may supersede what you’re hoping to announce. 2020 proved this to be true. From COVID-19 to racial protests to the elections, small businesses had a difficult time in breaking through. At the start of the pandemic, there were several stories informing readers how they could make work-from-home life easier through products or services. This summer, there were lists and round-ups on every Black-owned product you could find. Be mindful that there will be moments where your company will be hot and there will be lulls. Continue to monitor the news to learn where you can be a resource due to what you have to offer based on what’s trending or taking place.

PR should supplement the overarching marketing strategy and support the business goals.

Public relations works best when it is supporting other marketing and advertising efforts. Whether running digital ads across specific websites or active on social media, your brand’s message needs to be seen multiple times in order for desired action to take place. Seeking to acquire new customers? Advertising is your go-to communications tactic. Looking to build trust with your business and service? This is where PR comes into play by leveraging existing customers or partners as “case studies” or “proof points.”  However, if a business owner that uses your app found great financial success, their story can support other business owners. However, in order for a business to have customers and partners, advertising, email marketing and social media must be implemented so you can accomplish your set out business goals.

Keeping the above in mind when building out your PR strategy will help you be more effective in your media outreach and storytelling. If you’re finding that your business is still trying to nail down the mission or hoping to announce during other major national news, then take a time out. Get clear on your value, research better dates and understand how PR will fill in where other communications tactics lack. This will lead to better traction in landing placements and ultimately success.  

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