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Common PR Mistakes

4 Common PR Blunders (and How to Overcome Them)

Let’s face it - no matter how hard we try, nobody is perfect. We all make an occasional wrong step, but it’s not the end of the world. Here are a few ways to overcome common PR blunders or oversights:

What’s My Name?

Email is our best friend and is one of the easiest tools we have to communicate quickly with editors. But it’s all happened to us… sometimes we are moving too fast and for whatever reason, we address the email to the wrong person!

What to do: If you catch the mistake, simply email the editor back with your apologies and leverage the opportunity to ask how you can help with any stories they are working on. If you don’t catch the mistake and an editor calls you out on it, again, express your apologies and depending on the tone of the email, say something funny to lighten the mood. Of course, be more careful in the future!

Be a Resource, not a Nuisance

When pitching the media, it is important to have hi-res images, samples, media kit, etc. ready to go before you send your email. But what if an editor replies with an immediate need that you can't fill – whether they request an image that you don’t have on file or the samples are all loaned out to other media outlet?

What to do: Simply apologize to the editor for the delay, ask for the deadline and work to get the assets to the editor as quickly as possible. If this repeats in the future, make sure to convey to your client that extra samples, etc. may be needed, as we all know that the brand will have missed the opportunity and an editor will quickly move on to another brand that is more prepared.

Success Metrics

It’s important that clients everyone understand and agree on what will make for a successful campaign, so that expectations can be managed properly. While PR is traditionally measured by circulation or readership numbers, other factors can be equally as important – reach, engagement, social media numbers, etc.

What to do: Be sure to share thorough campaign results with the brand, and provide examples of how different types of campaigns can increase the brand’s visibility – whether it’s through print mediums or increasing their Instagram reach.

Not so Newsworthy

As PR professionals, we know it is important to provide the media with newsworthy information and stories regarding your clients. But there may be times when your client wants you to pitch a story to the media that is not considered newsworthy by the press, or is very specific about being included in a particular magazine. You don’t want to waste an editor’s time or seem incompetent about what they cover; moreover, you don’t want to set up unrealistic expectations with the client that the story may get covered.

What to do: Instead, take time to explain to your client why their idea, event, etc. may not be newsworthy, and explain why it’s in everyone’s best interest to not move forward with the pitch. Be prepared with alternative pitch ideas, or alternative media outlets who might run the story. If the story is not at all newsworthy, suggest they write about it in a blog post or upcoming newsletter.

What additional issues to do run into on the job? Share in a comment or on Twitter!

Photo Credit: Lara Cores

About the author: Jamie Werner


Jamie Werner is Director of PR at Moderne Press. With over twelve years of marketing and public relations experience, working with a wide variety of lifestyle brands, Jamie's passion is to help brands successfully attain their goals by securing national press. Her clients have been featured in top media outlets such as the Better Homes & Gardens, Coastal Living, Cosmopolitan, DailyCandy, InStyle, Lonny, Lucky, Marie Claire, People StyleWatch, Pregnancy & Newborn, Redbook, Sunset, Vanity Fair, Good Morning America, New York Times, Today Show, The Zoe Report and WhoWhatWear among others.

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Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me a note.