Public Relations Mistakes

If you want to increase the likelihood that your PR efforts will succeed, don't do the following:

Send out a poorly worded or badly organized press release, or a release with grammatical or spelling errors. Problems like those will undermine your credibility with the media and your news may not receive the attention it merits. Plus, a press release full of mistakes will reflect badly on you and your organization.

Bury the news in your press release by placing it far down in the release. Put your news and all critical details related to it (the who, what, where, and why of your news) in the very first paragraph of the release.

Write a long and rambling email pitch. Get to the point right away! If you don't, the media person to whom you sent the message may get tired of reading your message before he or she gets to the important stuff.

Send a press release to the media as an attachment. A spam filter is likely to prevent your release from ending up in the email in-boxes of the media you’re targeting. Paste your release into the body of an email instead.

Fail to incorporate social media into your public relations efforts. Also, don’t overlook blogging about the news you are publicizing or turning your news into an online article, when appropriate, and posting it at an articles web site like

Ignore media lead times. Although TV and radio typically have short lead times, monthly magazines work as much as 4 months ahead of time. So for example, if you have a Christmas-related story idea you’d like to pitch, you may need to contact the appropriate editors as early as late Summer.

Assume that you’ll get the results you want from the media right away. Sure, there are “overnight successes," but getting the media to take note of your organization often takes time, patience and multiple pitches or press releases. More often than not, polite persistence is the name of the game.

Try to cut corners by e-blasting your news or pitch to every person in your media database. Take time to figure out exactly which media are most likely to be interested in what you are publicizing.

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