5 habits PR people must break

Tactics that may have worked years ago may have the opposite effect now. Try to avoid falling into these traps.

PR is an evolving field, as advances in business and technology change the way we do our jobs.

Many standard operating practices once deemed “must-do” for every practitioner have become “must-don’t.”

Here we examine some “highly ineffective” habits that may be holding PR pros back:

1. Reaching out to reporters in the wrong way. There are many ways to determine how individual reporters wish to be contacted. Smart PR people make it their job to know reporter preferences, since it can be the difference between developing an ongoing working relationship or ending up in the journalist’s dreaded “Blocked” folder. Use Muck Rack and Cision to research individual contacts, but best to develop enough of a relationship to find out if they hate getting phone calls (as many do) or really prefer outreach via Twitter or Facebook (many really do not).

2. Neglecting their own PR. Those in the PR business are often the worst at trumpeting their own achievements. Be it blogging, social outreach, or business awards, it’s wise to take advantage of all the arrows in the promotional quiver and burnish your own reputation the way you do for your company or team.

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3. Offering too many solutions. PR people are at their best when they can present a recommendation and make a sound and strategic case for why it will work. One great idea, well developed and articulated, can be much more effective than a smorgasbord of so-so solutions in the name of volume.

4. Over-relying on the press release. When was the last time you had news that truly warranted a press release? A customized pitch is so much more effective — and without the journalistic conventions – it frees you up to get creative, but keep pitches short and to the point. Reserve releases for major news announcements.

5. Ignoring the data. Never have PR teams had access to the kind of data we have now, yet not everyone takes advantage of what’s available. Analytics for everything from website visits, content and other downloads and media coverage are at our disposal to help make smarter decisions. All of this good information must be factored into campaign planning, budgeting and reporting.

Marijane Funess is the media relations director of Crenshaw Communications. A version of this story appeared on the Crenshaw Communications Blog.

Topics: PR

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