Are you doing PR for your wedding business? It doesn’t have to be difficult but people seem to make the same mistakes and they hold them back. By avoiding these 8 common PR mistakes you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting coverage and you’ll avoid looking like you have no idea what you’re doing!
#1 Sending out a blanket press release
This is a big one. If you’ve ever gotten one of these you know how spammy they are. It usually starts with a “Dear Sir/Madam” with an attached press release and you can see that it was sent to not just you, but 300 other email addresses. You can’t just spray and pray with PR. This is the sort of thing that is going to get deleted from a journalist’s inbox in a hot second.
#2 Not paying attention to editorial calendars & lead times
All publications have an editorial calendar that they operate from & they’re usually working quite far ahead of themselves. It’s December and you’re probably thinking about the holidays but pitching something about that now is going to be WAY too late and journalists will know that you haven’t bothered to educate yourself about their lead time. You can find a publications editorial calendar in their media kit or just ask. It’s better to ask than to pitch them something for an issue that has already gone to print.
#3 Neglecting to make your pitch relevant to the journalist & the readers
Journalists are busy and if you want to be featured you need to connect the dots between your idea and their readers. Tell them why this is a good fit for the publication, where you think it could fit and why it appeals to their readers. When you don’t do this you reduce your chances of getting coverage because you’re making more work for the journalist. Writing a pitch that is all about how fantastic you are is not relevant to anyone but you….and maybe your mom, so keep that in mind!
#4 Using poor grammar & spelling
Editors and journalists pay close attention to grammar & spelling – they have to. If you email them a pitch or a press release that shows that you didn’t take the time to run it through spell check or grammar check it’s going to get thrown away. I always like having people look over things for me because when I proofread my own work, I sometimes miss things.
#5 Assuming “no” means “no forever”
If a journalist turns you down (and it will happen), don’t assume that means “no forever”. That journalist may have loved your idea but it just wasn’t the right time or they didn’t need any additional content at this point. That doesn’t mean you should never email them again. You can even ask them when would be a better time to get in touch for this type of story. No means no for now.
#6 Starting with “Dear Sir/Madam”
Do you ever get those weird spam emails that start with “Dear Sir/Madam”? What do you do with those? I delete them immediately because if someone is going to write me an email & ask something of me without even bothering to learn my name, I don’t want anything to do with them. Editors and journalists feel the exact same way when you do this to them. It’s not difficult to find a journalist’s name – just refer to their website or the credits in the front of a magazine.
#7 Not doing your homework
Before you reach out to a particular publication you should first read it to see if it actually is a good fit. When you don’t do your homework, it’s usually obvious to an editor. If you’re pitching a particular type of story they never cover it’s pretty clear you’ve never read their publication and that is not going to bode well for you.
#8 Pitching to sources that don’t align with your ideal client
This goes back to doing your homework. If you are trying to pitch a publication just because you like them, but your ideal client doesn’t, it’s not going to do much for you even if you do get published. Go where your ideal clients are. Don’t know where your ideal clients congregate? Ask them!
I’m not a PR expert but Nicola Russill-Roy of Propose PR is and she is doing a training for Inner Circle members in January all about creating your PR plan for 2015. If you aren’t a member yet, be sure to join by the end of January so you don’t miss out on this amazing training!