20 Publicists Reveal the Biggest PR Mistakes Your Small Business Makes

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11. Refine your media lists.

“Targeting big-name press and media outlets, just because they have name recognition and large audiences isn’t always the best way to go. There is far more value in a local and niche media outlets, where your audience will be more relevant and interested in your message.” Chicago: Ryan Evans, President at Bitesize PR: @bitesizepr


12. Maximize the momentum.

“Most businesses don’t know how to maximize the exposure they get with a public relations program. There is so much more you can do with an article, a news clip, radio interview or blog review after it airs or runs. And once you receive press, don’t rely on PR solely to move the needle with sales without any other type of marketing or advertising program.” NYC: Elyse Bender-Segall, CEO at PR Revolution: @prrevolution


13. Be realistic and give it time.

“You don’t give PR enough time to work effectively, and expect it to make your business flourish overnight. Many small businesses only utilize PR for a short amount of time and then abandon it quickly when it doesn’t live up to their unrealistic expectations.” Los Angeles: Steven Le Vine, President/CEO at Grapevine PR: @grapevinepr


14. Invest in your brand.

“Don’t underestimate the value of investing in professional photography, branding collateral and press samples. Presentation is everything when you launch a new brand and introduce your business to influencers, media and to the public for the first time. To get the most out of your PR investment, be sure to equip your publicist or agency with the proper tools to succeed.” NYC: Carla M. Nikitaidis, President/Founder at CMN PR @cmnpr


15. Understand your target audience.

“Small businesses sometimes shoot for coverage in outlets that are not relevant to their audience or end goals. When planning PR strategy, the intended business results should always be at the forefront — not coverage just to have ‘ink’.” NYC: Karen D’Angelo Hopp, Co-Founder/Partner at Bazini Hopp: @karenhopp


16. Hire a Firm that Get’s It! 

“Don’t hire a large PR firm for namesake that can’t cater to the unique needs of a small business. With a small agency or consultant you can, more often than not, spend a lot less money and get a higher level of work done. If you hire a consultant, you can gain 11 years of experience for the price of a junior account executive at a larger firm and know who’s handling your account.” Los Angeles: Elizabeth Rosenberg, President at LOFT Marketing & Communications: @loftmkt


17. Learn what public relations really means.

“Many small business owners are extremely excited to be in business and assume the most immediate need for their business is public relations. PR is a component of Marketing, so it’s essential for you to have a clear understanding of your brand first and to set some long-term marketing goals prior to seeking PR.” Houston: Ashley Small, President/Digital PR Specialist at Medley Incorporated: @ashleyrsmall


18. Create a crisis management plan.

“A mistake or failure on the operations side requires fast mobilization to address the underlying issue as well as the resultant problems with key audiences. Too many small organizations don’t think it’s worth investing any time or capital in this area, and they frequently pay for it in the long run – because the margin of error drops to zero over time for any successful business.” Los Angeles: Brad Chase, Partner at Capitol Media Partners: @mrbradchase


19. Stop pitching the wrong media outlet.

“Too often small businesses (and some PR firms) don’t take the time to make sure a media outlet is the right fit for their publicity needs. Pitching to everyone is a waste of time and a great way to get blacklisted.” Austin: Shennandoah Diaz, CEO and Master of Mayhem at Brass Knuckles Media: @brasskmedia


20. Think beyond the press release.

“PR is a relationship between your company and the media. Nurturing that relationship is invaluable. Befriend reporters relevant to your business and make sure they know you and your company long before you have a new release or other press event. Then when the time comes you’re sharing news with a good friend and not sending a Word document full of press speak.” NYC: Sarah Kunst, Founder at whEnroute: @sarahkunst


21. BONUS:  Be prepared.

“Great, we can get you coverage but you need a call to action. Always invest first in a web site that functions before investing in media relations as part of PR. Also PR needs to be a priority; it is an investment in the longevity of your business so please make time for it.” Chicago: Stephanie Krol, Owner at Stephanie Krol Public Relations (SKPR): @stephkrol

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