We’ve written quite a bit in this blog about the importance of PR metrics in monitoring and implementing successful PR.
However, while numbers and measurements surely have their place in your PR management, there are “soft,” non-numerical indicators that are worth looking at, too.
These are signs and symptoms that help you see whether your PR is going the right way.
Below, we offer you the…
7 Signs You Could Be Doing Better in PR
1. When you send out a press release or media pitch, your phone doesn’t ring.
Is there anything worse than not getting any reaction at all to your press releases or pitches? If this happens all the time, take a close look at:
- how newsworthy your pitches are
- the quality of your media list
2. Your interview skills are rusty.
When was the last time you were interviewed by a journalist or blogger in your industry? Can’t remember. Yeah, it’s been too long. If your pitches aren’t effective, it’s no wonder your coverage has been sparse and your media skills have suffered.
Don’t wait for interview opportunities. Always have your key messages burned into your memory. Practice in front of the mirror, or with employees. Use your “sound bites” at meetings or conferences. You never know when the next PR opportunity will come.
3. You don’t have a media list, or it hasn’t been updated in the last month.
With media organizations downsizing, it’s easy for your media list to get old and stale. Make sure the contact information in your media list is updated.
Another bad sign is if your media list includes only journalists in traditional media — radio, TV, newspapers and magazines — and don’t include bloggers, podcasters and vloggers.
Another thing to watch out for is a media list that does not include your contact’s social media profiles, such as Twitter handle, LinkedIn page, Facebook page, and personal website.
4. You don’t know what’s being said about your company, product, or your competitors.
There’s no excuse for you not to know what’s being said about your business and your competitors. It’s easy enough to stay on top of these things: Sign up for a Google alert for your company name, product name, and names of executives (and those of your competitors). Or populate your RSS reader with search results of these keywords.
5. Key journalists in your industry keep writing about your competitors (and not you).
If your company or product is new in the market, this is understandable. But if you’ve been around at least a couple of years, journalists who regularly cover your industry, especially local media, should recognize you by now.
If you keep thinking that you are the “best kept secret” in your industry, brainstorm some newsworthy activities or pitches you can make, and send them out ASAP. Building relationships take time, and the time to start is now.
6. You still don’t have a social media PR plan.
You can no longer ignore social media. It is here and it’s here to stay. It may seem like additional work for you, but in truth it’s easy to integrate social media into your traditional PR plan.
Need help? Download this complimentary social media PR guide.
7. You respond defensively to negative PR and customer complaints.
Social media has made it easy for everyone, including disgruntled customers, to publish their views on your product. If you react to negative publicity by being defensive — or worse, hostile — then you’re doing your image more harm.
Monitor what’s being said about you, so you can respond to complaints in a timely fashion. Take the discussion into a more private medium, such as email. And resolve the issue as quickly as you can.
As an example, a client had an unhappy customer who didn’t receive a product in the timeframe promised. The customer broadcasted a complaint over Twitter. By acknowledging the customer’s complaint quickly and looking into the situation, our client showed the public that they cared about their customers and are committed to doing right by them. We didn’t have to give anything more than an apology and making sure the package was indeed on its way, and the promised product arrived a few days later.
This is how negative PR becomes positive PR, because that same complaining customer has become one of our client’s biggest fans, constantly re-tweeting our client, posting photos on the client’s Facebook wall and singing their praises publicly.
What other warning signs of failing PR have you seen out there? What’s one thing you could you be doing better?
Image by martoppel
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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