Don’t “Groundhog Day” These Common PR Mistakes
By Laura Vandiver, VP of Research and Strategic Insight
We’ve all seen the now iconic 1993 Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, where Murray’s weatherman character (reporting on whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow) becomes hopelessly trapped in a time warp, forced to relive the same, awful day over and over again. On Groundhog Day. So, in the spirit of that movie, we present to you 5 common PR mistakes that you can stop repeating. Implement these changes, and you will not be forced into awkward apologies. We promise.
1) Stop sending deliverables to a client that have not been edited/proofread multiple times, by multiple people. We’ve all done it: you’ve hit “send” on an important document for a client, and then…you notice a mistake. Or worse, the client notices the mistake and let’s you know about it. Usually when this happens, it’s because you decided to proofread the document yourself. Get into a habit of having multiple staff review documents and important emails before they are sent to your client.
2) Stop sending press releases to every journalist on the planet. In our research with people who work in the media (as well as our combined years of experience in the PR business), we have found that journalists and broadcasters who receive random press releases—especially on topics they don’t cover—immediately ignore them. A good strategy is to target the correct and relevant people to send your release to, rather than sending it to hundreds of people and getting no traction for your story. Do your research!
3) Stop being reactive, start being proactive. This is why we love strategy so much here at TVG. We love looking ahead at what’s coming, and helping our clients navigate tricky situations. How do we do that? By proactively planning for various future outcomes. Whether it’s creating a crisis plan (before the crisis) or writing multiple press releases that address different outcomes for an event, we are always thinking about how we can further the strategic business goals of our clients. Reacting to every situation in the moment is a recipe for disaster that only makes you and your clients look bad.
4) Stop using jargon. Our Senior VP, Andy Likes, is a stickler for this one! Never assume that your audience knows the obscure acronym you’ve just included in a release, a presentation, on social media, or any other number of formats. Just spell everything out. Clearly. We are communicators, so communicating in a way that is easily understood by the audience is our primary goal.
5) Stop launching campaigns with no way to measure success. One of the very first things you should ask your client when starting a new project is “What does success look like, and how will we measure it?” Without any clear measurement goals, you have no idea what the significance of the campaign was or if you’ve been successful. Having measures integrated into your PR campaign means you will know if you’ve impacted awareness, changed beliefs, or increased the use of a product over time.
Implementing these tips will go a long way at keeping your clients happy, as well as meeting your business goals. Enjoy your Groundhog Day—without the repetition!