Effective public relations can be a powerful tool, conferring upon the startup a wide variety of advantages. Media coverage, brand exposure, online visibility – these are just a few of the many benefits that can result from a successful campaign. However, not every PR campaign is guaranteed to be a success. Though each startup is unique, there are several common pitfalls and mistakes that can plague even the most experienced of entrepreneurs.
5 PR Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
The benefits of a successful public relations campaign, such as free publicity, increased visibility and the potential for loyal followers, can be especially alluring. However, there is both a time and a place for every tool. In order to make sure your startup doesn’t fall prey to common mistakes, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Lack of a Clear Message or Goal
Entrepreneurs are prone to having grand visions for their startup, with many envisioning themselves as “the next Google” or “the new Foursquare”. However, an unclear company mission or goal can give the impression that the startup is on unstable ground. As a result, prospective customers and visitors to your site may be turned away, looking for a more “reliable” option. Avoid this problem by clearly understanding and outlining your initial goals, and allow for flexibility and scalability.
2. The Product or Service Will Sell Itself
One common mistake is to believe that product or service is amazing enough that it will spread on its own accord. Customers will suddenly realize that they have been missing this product their entire lives, and find it on their own. However, the challenge is not to convince yourself, it’s to convince your audience. Instead of relying on word-of-mouth or viral content, make sure that you use the appropriate channels to reach your audience.
3. Inability to Move on After Failure
Throughout the startup’s lifecycle, entrepreneurs are likely to experience several ups and downs. Hopefully, a PR campaign will provide the startup with increased exposure, leads, and traffic. But at other times, a business may encounter backlash from an unsuccessful PR campaign. Unless you’ve committed an unforgivable offence, a single, failed campaign is not going to destroy the startup. Determine what the appropriate response is for the mistake, whether it’s an apology or counter-campaign. But remember to act quickly, in order to remedy the error and move on.
4. Promote Every Single Article or Story
If your startup produces whitepapers, blog articles, videos, or any other piece of content, it is recommended that you promote them as much as possible. However, not every piece of content should be turned into an elaborate PR campaign. If you constantly bombard followers with messages and updates, you may only serve to irritate your prospective customers. Determine which of your content would best benefit from a more dedicated campaign and is likely to generate the most response.
5. Relying only on PR
An effective PR strategy can be a great way to reach your target audience and increase the visibility of your brand. But it is vital to remember that public relations are only a portion of a startup’s marketing strategy. Relying solely on PR can strain your budget and leave the startup with the inability to adapt to new situations. Therefore, it is important to understand when a PR campaign comes in handy, and when to leave it for another day.
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