What to do if your PR isn’t working

Here at Catherine Lane Towers, we are big fans of monitoring our PR campaigns to ensure that we constantly hit the right notes for our clients. It’s been nearly a year since AVE was formally discarded, but any PR worth their salt would agree that metrics – providing they are bespoke to a client’s requirements – still have their place when it comes to evaluating results.

Assessing your activity throughout a campaign will keep you on the right track to getting the outcomes you want so, conversely, can also quickly flag up when your PR isn’t working. If you’re concerned that your efforts aren’t reaping the rewards you think they should, here are a few things to consider:

1. Are your press releases newsworthy?
There is little worse than getting scant reaction when you send out your beautifully written press release. To prevent this from happening, scrutinise how newsworthy your press release is. Your client’s latest product launch might be huge news to them, but it won’t be to a journalist so ensure you have an appropriate angle eg how the product can provide benefits that solve a topical industry issue.

The other thing to remember is double checking a press releases’ relevance to the publications you are sending it to. Something as simple as tweaking the introductory paragraph could secure you better coverage.

2. Is your media list up-to-date?
The age of austerity has been biting hard when it comes to publications and other media companies, which means a high level of staff turnover. Making sure your database is ‘clean’ might seem like a significant time investment, but it will ensure you don’t waste your efforts carefully crafting pitches that don’t get seen.

3. Does your media list include bloggers?
Traditional media is no longer the only fruit; blogs are increasingly prolific and influential. Your media list should include them, but remember to approach with care! Don’t just add bloggers to your distribution list, take the time to see what they cover and personalise your angle. Many bloggers welcome contact from PRs, as long as the product or service is relevant to their content and with the caveat that editorial on the site is independent. And if a blogger asks you not to send them press releases, make sure you take them off your list. Otherwise you could find yourself or your company being blogged about for all the wrong reasons……

4. What part is social media playing?
Most companies have dipped their toe in the social media waters by now but there are still a few that feel nervous about getting involved but there is really no need. Social media is now a stalwart of most PR plans and rightly so; PR has always been about communication and this is increasingly how people communicate.

If you aren’t participating yet, there’s no time like the present to get involved. If you are already up and running on Twitter, for instance, set aside an hour to make sure you are following, engaging with and re-tweeting the right people. A common concern is what to do if a customer tweets a complaint or criticism in such a public forum. The answer is simple; follow it up swiftly with a tweet saying you’ll contact them directly, then move to more private communication such email or a phone call to resolve the issue. Handled correctly, you’re likely to find that negative PR will soon be turned to positive.

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  • About the Author

    After more than 10 years working in PR and media planning, providing clients with great PR and delivering tangible results still brings a smile to my face! Before joining CLPR, I worked across a variety of sectors including lifestyle and finance, and my wider experience in marketing means I understand just how PR fits into the mix. Outside of work, I play with my children, read obsessively, talk myself out of going to the gym and cook huge quantities of food for friends.

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