4 big PR pitching downfalls companies commonly make
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In our last blog post, we explained some of the most common mistakes Finnish companies make when it comes to approaching PR, such as failing to realize what’s interesting to other people and where to target your efforts. Yet this is only half of the story. Actually going out there and approaching journalists and the media is a different matter.
Getting things right operationally can be the difference between your PR efforts being a roaring success or a miserable flop. In my experience, these are 4 of the most common PR pitching downfalls Finnish companies make when it comes to executing their campaigns.
They don’t pitch the story
Pitching is the most underrated yet most effective way to gain press coverage for your story. Every day, literally thousands of press releases are sent out into the stratosphere, with the vast majority failing to receive a single piece of media coverage.
By failing to understand the media cycle and how they operate, you’re not giving yourself the best chance of a story happening. Journalists need time to consider and research the story, write it, run it past their editor, get it to IT to upload, etc., – all of this takes time. Not only that, but you’re competing with companies all around the world doing the same thing. If you fire off a press release and expect the New York Times to cover it straight away, you’re going to be disappointed.
A good concise pitch offering the news under embargo and well in advance of the announcement date is a great way to help journalists do their job and give yourself a greater chance of getting that all-important article for your awareness and credibility.
They don’t follow up
Not everything goes to plan in PR. You’ve identified the perfect journalist who covers the exact beat your news is related to and you spend ages carefully crafting the right pitch, only to hear nothing back. You wait and wait, and still nothing. Failing to follow up is such a common but critical mistake.
Maybe they were too busy to reply or maybe they’re not interested right now because they covered something similar very recently. There’s an abundance of reasons as to why they didn’t get back to you, but without a proper follow-up, you could lose your chance of getting covered in a story.
Make sure that each time you follow up, you wait long enough and also provide some brand new information that adds value to the story you already pitched. “Circle back” at your own peril.
They don’t have a press kit for announcements
A press kit is a page on your website or a shared folder that makes it easy for journalists to learn about your company and access high-quality photos and videos for them to use in their content. Simply, it’s a bank of essential content that enriches the stories journalists and influencers are able to create about you.
Journalists are busy with hundreds of competing pitches and emails coming in every day and don’t want to be chasing you up for media materials that they need to use to tell your story. Decisions are often made fast, so if you’ve not provided a link to your press kit in the email, they will probably move on to something else that’s better prepared.
They fail to fully leverage their earned media coverage
I hear it so often: “We got press! Now what?” While your press coverage will help you get visibility among a great deal of your target audience, there is still a limit to its reach. You need to share and push your news through your sales and marketing channels to maximize your reach. Sustained PR and marketing activities that work in support of each other will ultimately help your inbound and sales prospects in the long-run.
By making life as easy as possible for the press and avoiding this list of PR pitching downfalls, you’re giving your company the best shot at succeeding at PR execution. Combining the right strategy with the right story will make an impact on your company’s overall awareness, as well as sales and marketing efforts.
We’ve worked with over 175 different Finnish growth companies over the past 11 years to help them tell purpose-driven stories to the world. To find out more about how we can help yours, click below.
The writer is San Francisco Agency’s Senior Communications Specialist Tim Gilbert, or like some of us like to call him, Timbonator. After retiring from his acting career, he has excelled in international PR pitching and writing top-notch technological articles and blogs.