In Public Relations, every day is a learning curve. With interactions with customers, clients and stakeholders becoming increasingly virtual and distant, one thing’s for sure: good communication and storytelling remain as the crux of a good PR strategy and to maximise brand awareness.

In the bid to get optimal media coverage in an over-saturated and competitive market, are you making these PR mistakes?

No Media Relations
In the world of PR, media relations cannot be neglected. Having someone’s contact details does not mean that you have a good relation with that particular person – having the email of your country’s president does not mean that you know the president personally. A relationship requires time and effort in play by both parties.

Connections are created through building rapport, connecting with each other on a personal level, and understanding and empathising with each other. Unfortunately, many companies and individuals tend to overlook this. They forget about basic etiquette and bombard journalists with many irrelevant messages, while expecting instantaneous and patient replies.

Here are some tips to combat the issue of having no media relations! Firstly, follow up with the respective journalists in an emphatic yet straight-forward manner. After all, follow-ups are an essential part of PR. Secondly, take the time and effort to send intro emails out and build a list of key contacts, keeping in touch with them with the goal of providing value to them as well as for your brand.

Focusing Only On Top Media
Yes indeed, all the top media outlets do grab a significant amount of attention from the public, resulting in greater awareness of a certain product, greater crowds at a certain area, and more online engagement.

Undoubtedly, top media are still one of PR’s key priorities. However, here is the loophole: Will it still be effective if your targeted audience has nothing to do with the top media?

Imagine yourself as an avid classical music lover and always being on the lookout for news of classical music concerts and events. However, one day you missed out on a huge classical concert, because it was being advertised by an international sporting magazine.

Cue tragic string music

Therefore, it is extremely important to be sure of your target audience, and not have the misconception that it is a must to reach out to your target audience using top media all the time.

Always put your target audience as one of your priorities. If the target audience only enjoys reading publications that do not belong to a top media outlet, just focus on multiple smaller media outlets, such as blogs and online magazines. Who knows? They may have loyal audiences that are more engaged than the larger media outlets.

Inappropriate Timing
In PR, good timing is heavily valued. Bad timing can easily mean failure.

If a company releases its press release at an inappropriate time, they can get into deep trouble. An example would be Google, publishing information at the wrong time which resulted in a PR disaster as Google’s shares went down by 8 per cent.

If you send your pitch after an identical story that has just been published, your story will likely fail to gain momentum among journalists. This will cost you brand awareness which you may never recuperate!

You can start off by doing ample research on different areas, one of them being the deadline of publications or TV shows that you’re pitching to.

Also consider the type of news you want to release and the place you want it to be featured while being attentive to what is happening in your industry and plan your pitch at a time when it’s going to be fresh and relevant simultaneously.

For example, if the news “The hottest KPOP boy band BTS is coming to Singapore” has just been released, publishing “Jay Chou is expected to hold a concert in Singapore this coming year” would not be a wise decision.

Cue emotional Jay Chou song

Remember, timing is key!

Exaggerated Self Promotion
Surely, self-promotion is needed for a brand or product to stand out, allowing for more awareness. A huge mistake companies make is the fact that they focus TOO MUCH on self-promotion.

Journalists want to catch the attention of the public by writing interesting articles that intrigue readers. Thus, journalists definitely do not want to come across media releases of companies that are too focused on their self-promotion. Too much self-promotion will be off-putting as it gives off the impression that the whole world revolves around yourself and your product.

No matter how revolutionary or relevant your product is, people will get tired of listening to you.
Studies have also suggested that if you indulge in too many self-promotional activities, you will likely experience a nearly 50% drop in customer trust.

To avoid this, you must realise that marketing is a gradual progress that cannot be rushed. Be sure to be informative and not repetitive!