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Top 7 Most Common Publicity Mistakes -- Don't Sabotage Your Success!

By Bill Stoller

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The number one rule of being successful in the world of publicity (or in just about any other field, for that matter): Don't sabotage your efforts with dumb -- and easily correctable -- mistakes. Here then are the dumb things that publicity seekers do. Avoid them, and you'll be well on your way to scoring great coverage!

  1. Thinking Like an Advertiser

    The more you remind a reporter that you're a commercial entity
    seeking promotional exposure, the less chance you have. Blatant
    ad copy, excessive use of trademark symbols, overblown quotes,
    puffed-up claims and other techniques better suited for
    advertising copy are sure ways to assure that your release gets
    trashed. You must think like an objective journalist and have a
    sense of perspective about who you are and what you sell, and
    communicate that in your materials. If you just can't do that,
    chances are you've been...

  2. Getting Too Close to Your Product

    If you spend all day eating, breathing and sleeping packing tape,
    it's easy to start believing that the slight change you made in
    the thickness of your company's new packing tape is an advance on
    par with the printing press and the polio vaccine. Now, if you're
    planning on working with Packing Tape Monthly, perhaps the
    editors of that fine publication will agree. But the guys down
    at USA Today may hold a different opinion. In deciding (a)
    what's newsworthy and (b) how to present this news to the media,
    it's vital that you take many steps back and view your company as
    a marginally interested outsider might. If you can't do that, ask
    friends, family and other outsiders to help.

  3. Getting too Close to a Journalist

    I've worked with lots of reporters whose company I enjoyed. I've
    shared meals and drinks with a bunch of them. One thing I've
    never done, however, is forget who they are and what their jobs
    are. If a reporter is interviewing you, whether in person or on
    the phone, never say anything you wouldn't want to appear in a
    story. Journalists have different interpretations of what "off
    the record" means, and it's foolish to try to test those limits.
    Carefully think about everything you say, don't be pressured into
    commenting on things you don't feel comfortable about, stay on
    message, don't gossip, backbite or share secrets. In short, just
    as the journalist has his or her job to do, so too do you. Stay
    smart.

  4. Obsessing Over the Big Hits

    Maybe you really will get on Oprah. And maybe you'll win the
    lottery and never have to work again. In either case, it's
    probably a good idea to have some backup plan in place in case
    you don't beat out the 10 million or so other folks who harbor
    the same dreams.

  5. Reading from a Script

    It's pretty annoying to pick up the phone at dinner time only to
    have some guy reading a script about how great vinyl siding is.
    Now imagine how a journalist, who's busy working on deadline,
    feels about "publicists" calling up to do the same thing again
    and again. If you're planning to phone pitch a journalist, never
    read from a script or repeat a rehearsed spiel. She's a human
    being, so talk to her that way. (And always start your call with
    "Is this a good time to talk?". Never just launch into your
    pitch.)

  6. Using Outdated Media Lists

    News flash: Look magazine is out of business. So too are about
    half of the new magazines launched in the past decade, for that
    matter. Your media list is the lifeblood of your publicity
    seeking efforts. Take the time to keep it fresh and up to date,
    or you'll be wasting your time. Invest in Bacon's media guide
    (www.bacons.com), visit websites of publications that interest
    you, visit your local library or bookstore's magazine rack. Do a
    little homework and you'll get a big edge.

  7. Not Understanding Timing

    A non-savvy publicity seeker would ask, "Why do a story about
    Christmas publicity in June?" A smart publicity seeker
    understands completely. It's all in the timing. If you're not
    thinking months ahead, then it's probably too late. In early
    summer, you should be working on "back to school" releases for
    newspapers and other short-leads (it's already too late for long-
    lead magazines). Have something to offer for Thanksgiving?
    Start planning now. Learn the lead times for various
    publications, plan out a yearly schedule. Plan ahead. Plan
    ahead. Plan ahead.

Bill Stoller, the "Publicity Insider", has spent two decades as
one of America's top publicists. Now, through his website, eZine
and subscription newsletter, Free Publicity: The Newsletter for
PR-Hungry Businesses http://www.PublicityInsider.com/freepub.asp ,
he's sharing -- for the very first time -- his secrets of scoring
big publicity. For free articles, killer publicity tips and
much, much more, visit Bill's exclusive new site:
http://www.publicityInsider.com

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Bill_Stoller

Article Submitted On: April 05, 2006