Why PR may not be right for your business

It goes well against any PR person’s natural instincts to say this, yet there are some instances when I definitely wouldn’t recommend PR as a solution to grow a business.

I wanted to talk about some common mistakes that I see when people decide they need PR.   

Something in your business doesn’t stack up.

Think of all the ways a business makes headlines for all the wrong reasons. Fraudulent practice, being complicit in illegal activities, contributing to negative environmental or human impact. 

If you have any inkling that the business you’re representing doesn’t align with a decent moral compass, (first of all, why are you working there?), secondly, it really doesn’t make sense to promote them, least of all to the media. If something doesn’t stack up to you, it will definitely get found out by the media, whose job it is to report the truth. Scare tactics over, let’s move on.

You don’t have buy in from your senior team

The nature of public relations often requires comments, quotes, input and interviews (often out of hours), from senior team members. If your board hasn’t bought in to this, then PR may not be right for your business. Remember that those who are always available for comment build trust with journalists and influencers and get the results in consistent PR coverage.

You don’t take a long term view 

Unless you happen to have a gift of a story – something that taps into the current news agenda, to trends or even if your sister in law is editor at The Telegraph, PR is a long term game. 

You can use relationships that your PR has built up over the years, but things don’t always happen overnight. It usually takes a good 3-6 months to start seeing results.

You expect it to be a one way street

Clients that give timely feedback, quotes and market reports direct from the trenches always get more media coverage than those who don’t reply in time for deadlines. The nature of the media is that it works on a constant deadline and just one missed opportunity can mean journalists no longer approach your business if they get let down.   

You don’t have a photography budget

Having a budget throughout the year for extra editorial style photography will help you secure media coverage for your business. All media titles are looking for quality images to appeal to their readers.

Tip: Make sure you get professionals to do the images. It can mean the difference between a story that gets published and one that doesn’t. I wrote all about this here.

You’re not willing to go out of your comfort zone

You might be a local business owner with an expertise in property, but the latest news agenda requires spokespeople on wider issues. For example, you’ll see media savvy Sir Richard Branson talking about everything from entrepreneurship to space to Brexit. 

Think about what other topics you can discuss (think taxes, budget, small business or impact of a change in government). This will secure you as a good spokesperson to call on tight media deadlines and in turn get you more profile.  

Your people don’t understand how PR can help grow their part of the business 

Also known as having your ear to the ground. Often some of the best stories come from the people who are doing the deals (your sales team), those noticing new trends (research), new hires. Even just a flippant comment about what’s going on in your industry can make a great PR story. Always be thinking news!

I hope this helps you decide whether you’re ready to benefit from PR in your business. I’d love to know your thoughts, so please add your comments below.

Rachel M Clark is a PR Director at Wrapped PR Ltd. She has been making brands famous since 2000 and has experience growing multinational businesses and helping entrepreneurs to launch and grow. Follow her on Instagram @thepublicitycoach

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