By Rieva Lesonsky
Building value in your company means constantly “pounding the pavement” to bring in new customers and getting attention from local and national media. Some small businesses can afford to hire a professional PR agency to handle the details and follow-up, but that might cost you a big chunk of your working capital. If you opt to do your own public relations, you risk making PR blunders you can’t afford to make. Here are four PR mistakes to avoid:
1. Scaring away potential customers: Sure, you know your target market well, but you may not realize there are a lot of people who are on the fringes or even the outside of your target market that could become loyal customers. Think about the phrasing in your PR efforts and be careful not to offend anyone.
2. Ignoring social media. Consumers and the media turn to social media when they want to find out more information, to state an opinion or to establish a personal connection with a business. The worst thing you can do is to ignore them. Check your Facebook,Twitter,Google+ and Pinterest accounts regularly to establish relationships with consumers and the media. Connecting with bloggers, journalists and editors using social media may score your business some press coverage. Don’t forget to check your reputation on review sites like Yelp.com and answer any criticism before a bad review goes viral.
3. Using too much industry jargon. When crafting your press release, be careful not to turn off your reader by using too much insider jargon. Keep the message simple and don’t over-embellish. Journalists don’t want to have to cut through the hyperbole to get to the message. Make sure the press release is topical and relevant to your intended audience.
4. Not returning a call. If someone from the media contacts you, make sure you either talk to or get back to them immediately. Bloggers and reporters are always on deadline and if they can’t get a quote from you, they’ll turn to your competitor. If you can anticipate what the questions will be and have your answers ready to go, even better. Find out when the blog post or article will appear and ask for the reporter’s Twitter name so you can retweet the mention.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports