The Biggest PR Mistake you can Make
There are many mistakes you can make while pursuing public relations. Fortunately, you can overcome most of those errors as long as you identify them early, however, there is one PR mistake you can rarely overcome and when it happens to you, your entire media placement is effectively worthless.
What is it? It’s when the reporter or TV station misspells your name or business – or worse – forgets to even include your name or business name in the story.
This might seem like a simple oversight and most people will give a very generous reason why it wasn’t their fault.
“I gave the reporter my business card. He should have should have looked at the spelling.” Or, if you’re savy enough to get on live TV, you might be disappointed when your friends tell you the TV station never put your name or business on the screen.
Unfortunately, it happens because reporters and producers move at warp speed. Minutes matter in print. Seconds count in TV. A deadline can’t be missed.
I helped get a friend on the local morning TV show in Phoenix and it was a great live segment. He was articulate and explained the problem. He was positioned as an expert in his field, but the TV station never put his name or business name on the screen. He could have avoided this error if he would have dropped the name of his business at the end of his live segment. I had another client who was interviewed by a reporter. It was a prominent news placement with one of New York’s largest newspapers, but the reporter spelled the business name wrong. We got the business name corrected in the online version but it wasn’t an easy task. It required several calls to the reporter and lobbying the editors to finally get the name changed in the online version.
This is why it is so important to take control of your destiny when it comes to the most important aspect of your media placement – the inclusion of your business name in the story.
Many events and consequences are outside of your control as you pursue publicity through the media. Your email might to go into the reporter’s spam folder, the reporter might click on your email just as his phone rings, or you just might have a crappy idea and no one cares about it. You can still overcome these errors if you catch these mistakes early, but you can’t always overcome when your name is omitted from a story.
In PR you want to control as much as possible, which is why you can reduce your chances of getting your name misspelled or omitted by taking a few steps.
1) Reinforce the name of your business to the reporter at the end of the interview. Spell it twice. 2) If you’re on live TV, drop your business name into the story when appropriate. 3) Ask the producer shortly before your live segment if they can include your business name. You won’t have if you don’t ask. 4) And if you’re in a taped segment, spell your name at the beginning of the taping and pronounce the business name on camera. This will help the producer find your name and title when seconds matter….. because if you get publicity but no one knows, did you really get publicity?
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Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and author of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. You can read more on his public relations agency at MaciasPR.