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  • Writer's pictureDebra Woneky

Key Mistakes Publicists Make and How to Avoid Them

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

In the world of publicity, a publicist's main objective is to generate media exposure and maintain a positive image for their clients. However, the pursuit of this goal is not always smooth sailing, and mistakes can lead to damaging consequences. I'd like to discuss key mistakes I've seen publicists make, and how they can avoid them to ensure they and their client(s) are succesful.

  1. Lack of Proper Research:

One of the most common pitfalls for publicists is insufficient research. A well-informed publicist knows the journalists, influencers, and target audience they are pitching to, and can tailor their messages accordingly.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • Invest time in researching the media landscape, industry trends, and target audience.

  • Understand the preferences and styles of the journalists and influencers you are pitching.

  • Regularly update your media lists and keep track of changes in the industry.

  1. Generic and Unappealing Pitches:

A poorly crafted pitch is often ignored or rejected by the recipients. In a world where journalists and influencers are bombarded with pitches daily, standing out is crucial.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • Personalize your pitch by addressing the recipient by name and referencing their recent work. Show you care about them specifically.

  • Be concise and clear in your pitch, focusing on the most compelling aspects of your story and how it directly relates to their story.

  • Use a captivating subject line to grab the attention of your audience.

  1. Ignoring the Power of Social Media:

Social media plays a significant role in shaping public opinion. Ignoring social platforms can limit your campaign's reach and effectiveness and make you look out of touch.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • Develop a social media strategy that is specific, actionable and complements your overall PR plan.

  • Engage with influencers, journalists, and your target audience on social platforms.

  • Monitor social media conversations and trends to stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Neglecting to Follow Up:

A lack of follow-up can lead to missed opportunities and poor relationships with journalists and influencers. It is essential to follow up on pitches and maintain communication with your contacts.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • Schedule reminders to follow up on your pitches after an appropriate amount of time has passed.

  • Be respectful and patient when following up, understanding that journalists and influencers have busy schedules.

  • Send updates, additional materials, or relevant news to maintain engagement with your contacts.

  1. Overpromising and Underdelivering:

In an effort to secure coverage, publicists may make exaggerated claims about their clients or overpromise results. This can lead to disappointment, broken trust, and a tarnished reputation.

How to avoid this mistake:

  • Be honest and transparent with your clients, setting realistic expectations from the beginning.

  • Do not oversell the potential results of a campaign; instead, focus on achievable goals.

  • Build a track record of delivering on promises, strengthening your credibility and reputation.

Publicists play an essential role in shaping public perception and generating media coverage for their clients, but they must be equally as conscious of their public perception. By avoiding the common mistakes I outlined in this post and implementing the suggested strategies, publicists can better serve their clients and maximize the success of their publicity campaigns. Remember, a well-executed campaign can propel a brand to new heights, while a poorly managed one can result in lasting damage. The same applies for a well-executed campaign's ability to propel or crater a publicist's career.

Good luck and please let me know if I can be of services.

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