Why Doesn’t My PR Strategy Work?

There are seven common reasons that public relations programmes don’t deliver the results that you want.  He’s a quick overview:

Your message is wrong.  Most PR programs are focused on awareness, without actually taking the time to consider whether the message that’s being communicated is the right one.  If the message is wrong all the awareness in the world won’t help you achieve the desired outcome.

Read It’s the message, stupid for more on this topic.

You’re talking with the wrong audience. If you’ve not defined your audience you can’t target your message, decide which channel[s] is best for communicating with them, decide when to talk, and who their peers are.  Traditional PR agencies often target the largest possible audience in the hope of capturing the attention of a few – irrespective of whether they are the ones you need to be talking to to deliver the desired outcomes.

Read How Well Do You Know Your Audience? to understand more on why knowing your audience is essential.

Your timing is off.  If your audience isn’t defined and you don’t have a clear message you can’t hope to know when the best time is to start a conversation is.  In a world where everything is real-time and attention spans are shorter, the timing of your public relations activity is more important than ever to the attainment of successful outcomes.

You’re using the wrong channel.  There’s a myth that effective communications is about using every channel – online, offline and social.  The truth is that the most effective campaigns use the channels that your audience is using, so identifying them and developing tactics that make best use of them is important.

There is also an incorrect assumption that public relations is about communication via the media.  It’s actually about two-way communications with your audiences – the media is just one of them.

You’re PR is actually promotion. The definition of public relations is, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”  This definition was crowdsourced by the Public Relations Society of America in 2011/12 and voted on by members.  It’s the definition I’ve been using for years.  Sadly, the ‘mutually beneficial’ part is often forgotten and replaced by promotion.  Want evidence? Just read a sample of press releases on any company site!

Read Most PR and Marketing Is Actually Promotion for more on what is public relations and what is promotion.

There’s no strategy – just a process.  PR is often sold on volume, which means that the agency gets paid for the amount of work it does, not the effectiveness of it.  Press release, media outreach, interview, coverage is not a strategy – it’s a process.  It’s a process that is repeated irrespective of the size of the company, the product or service, the industry, the desired outcome… and the longer the process, the more an agency gets paid. Did somebody say strategy?

Read Let’s Be Honest – The PR ‘Sausage Factory’ Doesn’t Work Anymore to learn more.

One-Size-Fits-All PR and Marketing Strategies Don’t Work will also explain why the traditional PR agency approach doesn’t work.

Public Relations is done in a vacuum.  Effective PR should be a part of everything you do – it should be plugged in to sales, marketing communications, events, product development, growth strategy… if it’s not, it’s unlikely to deliver the desired outcomes.  It should also be something that you are actively involved in – not just turning up for press interviews.

If your PR strategy isn’t working we can help.  To find out how contact Lyndon on 647.773.2677 or email lyndon@thinkdifferently.ca

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