You probably heard about the PR clanger that Google dropped last week.
They distributed a media release before it had been completed – and included the line ‘Pending Larry Quote’ at the top. This caused much hilarity in the global media, particularly as the release was about a sensitive topic: Google’s drop in profits.
I have to say, I felt a little sorry for the PR person who was behind it. Talk about a big mistake!
But it got me thinking about the smaller mistakes made by small businesses who try their hand at PR.
What are some of the more common mistakes? Here are five essential ways to avoid a PR blunder for your start-up – or how not to ‘do a Google’:
1. Don’t assume your story is interesting. Find an angle
This is an easy mistake to make. You have been working on your new start-up or your home-based business for a while. You know it’s interesting.
Will anyone else think so or are you too close to it? If you can almost see it in the media already – what would the headline be? If you don’t find a newsworthy angle then it is unlikely to get picked up.
Think laterally, ask others or just brainstorm a few ideas. You can’t do a straight ‘this is my business, isn’t it great’ type of release or eyes will roll when it gets in front of a journalist.
There are a few online resources and articles that can help you find a good angle – try Googling it!
Above: Jules Brooke.
2. Don’t make typos, spelling mistakes or use bad grammar
This is an absolute no no. For journalists and editors, whose life is spent reading and writing, there can be little worse than bad spelling.
You need to know the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’ and ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.
Then there is the grammar. If you don’t know an apostrophe from a comma or where a full stop should appear, don’t write the release yourself. Get a professional to write it for you.
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