Five reasons your PR won’t work


6th July 2021


Jessica Morgan

Reading time

4 minutes

We like to think we’re positive, can-do people (and we have some great reviews to prove it). But we’re also realistic. For PR to work well, there are some key factors to cover off and some tough questions to face. Read on to see the five most common issues standing in the way of you getting brilliant results from PR.

You can’t make yourself available

Working with small businesses and entrepreneurs, we know how many hats our clients have to wear, and that there are never enough hours in the day. That’s why we’ve developed strategies to minimise your time, by using existing content for PR where we can; by offering quick phone interviews rather than asking you to spend hours writing for us and by presenting easily digestible, real-time analytics for tracking PR results.

However, we will need a percentage of your time each month to get your updates, understand upcoming news, gather quick soundbites and to run ideas past you. We might have quick-win opportunities, a journalist interview or podcast to be fulfilled or we may be in need of key points for an opinion piece. If you’re looking to hand over PR and disappear indefinitely, it’s not going to work.

You haven’t defined what success looks like

PR and ROI are not always easy bedfellows. But there’s plenty that we can measure in our PR campaigns, realtime, including how many eyes you’ve had on your coverage; how many website links our PR has generated for you and how many pieces have been achieved for each push. What we hone in on depends on what success looks like for you. That’s something we establish right at the start.

If you really want to be in a certain publication or bust, or you’re keen to be interviewed for a particular slot, ensure this is part of the KPIs and everyone’s aware from the start. It’s better to be open and discuss from the off how and when this could be achieved than you working to different goals than your PR agency.

Your team isn’t aligned

This links to the point above. Again, we work with some incredible, successful businesses who are fantastic at their day jobs. But when it comes to promoting them, everyone needs to buy in to what they’re about and what they’re driving towards. Our messaging sessions start with asking you to describe your business in a nutshell – give us your elevator pitch.

It’s rare that all the stakeholders in a session agree on the wording of this straightaway. And it’s fine to have a debate and discuss together. But then we need to land on something everyone’s happy with that’s ownable, so we can in turn communicate that to the media. If we’re saying one thing but your Chair is busy saying something completely different, the push won’t work.

You’re not saying the right things

Are you offering a genuinely different point of view to that of your peers? Can you speak passionately about a subject? Are you authoritative in a key area with good experience to draw upon? Does your offering have a true USP? No journalist wants to feature bland, unsubstanciated commentary. Or worse still, “salesy” messages that have no chance of ending up in the media.

Are you confident your voice and opinions are ready to be heard? This may be your first foray into PR and if it is, don’t worry. These are all things we can advise upon and help to guide and that’s often why we start with our Three Lens Messaging Session.

You’re looking at PR too narrowly

People often turn to PR to win them new clients or customers. That’s definitely one of PR’s objectives. But it’s not often a linear journey from publication to purchase. A reputation takes time to build and there are other forces at play. Equally, PR has a range of benefits outside of new business, such as helping with existing clients, your team and aiding with recruitment.

Businesses that get the most from PR are those that embrace a range of opportunities (bearing in mind a good PR will always justify why they’d suggest pitching for a slot). Accept a sector publication interview one day and you might be interviewed by the BBC the next, as happened to one of our clients recently. The two aren’t mutually exclusive – in fact, building an authority in trade press can only help in securing those bigger, broadcast opportunities.