Laura K. Inamedinova. Credit: Saq Imtiaz
People say that there is no bad publicity, but in reality just one sentence can do a lot of harm. Business owners should think very hard before releasing any kind of statements and plan everything ahead. Even huge companies like AirBnb or Volkswagen had some major PR fails. I sat down and spoke with Laura K. Inamedinova, founder of marketing company Inamedinova Media, to talk about the biggest mistakes that young entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them.
1.Sending boring press releases
"Most likely you have written a 1000+ words press release which contained a lot of numbers and facts, but no actual story..." - Laura K. Inamedinova starts our conversation,- "PR people should focus on giving the writer good content and not some purposeless facts." In the beginning, usually the founder does blogger outreach because his company is like a firstborn child. On one hand it looks like a perfect person to push the story out there, but the reality is different. Founders tend to exaggerate facts and push small, irrelevant updates as big news. No journalist will take this kind of email seriously and will simply put that email into spam.
2.Failing to identify the target customer
Without knowing where you are going, you will end up just walking in circles and not reaching any kind of destination. "The biggest problem of many companies is failing to identify the target customer which they want to reach." - Laura K. Inamedinova continues, "It is a crucial element for a successful PR campaign." Segment your customer base by various factors starting with simple ones like gender, age, nationality and ending with something like relationship status, interests, and social media activity. This way you can find the right approach for each category.
3.Not planning everything in advance
"Journalists are not robots and in order to make a good story you need to give some time to write it. The worst thing a PR manager can do is to approach a blogger very close to the release date and expect him or her to write a story over night," Laura points out. Most likely the writer won't even care to look into it. Also, don't forget such things as weekends or holidays. If you send an email on a Friday, it will be somewhere near the bottom of the inbox by Monday as there are many more people like you sending the journalist emails non-stop. The best timing would be somewhere in the beginning of the work day, as then your letter will most likely to be seen first. Just don't forget to check the time-zone where the writer is based.
No one likes spam, especially journalists who usually get tons of emails every day. Sending one follow-up email is okay, but no more. Most likely your email will end up in a black list and next time it won't even appear in the inbox. If your message is relevant - journalist will get back to you. Moreover, not all social networks are suitable for connecting- while Linkedin or Twitter are always more business related, sites like Facebook or Instagram are more personal. "So don't even think adding someone who you never even met to your friends list," Miss Inamedinova says.
5.Not doing your research
You may have prepared a great press release on a juicy subject, but sending it to the wrong department or journalist is a complete waste of time. And while this may sound obvious, in reality it happens often. When you are sending a cold email to person, make sure you have the right information about him - full name, outlet name and the section of their texts. This is particularly relevant for large-scale mailings. "I would suggest sending 10 really neatly personalized emails rather than hundreds or emails with just a few words changes," Laura states.