The Biggest Mistake PR Pros Make Every Day

April 16, 2009 · 18 comments

wrong-wayWe’re all human, which means we all make mistakes. Sometimes, though, we make the same mistakes regularly – sometimes daily. And we often don’t even realize it.

I was thinking recently about the mistakes we PR pros make every day. The ones that keep us from maximizing the full potential we can achieve for our brands or our clients. I used Twitter to see what others thought by asking “what is the biggest mistake PR pros make every day?” Here are a few of the responses I got.

Geoff Livingston – Talking at stakeholders rather than listening to them.

Mark Riggs – If not the biggest, certainly the most abused is mistaking yourself and your wants as those of the demo you are targeting. (I agree)

Arik Hanson – Not listening. We’re so set on telling clients what we think, we often forget to listen. I mean *really* listen.

Heather Whaling – Being stuck in their ways. That covers only doing things the “tried and true” way and not listening/learning.

Richard Yost – Repeatedly doing the same thing because it worked before or worked for a different client… not taking the time to customize…

Laurie Duffy – Being an order taker, not a counselor to their clients – even on small and seemingly not important issues…

Me? I think the biggest mistake PR pros make every day is operating in a silo.

This mentality rears its ugly head in many forms. We don’t collaborate across disciplines nearly enough, regardless of the reason. We complain that the Marketing department only sees us as press release writers, but we don’t do anything to proactively demonstrate the broader value PR brings to our brands. We think “earned media” is so much more valuable than “paid media” that we band together and scoff at our colleagues in advertising. In the meantime, we miss out on amazing opportunities to create more successful integrated campaigns.

Stop thinking that the world begins and ends in the PR department and start thinking about all the ways your brand can connect with its consumers. Then do whatever it takes to get the right people involved to go achieve that vision, whether it means PR leads the charge or simply plays a supporting role.

What do you think is the biggest mistake PR pros make every day? What could they do to overcome it?

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*Image by Taryn Marie.

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