In any organization, whether it’s a for-profit business or a nonprofit that makes an impact in the world, communications plays an important role on many levels. It takes effort and hard work to ensure that your audiences receive the messages, understand them and – most important – respond the way you want. Without that effort, you run the risk of falling into these traps.
Trap #1: It’s easy to write a news release, attach it to an email, hit send and feel good about your efforts.
Before you write a news release, ask yourself first what the goal is and who the audience is. Sending a news release to the local newspaper might not be the best option if your target audience doesn’t read the paper. Maybe a better option is sending the release to a business newspaper or a trade publication. A better option might be avoiding the traditional media altogether and finding a blogger or two that can write about your story.
Trap #2: It’s easy to post something on Facebook and feel good that the information is out there.
There’s no doubt that social media makes communications simple: You write something and post it. If that’s all you want to do, you’re missing a big opportunity to engage with your audience. Rather than shoot from the social media hip, take time to plan content that is relevant to your audience and that it finds interesting. For instance, a church might have some pithy information to share about spiritual matters, which is relevant and important for its audience. But what engages church members more are pictures from the dedication of a new water garden constructed in honor of a retired pastor. Planning strategically for social media will help your business or organization achieve its goals. Also keep in mind that it takes effort to monitor social media and respond accordingly (and appropriately) to negative feedback and comments.
Trap #3: It’s an awesome feeling when the local TV news station covers your event.
Getting a positive story on the local news is a great feeling, to be sure. Public relations isn’t just about making you or your the people in your organization feel good, however. As we said in this post, PR is about building mutually beneficial relationships with your audience. When you’re planning media relations, keep in mind that bigger strategy and how it will help further those relationships, all of which guides you to conduct media relations with purpose. For instance, that could mean that, rather than a story featured on the news or on the front page, you write an op-ed to reach your intended audience.
Trap #4: It’s easy to post something on your blog and not worry about it.
In today’s business environment, this isn’t just a trap. It can be a huge mistake. Blogs are an essential tool to communicate to clients and potential customers, with benefits such as establishing authority and increasing traffic to a business’s website. These, in turn, can generate more leads by bringing more potential clients into the sales funnel. Moreover, after posting something, its impact doesn’t end after a day or two. The post ranks in Google and in the coming weeks or even months a business can see visitors to a specific post. One blogger said that 70 percent of traffic on his blog comes from posts at least a month or older. And he noted that 90 percent of leads generated in a month came from blog posts published in previous months.