A week has flown by and so, here’s the fourth PR sin in our series of 7 deadly PR sins

Sin 4: Ego trips

We could have lumped this in with Sin 2 (indulging yourself) as it’s along a similar vein. And yes, it’s one we have to really watch ourselves, more down to the enthusiasm in TeamRev than anything else!

We all do it, whether we’re writing about our own business or someone else’s. We get an idea in our head and that’s it – we’re off! The words flow. The key messages are wrapped beautifully in with some oh-so-subtle sales messages and before you know it, your masterpiece is finished.

Trouble is, it’s useless.

What you’ve got there is the story you wanted to write. Not the one that people will want to read. Sometimes they can be one and the same but that’s rare. Here’s how we check before, during and after we write anything:

1. Would I read it?

Ask yourself, “If I was flicking through a newspaper and saw my headline and first sentence, written by anonymous, would I read it?” Or would you skim over it? Being brutally honest is so important here. If the answer is “no” then you’ll need to take some time to rethink. And that’s ok. It’s far better to get it right than send out something that you’re blindly convinced is great, simply because you wrote it.

2. Is it a sales message?

“Is the entire purpose of my story to shoehorn a sales message in?” You might think you’re being clever but we guarantee it will stand out a mile away in the context of a newspaper/magazine. It’s very rare that any true PR (i.e. not paid for coverage) will be salesy. You need to switch your brain into thinking about brand awareness and profile raising, not direct sales.

3. Where is the value?

Editors, bloggers and journalists want value for their readers. So, ask yourself, “How does my story or pitch provide that?” Are you giving advice, celebrating a local success or perhaps responding to a national story with expert opinion? It could even be a community interest piece. Provided you know who it is of interest to and why, you can show value.

Don’t forget that editors and journalists are bombarded with press releases and pitches every day. Countless numbers of which will fall foul of the above. To stand out, you need to be writing quality content.

So remember:

  1. Make it relevant
  2. Ditch the sales messages
  3. Find the value.

The trick is to dump the ego and put yourself in the shoes of your consumers when writing PR content. Who needs to love your content? The gatekeepers to coverage – journalists, editors, online influencers – and, of course, their readers and listeners!

Stay tuned for next week’s PR sin reveal.

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