Times sure do change in the world of PR but, you know, some things are carved in stone. Once upon a time, we laid out seven deadly PR sins in our quest to help you avoid a glut of face-palm-worthy content. In response to an ever-changing landscape, we’ve decided that it’s time to dust off our Seven Deadly PR Sins series because, well, sometimes you need to hear this stuff more than once!

Every week for the next seven weeks, we’re going to share with you a PR sin as part of our #WednesdayWisdom posts. The trouble with these sins is, they’re often easy to commit. Each will undoubtedly hinder your PR efforts and in some cases, can be damaging to your personal image and brand profile. Read on (if you dare) to find out if you’re guilty and what to do if you’ve fallen foul…

Sin 1: Slagging off the competition

Yes, really… that. No matter what industry or sector you operate in, you’re going to have competition. It’s a fact. Even charities have to compete for people’s time and generosity with other, similar organisations. But regardless of your personal feelings, don’t ever do it. Here’s why:

  • It’s just plain tacky. And it makes you look wildly unprofessional. Brand profile is everything in this day and age. Professionalism, ethics, quality and trustworthiness are the cornerstones of any successful brand’s image. If you resort to insults, however subtle you think they may be, they will be recognised in an instant for exactly what they are. Not cool.
  • If you’re willing to publicly pull-down or belittle your competition, what are you saying about your suppliers, affiliates and, heaven forbid, customers, behind closed doors? Nothing? That’s as well may be but you can guarantee it will cross their minds. Do you want that to be the reason people talk about your brand?
  • It actually makes it look like you’ve got something to worry about. If the only way you can find to promote your business is by making negative or patronising comments about your competitors (or anyone else for that matter) in your own marketing, it can seem like you feel threatened and are attempting to combat another’s success with negativity.

So, if you’ve ever made this faux pas, here’s what to do: don’t ever do it again.

Then, instead of pulling the competition to pieces, do you want to know the most powerful thing you can do? Act like they don’t exist. Focus on your strengths, not their weaknesses. Win by being the best. Get ahead by offering the best products and services. Focus on what you do well and shout it from the rooftops. Build your cornerstones: Professionalism, Ethics, Quality and Trustworthiness.

So the next time you’re writing your PR, your newsletter, your e-shot – whatever it might be – be careful you don’t drift into a negative headspace. We’re all better than that.

Anyone going to admit to having done this? Plenty of us think it when we’re about to write something but there’s always, always a way to stand out and rise above.

Stay tuned for next week’s Sin reveal. Until then, stay PR sin free!

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