“12 PR Don’ts For Online Entrepreneurs” by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
Question: What’s one truly bad PR mistake entrepreneurs MUST avoid now that reporters are relying so heavily on digital resources (social media, company websites, etc.) for business reporting?
1. What’s the Update?
“When you launched your website, you probably wrote text for a bunch of static sections like About Us, Contact, etc. Don’t forget to check back on those later on and make updates as necessary. Reporters make enough mistakes as it is – the last thing you need is for them to be getting outdated information on your company from your own website and then putting that in an article.”
2. Hands Off Our Social Media!
“While delegating or outsourcing social media isn’t entirely problematic, entrepreneurs should always be abreast of what’s being said and done on behalf of the company. Google Alerts and social media tools make it easy to stay on top of the company’s digital footprint. Entrepreneurs are responsible – no matter what.”
3. RT With Care
“While it’s easy to retweet articles or messages, doing so without care can lead to PR gaffes. Retweets can be viewed as endorsements, so all entrepreneurs should make sure that they take a few moments to review anything they intend to share with their followers. Do fact-check and ensure that you identify with the message and messager before you click RT.”
4. Don’t Overshare Anywhere
“Your Twitter, your Facebook, your blog are all places where journalists might look to connect with you. Make sure that your privacy settings are up to date on Facebook and you’re not oversharing information on your other public facing social networks that might turn off a journalist.”
5. Mass Email Blasts Are Bad
“Don’t buy a list of journalists’ email addresses and send out a mass email to everyone. Don’t add journalists to mailing lists without their permission. Don’t send the same email to every journalist that you can think of. If you can’t at least customize a template to each person you email, you’re only going to get minimal coverage at best. At worst, your emails will get sent straight to spam.”
6. Alcohol and Social Media Don’t Mix
“The simple mistake that all entrepreneurs must avoid is alcohol influenced social media communication. It may be tempting, but avoid the 2 a.m. tweets about your evening experiences. They can come back to haunt you.”
7. Cut the Crap!
“Don’t BS reporters. Any publication worth anything will do its research and poke holes in your story. Just be honest and transparent. Authenticity is an incredibly valuable trait these days.”
8. Mixing Business and Pleasure
“If you run a digital company (or any company that has a strong online presence), everything you do online represents your company. Your personal life becomes subjected to the same scrutiny as your professional one. Act accordingly.”
9. Always Take the High Road
“Don’t ever talk negatively about your competitors, especially on social media platforms. What you may think is private could get picked up by a reporter and become an embarrassment to both your company and yourself.”
10. Do What You Say You’re Going To Do
“Plans change, timelines shift, but overall, I think the more you can stick to what you say you’re going to do, the better. Whether that means following up with journalists, or publishing your blog/newsletter on a regular basis, or even releasing your next product on time. Being timely shows that you’re committed.”
11. Know the Power that You’re Dealing With
“You can pay a lot of money to have a PR company craft your messaging, but they’re all operating with the same bit of knowledge – you have no control over your message once it sets sail. Be careful, calculated and aware of all risks when crafting your message. Otherwise, it might come back to bite you.”
12. Be Constantly Authentic
“Companies need to be as authentic as possible in their communications. People trust and build relationships with those who tell the truth. If you mislead or indulge too much and people find out, you’ll become untrustworthy by definition. Don’t hide the truth, because the Internet finds a way to make the real truth public – with or without your endorsement.”