Here’s how to tell if you’re making mistakes with your publicity, (and everyone does). Avoid these mistakes to put out better publicity that will bring your company better coverage.

Think like an advertiser and you’ll put off reporters. When you turn in copy that reads like an advertisement, you’re less likely to have it published. Instead, you need to turn in copy that is more objective about your products and services, and doesn’t use colorful prose, transparent advertising techniques, and inflated claims to sell your products. Use a sense of perspective about your products to make your claims, to get your products sold.

You may be to close to your product to be objective. If you think any slight change to your product is newsworthy to the media, you may not be objective enough to ask for publicity. When you decide what’s newsworthy and how to present it to the media, it’s absolutely vital that you can take many steps back and view your product as a marginally interested outsider would. If you can’t, than you have to ask friends, family, or other outsiders to help you.

Don’t get too close to a journalist, even if you think it can help your company. If you’re being interviewed by a journalist, never say anything you wouldn’t want to appear in a story. Reporters have different ideas about what “off the record” means, so never say anything you wouldn’t want to have in a story. Don’t gossip, or share company secrets, no matter how close you think you are with a reporter.

Dream big, but always have a backup plan. Sure, send a press kit to the Wall Street Journal, but hit up your local paper, radio, and online sources, too. Most small businesses rely on local publicity, not the big national sites, you need coverage anywhere you can get it, and the local markets are your best bets.

Don’t read from a script when you’re pitching your ideas. Any journalist can tell you’re reading from a script, and it just sounds tacky. If you’re pitching over the phone, always lead with, “Is this a good time to chat?” Just talk about your product or service from your heart, and it will always stand out from the rest.

Always use an updated media list. If you use a list that’s outdated, you’ll not only waste your time with magazines that are out of business, you’ll show that you’re not savvy enough to do your research when you ask for publicists that are no longer with agencies.

You have to understand timing, too. Magazines work on long-lead time stories, such as Christmas in July, and Thanksgiving in May or June, so if you have holiday-themed pieces, you have to pitch them early, because timing is everything in your publicity.

Be sure not to make these mistakes in your publicity, and you’ll be sure to keep up to date in your publicity to bring in more notoriety for your business.

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