Four Engagement Sins PR Teams Can't Afford to MakeAt its core, PR is all about engagement.

A single miscalculation or lapse in judgment can cause copious amounts of embarrassment and lost business for your organization.

A crisis like that can sometimes even make national news and damage a brand’s image indefinitely.

While some mistakes, such as misprints or posts with false information, are evident and should be avoided at all costs, some PR sins are not so obvious.

Here are four of the major ones to watch..

Relying on Old Tactics

Thanks to the internet, information moves at an incredibly fast pace.

The tactics that worked like magic one day may be completely obsolete the next.

With the human attention span dwindling, you have to be creative and innovative if you want to catch your audience’s eye.

Old tactics are old news and relying on them can quickly cause your messages to take a backseat.

Take news releases, for example.

Journalists receive hundreds every week (sometimes more) and sending repetitive releases, with a cookie cutter formula, can easily cause your information to get lost in the inbox.

Or, perhaps an individual channel has worked for years.

For instance, let’s say you’ve been working with an influencer for quite some time and their following has begun to evolve into something that is no longer as beneficial as it once was.

When this is the case, it’s time to try something new. 

Writing for the Wrong Audience

If unseen by the people who matter, your hard work and effort in PR are for naught.

Targeting your audience incorrectly, or writing for the wrong one, is a detrimental mistake.

Perhaps your audience has changed over time, or maybe you just aren’t listening to what they’re saying.

You can publish article after article, but if your work doesn’t resonate with your audience, you are wasting time and resources.

It is vital for any PR team to have a concrete understanding of the interests of their audience.

Poor Internal Coordination 

In today’s lightning-fast news cycle, PR teams CANNOT afford to miss a beat.

Shoddy coordination can cause missed deadlines, extended delays, wasted time and effort, and endless frustrations.

Letting the finer details fall through the cracks can make or break a company’s PR.

Failure to implement a reliable internal system is an unforgiving sin that will continuously lead to subpar results. 

Forgetting to Track Results 

Simply pushing out content without properly measuring the results is one of the biggest oversights a PR team can make.

Without data analysis, it’s much harder to judge whether or not a campaign was a success or a failure.

Analytics are the building blocks of PR.

Not examining the right metrics (or not examining them at all) will stop your efforts dead in their tracks. 

How to Avoid the PR Sins

Old Tactics

The key to avoiding this blunder is to change things up.

Take the news release as an example, rather than distributing a mass email to your contact list (the old way), add a personal note or include a visual element.

Or, offer an idea catered toward the outlet of your target publication(s).

Offering something that is specifically beneficial to them makes a huge difference and helps your release to stand out.

Be sure you are keeping up with trends in your field. Tools such as Brand24 are perfect for this.

Wrong Audience

Have you truly nailed down your target customers? If not, it’s time to figure it out.

Do you know the information on their demographics?

What blogs do they read? Where they get their news? What kind of content resonates with them?

These are some basic questions to start with when nailing down your ideal readership.

Poor Internal Coordination

Inter-departmental coordination in PR is critical.

Your customer support or sales departments cannot be oblivious to your PR promotions.

Online tools come to our rescue here.

Workzone offers an intuitive platform that organizes campaigns and promotions, and tracks progress with open communication.

The task status on the dashboard shows the team members responsible for each subtask through completion.

There are even marketing-specific forms perfect for tracking various PR campaigns. 

Forgetting to Track Results

Google Analytics scares a lot of people because it seems complicated at first glance.

However, once you know what you need to be looking for, it’s quite simple.

To use Google Analytics properly for PR purposes, you must first determine which data is relevant to your goals.

Decide if you will be checking conversion rates, traffics trends, sources, ROI, or all of the above.

Most PR teams focus on engagement and web traffic numbers.

Those are two areas where your team can begin.

If you want to delve deeper into the data, consider your marketing goals and research on “customer segments.”

It helps to break your audience into groups so you can track trends and information based on different demographics.

For instance, you can segment your results into mobile users vs. desktop users, unique vs. recurring visitors, or first-time conversions vs. repeated.


While it’s rather naive to expect perfection, there are plenty of ways to stay on top of your PR efforts.

Make sure your strategy is relevant and exciting, and offers something unique to your audience and outlets.

Get your team on the same page by encouraging open communication and integrate programs to support this goal.

Nail down your exact target audience, and track your data relentlessly.

Avoiding these PR sins can make all the difference in your strategy’s success.

Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO, and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, content marketing, entrepreneurship, and digital PR. Pratik has given talks at the Annual Conference of Florida PR Association, Singapore Accounting & Finance Show, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and others. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42 to name a few.

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