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Thursday 5 January 2023

Is your PR letting your business down?

Good public relations operatives are a blessing.

They provide coherent news and story ideas, great images, interview opportunities for journalists - and the chance for widespread publicity for their clients.

They largely present facts, not hyperbole, and say thank you when you publish a story. 

Thank you so much to many of my PR friends. You make my job a joy.    

But hospitality businesses need to choose their PR representatives very carefully.

Among the many issues:

# PR companies that promise their clients top-notch service but then hand over the brief to the work experience person, fresh out of university.

# Companies with high staff turnovers. One day you are dealing with Freda. The next day Freda has gone and you have start all over again with Nina.

# PRs who only work one or two days a week, or send out a press release and then go on vacation later that same day. Seriously. It happens all the time. Journalists and bloggers are in the news business, not the history business. They do not want to wait until you "return to the office on January 26".

# Companies that shut down from lunchtime on Friday and do not respond to emails. Apparently blissfully unaware of the 24-hour news cycle.

# Operatives who "forget" to send samples they have promised, or to follow-up on ideas. Or fail to provide website addresses, recommended retail prices, or even contact details. 

Fortunately these PRs are in the minority. But two struck today that completely failed their clients.

First, I was "reached out to" by a PR who wanted me to speak to the co-founder and architect of a a luxurious eco-friendly getaway about how sustainable tourism is shaping the future of international travel?

Sounded interesting. Except the property was in Costa Rica and she got the name of her client wrong throughout the press release.

Yes, you read that right. She had her client's name wrong four times. She turned a perrfectly normal name into gibberish. So when I Googled that name for more info I was initially stumped.

This from a PR company that boasts: "We Work Hard To Create Success For Our Clients".

So, a "full service global communications agency that partners with big and small businesses, entrepreneurs, public figures and organizations to develop, evolve, and promote their brands and reputations" cannot get the name of its own client right.

I expect the client will be looking for a new rep (one with a proof reader, perhaps) later this week.

The second issue was nowhere as bad, but involved a frequent PR fault: gushing.

Most press releases contain a plethora of hugely enthusiastic adjectives, sometimes erring towards untruths.

This release was about a global cooking competition to be held in Norway: not a country at the top of the list when it comes to global haute cuisine.

That didn't stop this gusher.

"Norway is a country with an exceptional gastronomic heritage and an incredible diversity of products: meat, fish, seafood, cheese."

Sorry to disappoint you, but most gourmet destinations have meat, fish, seafood and cheese. 

Please do better.

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