Mistakes New PR Professionals Make

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A career in PR is often learned on the job, even though new grads like to think they know it all once they have the shiny new degree.
We’ve tossed around the idea of launching a series of workshops for new grads and first-year professionals to share our tips and tricks of the trade. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to us .
In the meantime, enjoy this blog on all the mistakes PR pros make right out of college…and learn from them.


For those dreaming of a career in PR, we must warn you that it is a job that requires extreme organizational skills. Between coordinating, pitching, and follow ups, there’s no time for missteps or misinformation.
You’ll be juggling multiple pitches, storylines, reporters and more. Get a system that works, and then live and die by it.

Mass Pitches

The term “pitching” is in it of itself vague for any new PR pro. What does a pitch look like? How long should it be? What’s the purpose? What does it say? How many people do I send it to?
While all of these are good questions, the most fundamental part of the pitch is the personalization. These aren’t things you send to everyone on your media list. Each pitch ought to feel personable. Think of it this way: you get a call from a toll free number and are greeted by a robotic voice that is disingenuous and super annoying. It immediately ticks you off…that’s what shitty pitches make reporters feel like. They weren’t born yesterday and can tell when you have mass sent an email. Just like you with that toll free number, they are likely to ignore it. The solution? MAKE IT PERSONAL.
Check out our blog on media releases vs. pitches.

Reporter Follow-up

It’s essential to build a good relationship with reporters. You can do that by giving them talking points, coordinating on their behalf, checking in after and sending thank yous. Trust us, it’s all about building that relationship. Invest the time and don’t take them for granted.

Media Lists

Your pitch is shit if you don’t have a well-researched media list. Another analogy here: it’s like a driver without directions. You could get in the car and drive a while and pray to God you make it to your destination, or you could pull out Waze and let it show you the fastest route.
A good media list is the Waze of pitching. You need to be pitching to the right reporters and media outlets in order to have success. This includes researching who has covered topics similar to yours, who consistently reports on the desired beat, and more.

Data-Driven PR

While PR has a reputation for being anything but data driven, that is entirely false. As a newbie to the industry, it’s important to use tools that help you to measure your reach and impact. We use tools like SimilarWeb and Moz, which help us to know how many impressions the website and the story has received. Additionally, if that same piece is shared on social media, pull in those numbers. What was its engagement, shares, reach etc.? Report back on those numbers. They show additional value of the earned media. You proved your work had an impact.

Integrated Approach

PR doesn’t belong in its own little silo. Why? Because it doesn’t maximize its potential. Here are our suggestions.

  1. If you can, encourage reporters to include links to your site within the piece. This is a huge SEO builder. Not only does it help people more easily find you, but having backlinks helps improve your site’s domain authority, giving you the extra bang for your buck.
  2. Share your pieces on social media. Whatever you do, do not let your earned media life be only 24 hours. It should be shared on social media and capitalized over and over again.

The PR industry is ever-evolving and it’s up to new PR professionals to ensure the integrity of our trade is kept intact.
Reach out to us with questions. We didn’t get on the Forbes list for nothing, and we’re all about supporting others in the profession.

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