PReventable Errors

By: Sarah Copeland

Here’s a fact: PR is always changing. Just like all the apps on your phone, PR is always updating and, hopefully, becoming more useful. As a PR professional, there are several things to be aware of so that you continue to be successful. There are plenty of mistakes to be made. Luckily, those mistakes have already, and are constantly being made so that you can learn from them without having to actually experience them.

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After reading through different errors past professionals had made I have come up with the top 5 mistakes for PR pros to be aware of. I’m not saying knowing these will keep you from making the same mistake, but they might.

Here are my PR preventable errors:

  1. Bad Timing– It is very important in the field of PR not to procrastinate. Many of your tasks involve heavy amounts of research and then additional time consuming work. Time is also important to consider when working with the media. Journalists have deadlines. No matter how important your press release is, journalists can’t accept a story with limited time for its completion. However, stories can be equally bad if given too early when the story has no timeliness for the journalist. Time is a tricky matter, be aware of the limits.
  1. Bad Press Releases Press releases have a lot of room for error. First the press release must have a purpose. The information presented must have worth or it will be marked unimportant. Also, if the release is poorly written or is written with too much hype, the media is not going to use it. A press release needs to grab the journalist’s attention quickly and it has to get to the point fast.
  1. Bad Follow-ups As for follow-ups, journalists don’t want calls asking if they received your press release. You must have additional information so that your call is useful to them as well. PR is a two-way communicative field and both sides must benefit.
  1. No Research- PR professionals should always know about what they are pitching. This is a research heavy profession, especially when it comes to media relations. One big mistake is sending out press releases to journalists with a beat that has nothing in common with the subject of the release. Research so you know who is best to pitch to.
  1. Bad Planning– Hopefully you, or at least I, will never make this mistake. PR professionals should always have a plan formed. There is no way to be successful in PR by improvising or doing it as you go along. Have a plan and a backup plan to be successful.

Of course there are plenty more mistakes to review. I’m not sure it is possible to never make mistakes. I actually think that mistakes are what keeps PR relevant. Remember that it is okay to make mistakes. I’m just hoping that this will help you stay free from making these common ones.



AllBusiness. (n.d.). Top 10 Public Relations Mistakes. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from

New Harbor Group. (2015). 10 Common PR Mistakes. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from

Wood, A. (2015, December 16). The Top 10 PR Mistakes Journalists Hate Most. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from







Author: Sarah Copeland

I am a Strategic Communications student at the University of North Texas majoring in Public Relations with a minor in European History. I expect to graduate May 2017 and find a career in External Relations maybe focusing on Issues Management. I am also a proud member of my Alpha Delta Pi chapter where I hold the Intramural's officer position. I am also a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society as well as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. When I am not attending classes, I work in retail. I am a former manager at Justice Just for Girls where I worked for over two years until my store closed. I am currently working for Gymboree as a Sales Lead manager. My work is enjoyable most when I am able to help customers and also when interesting conversations arise. In my free time I enjoy reading fiction novels, completing jigsaw puzzles, watching movies, playing practically any sport, and eating as much ice cream and and other desserts as possible.

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