7 PR Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Career

Making mistakes is a part of life. It’s important to learn and grow from them. It can give us motivation to do better and move forward. We may get second chances in certain situations but when it comes to work we may not. Your boss may not be happy with your mistakes and choose to fire or suspend you. As a PR professional, what can you do to avoid that?

Here are seven examples of actions that can ruin your public relations career and how you can avoid them. 

Failing to deliver what was promised. 

Make promises you can keep! I’m sure everyone knows this as a golden rule. Changes happen all the time and you may have no control over that, nevertheless, keep everyone involved in the loop. People can be understanding if you just tell them what is going on beforehand. Not being truthful about a situation could damage your reputation and relationship with an organization. At the end of the day, you must be honest with yourself and know if you can truly make a deadline. It is on you to be the one who explains the reasons why something did not happen. 

Taking advantage of the media outlets.

As PR professionals, it is important we create and maintain relationships with people all around us. You may never know who you may need in the future, which is why disregarding them is not an option. Journalists are valuable resources and at they are not obligated to run your story. Do not be pushy or attack the reporter in any way because they could easily drop your article. It is also important to respect people’s time and deadlines. 

Not doing your research.

Ignoring the details can add up. Know who you are pitching for and their brand. Have an understanding of who your client is and what they stand for. Do not try to sell a chicken advertisement to a vegan brand. Pay attention to what and who is around you. When you walk into the meeting, you should know absolutely everything about a client or brand as if you are the CEO. The last thing you want to be is embarrassed when speaking to a client and not knowing a simple fact about them. 

Check your errors.

Editing anything you share with the media is critical. Just like with any school paper, you want to ensure your work has the least errors possible. In other words, you want to put the best material out there, especially if it has your name on it. 

Be careful of your audience, know what they like and dislike. Especially considering that once it is on the internet it cannot be taken off. Your words have power and meaning. Don’t say something that could easily be misinterpreted. Get to the point in simple and easy to understand language. 

Have someone read over any document to check for grammatical, length and structural errors before officially sending it out. 

Use of AI-Generated content. 

The easy answer to this could be don’t use it, but AI can be useful. It should not be used for all your writing jobs, however, it can be a helpful component for certain projects. If you do not know where to start, AI can give you some ideas for what to say. It is important to use it as a guide because public relations will always need a human element. Thus, using AI as a resource is good to improve your writing when used correctly.   

Pitching Late or irrelevant content. 

Relevance is key to keeping an individuals interested. Pitch ideas and stories that are timely to your audience. People are not going to want to listen to or read about things that happened in the past. Provide information that individuals are going to resonate with. 

When pitching a story, find a unique angle, trend or something that is going to make a head turn. This will help to create appealing content and make your content relevant.  

Don’t lie just to make your story sound better. 

In any profession, lying is discouraged and that is no different in public relations. As stated in the PRSA Code of Ethics, “We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” 

It is salient that we provide the truth for all who listen. We are the front person for all communication necessary for our client. Be as honest as possible and rationalize topics that can sound untrue to the public. Our job is to advance the truth of the organization, not diminish it. 

Julia Anderson is a sophomore at Temple University, majoring in public relations with a minor in sports management. She has been involved with PRSSA since her freshman year and is currently director of fundraising for her Chapter. Outside of PRSSA, she works for The Temple News running their social media accounts and a peer mentor for Klein College of Media Communication. Julia’s dream profession is to work in sports public relations, with an ultimate goal of working for a sports network or team. You can connect with her on Linkedin

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