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Ada Njemanze: Common PR Mistakes Small Businesses Make

For PR, there is always a targeted buyer, the basic solution that product/service solves for every business and how best to reach the consumers. These are some of the strategies used to get the best outcome for businesses in public relations.



Public Relations is one of the most misunderstood careers because there is always a blur between PR, advertising and marketing – including influencer marketing and social media.

Many people cannot tell them apart; this is why they end up making catastrophic mistakes in their businesses.


“Public relations is a key component of any operation in this day of instant communications and rightly inquisitive citizens.” – Alvin Adams.

Many businesses are guilty of making common PR errors that affect their brand reputation. Let’s look at a few common mistakes that these companies make:

Strategy + Research = Essential Tools
Most businesses see public relations as plain advertising and believe that a mass press release will get people to talk about their products. Research and strategy are some of the key components of public relations and it is crucial for every company to realize what public relations can do for their business by using the right tactics to build brand awareness and visibility.

For PR, there is always a targeted buyer, the basic solution that product/service solves for every business and how best to reach the consumers. These are some of the strategies used to get the best outcome for businesses in public relations.

Most businesses chase the ‘public eye’ without taking the time to understand the above-mentioned issues. So, have a basic strategic plan.

One Message = Brand Consistency and Recognition
Many small businesses begin without a corporate public relations policy. Many people may think this is insignificant, but is very critical in the distribution of corporate messaging.

Most corporate PR strategies would detail PR priorities: who can talk to the media, which subjects should be avoided or are confidential, guidelines for content, and communication rules. These are all very important.

A good PR policy will ensure consistent messaging for the company, as well as help them avoid costly PR errors.

You don’t want to share contrasting and contradicting client views. This may undermine brand recognition.

Forgetting Your Target Audience
We say any mention of the press is important but that’s a big lie. As a business owner, you’re offering services that target a specific group of people. So how do you get to them? What kind of media are they using? What specific journalists report on that particular subject? What type of approach have you made towards the journalist? Those are the questions you need to know.

Often, we get carried away by media mentions and neglect to assess its impact and forget the real reason why we offer the service if it matches our target market.

Don’t forget to get your audience-centered. Follow your audience trend.

Follow The News
I meet many small business owners who have no idea of what’s going on around them. Following the news is imperative. Sometimes, certain news trends can have a positive effect on your business and climbing into that wagon can attract more consumers to you. Some of these missed opportunities will cost you some press mentions and clients.

So keep up with the news and know what’s happening around you; whether it’s an incident or a market trend shift…keep up.

Using Social Media for Value
Most of the companies in this digital age need to recognize social media. Internet user numbers are rising daily. We had 123,486,615 internet users in Nigeria as of June 2019, which would have risen by 2020. Social media can be a great tool for optimizing the scope of your PR activities, especially when used correctly.

Stick to the social media platforms that will give your business the best value. You don’t need to be on all social media platforms when all you might need for your business might be Facebook and Instagram.

Study each platform and learn about how they can be used. Make sure your content is quality-based, not quantity-driven.

Monitor Your Reviews
I have seen this mistake far too often; most business owners do not try to find out what is being said about their company. It is very important to know what’s said about your company.

It will go a long way to influence your growth;  feedback can make a positive change and encourage improvement. Ask customers at least three months after the transaction how they feel about your product or service. Use Google alerts to keep tabs. Use the social media apps that your customers use and support your website with feedback.

Interestingly, most businesses need to understand that PR is a perfect opportunity to raise your brand awareness and to prove that your company is good. PR takes time.

Developing a good media angle, pitching it to the right outlets and securing coverage, are part of a process. When they are done well, the results are worth the time.

Ada Njemanze is a Public Relations & Communications Consultant with NOVVA Media & Communications. She is an avid reader, music lover and a serial entrepreneur. She is passionate about societal development and empowerment especially involving children, widows and yes, public relations.

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