Not doing your homework — What happens in school when you don’t do your assignments? Maybe you make up an excuse and get away with it, but most likely you have to face some consequence like a bad grade on a test, detention or being reprimanded by your teacher. When it comes to PR and you don’t do your homework, you’ll have to face this consequence: No media placements!

With the Internet you have such a valuable tool at your disposal to research the media venues (your homework) that are the best fit for you and your expertise. When you do this research you’ll be able to craft a pitch that’s relevant to the media contact you’re sending it to, which will increase your odds of receiving a response and scoring a placement. And a word of advice: Saying your dog ate through your Internet connection isn’t going to do any good.

Thinking the media serves you — I hate to break it to you, but when you enter the PR world don’t liken it to dining at a fine restaurant. There’s no host to seat you, no world-class chef to cook for you and no wait staff to serve you. Why? Because you’re those things! The media isn’t at your beckoned call. You have to serve them. You have to create the gourmet experience — your content is the filet mignon; your pitch is the waiter who can explain in layman’s terms the aromatic differences between Bordeaux and Cabernet; and your interview is the tuxedoed man who comes to your table to play Bonporti’s Invenzioni a violino solo.

Not being clear about your message — I’ll just get to the point on this one: Keep it simple; keep it clear; keep it concise. Once you’ve created your message, deliver it to an eight-year old. If they understand it, you’re golden.

Not having an online press kit — Let me ask you this: Why do you use the Internet? Not because it makes your life harder, right? No, because it saves you time. You need information, you Google it. You want up to  date stock quotes, you find it. You want valuable PR tips, you visit this blog. And just like the Internet, online press kits are all about convenience and saving time, which are crucial when connecting with the media. Don’t expect to have the time to gather and organize your press materials if a reporter wants immediate access to them. You have to have them locked and loaded, ready to deliver in a moments notice and what easier way is there to do that, than sending them one simple link!

Doing things you’re not good at — I talked about this in a previous post, but I think it’s important to bring it up again. Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself and seek help where you need it the most. It just might save you a lot of time and frustration.