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Did you drop the ball today?

For most executives, the to-do list grows faster than any one man could possibly keep up with. It’s amazing that they even have time to lead the company and close deals while worrying about the many things they didn’t get to in a 24-hour period.

In many cases, PR items are the first ones to fall by the wayside when the office gets hectic and employees have a full load. In fact, fast-growing companies often make very common—yet very avoidable—mistakes in their communications strategy simply because they missed the opportunity to do it right.

Luckily these things can be easily remedied if the CMO remembers to call the PR agency at the right time to recruit some help.

Here are a few examples of how a strong PR partner can be your best friend when the going gets tough.

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Mistake #1: Winging the messaging and tagline

Sounds crazy, but we see it all the time. Defining the company’s unique value proposition in a compelling way is essential; settling on your message without testing it and making sure it’s viable is a surefire way to get blindsided.

A reporter will be the first to remind you it’s not accurate and that your competition is doing it better. So open up the dialogue, collect information, test your message and don’t shy away from investing in a branding exercise conducted by an outside firm.

The idea of waiting to actually capture the information before coming up with the answer can frustrate some CEO’s that are rushing to the finish line. However, the best thing a company can do is stop and allow for a 4 to 6 week positioning audit which will serve up insights, a competitive positioning statement and supporting points that will stand up with reporters and clients alike.

That investment of time also unearths a world of valuable gems that you may never have known you needed. From client testimonial to website copy, the insights you’ll uncover will prove useful in many ways down the road.

At Red Fan we call this a brand positioning audit, because we actually interview people internally and externally regarding the business. We evaluate the competition and their messaging . We present our findings—the strengths, weakness and opportunities—so we can outline the position our client should take and the language they should use. This is essential for rolling out an integrated marketing and communications strategy that will build toward the profile and reputation they desire.

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Mistake #2: Neglecting to use what you have

Sometimes, executives are so thrilled with their press coverage that they forget the journey doesn’t end when the article is published or the show airs. They need to leverage the media hit for all it’s worth.

For example, companies should use press coverage or praise from an analyst as an excuse to get in front of clients or partners they wish to influence. Success is not a one-time event, and if it seems that way you have under-utilized the results and squandered the opportunity to build momentum.

Believe it or not, email marketing campaigns, social media posts, board meetings, new business presentations, trade show booths and keynote speeches can easily weave in PR results to build credibility. The press and the accolades should keep on working for the brand through these mediums and more.

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Mistake #3: Letting the news be the channel for employees

Nothing annoys an employee more than learning the news about his or her own company through the newspaper in the morning. CEO’s need to communicate directly to employees about an upcoming announcement so that the internal team is well aware of a news headline before it hits the papers.

With each news announcement coming from a company, the CEO has the opportunity to put the news in context for him team, so the employees can carry the messaging forward with the right language for discussing the news beyond the four walls of their office.

Well-prepared companies have a PR person or CMO drafting these internal communications pieces for the CEO, so that he or she doesn’t have the option of forgetting to do it. This takes planning, but the value pays off with employees who feel informed and empowered to speak about their company with customers and peers.

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Mistake #4: Missing important headlines

Many executives are too busy returning emails and phone calls before their first meeting to read the latest industry news each morning. With so many pressing obligations, most don’t sort through their favorite news sites to identify an important story or set up an RSS reader that they actually use.

Not to fear. The right PR agency will be able to do the work for you by sending a daily report to the company’s management, so they are on top of everything that matters in their specific industry as well as any crisis in the news on a given day.

A daily digest like the one we provide for Red Fan clients gives the added advantage of being in the know as they head into their business meetings for the day. It also provides fuel for discussions with clients, potential clients, strategic partners, investors and the board.

Ultimately, so many CEO’s get caught up in the daily operations of their company that they miss out on opportunities to get smarter and position the brand for success. I beg all executives out there: don’t be afraid to imagine how things can be done well! Red Fan is here to partner with our clients so we can make them look better at every twist and turn. It’s what we love to do.

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