PR Traps Entrepreneurs Fall Into
Kristi Piehl at work with her Media Minefield team.

PR Traps Entrepreneurs Fall Into

Your new venture can't afford to overlook public relations. A PR exec makes the case.

An entrepreneur’s work is never done. One thing entrepreneurs cannot afford to overlook is public relations. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to think about PR, but the truth is every company and executive deserves a PR company that gets results and can be trusted with their reputation. The reality is bad PR can rip apart your company’s brand, damage your personal reputation and send clients running to your competitors.

As you navigate the potential media minefield, make sure to avoid these common traps entrepreneurs fall into:

Missing PR Opportunities

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” -Seth Godin

If you are an expert who can share helpful, relevant advice with journalists, you are newsworthy. If your business is doing something unique, you are newsworthy. Don’t just wait for the phone to ring! Look for opportunities to share your story and provide insight on timely topics. If you are a parenting expert and there is a new study about sleep guidelines for babies, journalists are looking to use you as a source. If you’re not talking to the news media, your competitor is likely getting that opportunity.

At Media Minefield, we encourage our clients to take every media opportunity—no matter how big or small the station, publication or podcast. We’ve seen first-hand how an interview with a local newspaper can catch the eye of a larger outlet, eventually leading to national exposure.

Issuing “No Comment”

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” -Warren Buffett

Like it or not, any business can find themselves in a crisis situation. While you can hope for the best, you must plan for the worst. Establishing a crisis communication plan can save you time and stress if and when that moment strikes. Know who will be your spokesperson and how you will communicate with the media.

The biggest trap during a crisis is ignoring the media or issuing a “no comment.” Let me tell you, “no comment” is a comment, and it’s one that doesn’t present your company in a good light. You do not have to answer every question, but issuing a response that addresses the situation and reiterates your company’s key messages will paint you in a better light. A professional PR team who understands the way the media works can be invaluable during a time of crisis.

Hiring a Do-it-All PR Firm

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” -Daniel J. Boorstin

Public relations covers so many areas, and no one person or company can be nimble enough to keep up on all of them. Companies are now hiring multiple firms that each focus on a specific area of public relations. We’ve seen large companies looking to replace a do-it-all public relations firm or ad agency with a handful of firms with targeted focuses.

At Media Minefield, we are not an agency. We don’t do everything. That’s intentional. We are  laser-focused on messaging and earned media, and that’s why billion-dollar brands rely on our expertise. This differentiator has allowed us to secure large accounts while still providing an effective solution to smaller companies.

Skipping Social Media

“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” -Bill Gates

As the CEO of your company, your personal brand is a big deal. According to a survey, a CEO’s reputation is responsible for nearly half of the company’s market value. Social media has changed the game for businesses, and for a CEO or C-level executive to have no online presence or a poor online presence is a missed opportunity.

This is becoming a new trend in public relations: corporate executives hiring outside firms to maximize their social media reputation. Executives are realizing that their presence on social media plays a role in consumers’ opinions and purchasing decisions. A strategy for executives to leverage and engage with their social media audiences must be a key component of any business’ comprehensive public relations strategy.

Misunderstanding the Value

“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” -Richard Branson

Earned media is different than advertising; it cannot be bought or owned. In effect, earned media is real news. Today, people are consuming more news than ever before. Your company can leverage the power of earned media to spread the word and boost your credibility.

Earned media is measured in audience size and publicity value. A PR agency should be able to report the potential audience who watched, listened to, or read about your company. The firm should also be able to calculate the publicity value of that earned media opportunity. However, the true value can’t be quantified: greater name recognition with potential clients, increased credibility within your industry and a “buzz” about your company or product.


Kristi Piehl
Founder and CEO
Media Minefield

Kristi Piehl iaunched Media Minefield in 2010 following a 12-year career as an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter. With clients ranging from startups to billion-dollar brands, Media Minefield is a one-of-a-kind agency specializing in earned media and messaging. Kristi is a founding member of DePaul University’s Women in Entrepreneurship Institute and a member of Women Presidents’ Organization.​