How NOT to get noticed.


We hunger for it. We forgo sleep. We run full pelt. We jump over barriers of time, people, conflict. Anything. Everything. To get it.

To get ourselves, our clients, our team: noticed.

It’s the mark of the greatest PR professional. Getting noticed.

But, there are times you’ll need to know how to work just as hard NOT to get noticed.

We can all recall a few local and global PR disasters off the bat. Statements twisted by the media. An unfortunate slip-up by a spokesperson. A misrepresentation of fact. A poorly executed campaign idea. Bad timing for a pitch.

After a decade of striving to find the balance between HOW to get noticed, and how NOT to get noticed - I’ve come up with five lessons that will prevent you making some of the same mistakes I did, and that I have seen unravel the profile of many organisations.

Lesson 1: Prepare.

Preparation is often underestimated, especially by spokespeople. Whether you’re fronting the cameras, or training someone who is, you can’t shortcut a decent investment of time to prepare. Prepare scripts, key messages, talking points, analogies, examples ahead of time - to prevent getting caught out by a journalist’s off-hand comment or stumbling in the heat of the moment. Every. Second. Matters. So, prep.

Lesson 2: Control.

Get good - no, get GREAT - at controlling your interview. Every interview is an opportunity to build your confidence in controlling the conversation. Practice keeping to your key messages, and bridge any unrelated questions back to your talking points. Deliver your bridging phrases confidently: “but the real point is…”, “let’s not forget…”, “it’s important to remember…”

Lesson 3: Positivity.

Use positive language. In press releases, interviews, comments, everywhere. Don’t get trapped into making negative comments that could be isolated or taken out of context and used at a later date. Keep your language positive, upbeat, active. Always.

Lesson 4: You’re always ON.

Know this: you are always ON. Journalists can be snapping photos at any time, recording comments, taking notes, even if there’s an ‘off the record’ agreement. There are multiple occasions where newspapers in Australia have used photos of press conferences we held years ago - if they’re desperate to fill a spot. Photos I don’t even remember being taken. Know they are keeping a file of you and your spokespeople, and ALWAYS be ON.

Lesson 5: Quit while you’re ahead.

Never feel the need to keep talking. Be confident, hold your ground, stick to your key statements and exit at the right time. Especially important in crisis management. 

I hope my top five lessons on how NOT to get noticed have helped!

Katie Clift

*If this blog post helped, drop me a line at to say hi! You can also grab a free copy of my Personal PR Planner, tried and tested internationally for over a decade. It will upscale your media coverage: guaranteed!

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