4 Publicists Share Their #1 Startup PR Advice
By: Carli Evilsizer | April 17, 2019
Possibly one of the most difficult marketing strategies for startups is public relations. Whether you are a founder of a one-person startup team or work in the marketing department for a startup of 100 people, getting PR mentions for your startup can be a challenging task!
So, how should your startup create a PR strategy? What is the goal of public relations? How do you create a PR budget? Should you hire a publicist? To help startup founders and marketers, we’ve chatted with a few PR agencies and publicists and asked them to share their top startup PR advice.
WHAT PUBLIC RELATIONS ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STARTUPS?
1. Solidify Your Brand Messaging Before Engaging With Media
"As a startup - your primary PR goal is to spark the interest of angel investors and VCs for funding. Too often, I see early-stage brands engaging with media before having their company narrative, mission and identity drafted. I always recommend entrepreneurs take the time they need to craft compelling, well-rounded messaging from Day One. Otherwise, you leave room for inconsistencies within coverage - which could mean compromising your image to future investors."
2. Understand What Journalists Consider Newsworthy
“When beginning any PR strategy, you want to evaluate what newsworthy events are happening within your company. Perhaps your product or service is so unique that it hasn’t been heard of before, or maybe you’ve recently launched a new product. Maybe you even have a big announcement you want to make. All of these events can be story angles you can use when drafting your PR strategy. For startups I work with, I like to make sure they are aware of the fact that sometimes an announcement that is important to your company might not always be deemed “big” enough for a media outlet to cover. It’s important for startups to understand that media outlets receive tons of emails about announcements, launches, ideas, etc, so it’s important to be strategic when considering what is newsworthy about your startup.”
3. Define Your PR Goals First to Determine ROI Later
“As far as goals for public relations efforts, a startup should work really closely with its representative to define the company's overall goals for the term. With any PR engagement, the overall goal is to build brand equity and positioning in the market, to reach the proper target audience/consumer, and increase awareness. This heightened exposure, in turn, should generate sales, though PR is notoriously difficult to quantify in terms of ROI--since there's no exchange of money for pre-determined, guaranteed results. To that point, enter into a relationship with a publicist with that mindset, a great personality match, open lines of communication, and a bit of faith in the process.”
4. Prioritize Your Pitches & Start Small
“Some startups find it a priority to get app downloads and users first or to land b2b partnerships, and others may need to raise a seed or series A round. These goals have totally different PR strategies. Prioritizes your needs and execute from there. Start with your local and regional press and as your company builds traction start to reach out to larger press outlets to cover your startup. Be specific with your angle, don't try to cram too much into one press release. Also, always keep leaderboards up to date with company news. VCs look at leaderboards for info.”
Overall, start small, be realistic and define your PR goals before you create a strategy. And make sure you are pitching something that is actually newsworthy (it helps to get an outsiders opinion sometimes). Last but not least, crafting your pitch emails in a way that will catch a journalists attention is arguably just as important as the pitch angle itself!