PR for startups can be difficult. While you might have an amazing product, it can be increasingly difficult to get the general public, or more importantly, the media talking about it. Thankfully there are plenty of different PR methods which can help get your name out there as a startup.
At PressKitHero, we recognize the struggles startups have getting recognized by the media. That’s why we’ve been helping businesses create their own professional press kits, so that all relevant information about your company and products is easily available to journalists, in one place. In this article, we’ll run through the crucial PR methods for startups that’ll improve your public and media relations. Let’s get into it.
Startup PR is the first public impression you make with your new product or service. While an initial advertising campaign is important leading up to your first launch, this is just you talking about how great your product is. But it’s only half of the story. You’ll still want to increase brand reach and recognition, something many startups fail to consider. This is where PR comes in.
Startup PR is anything you do to help your business gain media publicity. Depending on your industry or niche, this could include press releases, guest blogging, user-generated content, podcasting, social media, or industry publications.
Really, every piece of PR should be strategic communication. You must have a strong sense of your startup’s overall vision, goals, and ideal customer. This will allow you to tailor your public relations and media messaging to fit this framework. This is the beginning of your brand image.
The media is a powerful vehicle to generate public knowledge about your business idea. Journalists are always looking for interesting, quality news stories, so if you can provide a compelling narrative about your business, the media can provide you with valuable free publicity.
If you have a media kit built and ready to go with PressKitHero, you’ll be able to control aspects of that narrative, ensuring that the media highlights areas of your business and product that you want them to.
If your product has the potential to help your local community, the good press can get the word out to the people who are in need of your product. It also creates opportunities for corporate social responsibility (CSR), so that your company can give back to your community. Even if your product or service doesn’t specifically benefit your neighbors and local culture, CSR will give your business a good reputation and a sense of goodwill.
You can also use PR and media relations to manage the public story of any crises that affect your business. Having a good relationship with local media means better press and immediate, accurate coverage of any situation that may arise instead of swirling rumors that may be damaging to your brand and business.
Public affairs PR means relationships with public servants, industry thought leaders, levels of government, or any other decision-making entities that may affect your business. Good relationships with policymakers can mean an extra business edge and important networking connections that can lead to better business growth in the future.
In this day and age, a social media presence is critical for business success. Which social media you choose generally depends on where your ideal customers like to hang out online. Finance and tech startups may choose LinkedIn or Twitter. Shopify stores or fashion startups will gravitate towards Instagram or TikTok.
Social media communications can be part marketing, part PR. A good rule of thumb to divide the two is the difference between social media posts that advertise your product directly, and social media posts intended to start a conversation. The direct advertising posts would be considered marketing, and the social discussion posts would be more PR. Viral content can fall into either category. Some companies strive to make viral content through memorable advertising, while others end up “going viral” by creating great community engagement or making an important public statement.
Startups can also run internal PR campaigns. These can help employees to understand and internalize their employer’s mission and vision, and contribute to making your company a positive, desirable place to work.
This is classic PR. If people see your business’ name in a publication they already know and trust, they are more likely to remember your brand and see it as trustworthy. This generally applies whether you are reaching out to a major business publication such as Forbes or Entrepreneur, or simply your local newspaper.
Guest blogging is a powerful way to not only spread the word about your business with an already-established authority, but also increase the authority of your own website or blog. A link back to your website from an industry-leading blog tells the Google search algorithm that your website also contains trustworthy content.
If you have a great product, you may have your eyes set on a breaking story on the national news. Think of it like politics: Presidential candidates and national congressmen almost always have experience with state and local politics before running for federal office. And you can start with your local TV stations before you work your way up in media coverage.
Press conferences are a resource for journalists to get information straight from the source – you. If you are the owner of a rapidly-growing startup, you will want the opportunity to tell your story directly to journalists and let them get their information directly from you and your media team.
Business events, such as trade shows, launch parties, and ribbon cuttings, give locals something to talk about and get the word out for your business.
Like guest blogging, brand partnerships let you strengthen your own brand authority by partnering with established brands. Find a business with a similar audience to your own, and pitch a social media partnership. This could take the form of tags on a Twitter feed, a takeover on TikTok or Instagram Stories, or tagged Facebook or LinkedIn text posts.
The simplest definition of the difference between PR and marketing is that marketing is things you say about yourself, and PR is the things others say about you. Social media tends to blur that line, as companies usually strive to make a variety of different social media posts that create visibility in both ways.
However, the main focus in PR is maintaining a positive image. One bad comment or social media post can be enough to destroy a company’s entire public image.
As a startup, you need to do all you can to get the word out about what you have to offer. Creating a compelling brand story and highlighting your company’s innovations is the first step to creating a positive media impression. The best thing about PR is that it tends to cascade once started. Continued positive interactions (or – horrors – negative ones) tend to reinforce themselves and get the community talking, leading to further press coverage and brand awareness.
PR is more than just promoting one-time offers. PR is about creating a public awareness of your brand’s story and your company’s vision. This is the foundation for long-lasting brand awareness and healthy marketing campaigns in the future.
Relationships will be the key to successful businesses in 2023 and beyond. If you have good relationships with journalists, influencers, and industry thought leaders, you will have an edge over your competition to create good press coverage, successful ad campaigns, and healthy competitor relationships in the future. These relationships will also help you if your business should experience unfortunate PR coverage in the future. Having those connections already in place can help you to mitigate the damage to your organization.
Ad campaigns for one-time offers can help grow your business in the short term. Relationship building is the key to expanding your business in the long term.
What are your goals for your PR campaign and your business?
Once you know the “what” of your campaign, the “how” will be clearer.
The goal of the campaign will dictate your target audience. If you want to raise community awareness, you will need to reach out to citizens and businesses in your geographical area. If you need to reach industry leaders, you will need to search for those companies and individuals online.
Again, this is driven by your PR campaign’s overall goals. This is where writing or speaking skill and a knowledge of how to pitch comes in. This part is about blending your brand voice with your PR message to create a communication that will resonate with your audience.
You remember your mom saying it: “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!” As we all learned young, it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. Does your audience need a professional statement, or would they prefer a message on a screen accompanied by a TikTok dance? Can your message be most effectively expressed in writing, or do you need the extra personal touch that video gives a sensitive situation? Tailor what you need to say to how your audience needs to hear it.
Find out where your ideal audience spends their time. Are you reaching out to industry leaders who will read Forbes or Fast Company? Do you need to host a press conference with local journalists or public servants? You know what you need to say and how you need to say it. This last step is about where you need to make your communication for maximum effect.
Good press coverage and public relations can make a company a success, whereas bad coverage or total lack of coverage can lead to failure. The key to good PR coverage for a startup is to spend the time ahead of your PR campaign to craft a strong brand image and targeted messaging. With an in-house PR campaign, you are better able to customize your PR campaign to your exact needs instead of leaving it to an outside agency. PressKitHero makes it easy to create an in-house media kit for your company. Sign up for free today.