If you wish for your startup to be successful, then you would need to invest in Public Relations.
This is the best, and the most cost-effective method for thrusting your company into the spotlight.
However, before you start to spread your message out there, you will need to know a few things.
What is PR?
According to IPR.org.uk, PR is all about boosting the company’s image in the eyes’ of their customers and clients.
As you may well know, public perception is vital when it comes to running a company, particularly during the early stages of business.
If public perception is bad, it will be difficult to make sales.
In fact, you will struggle to find customers.
You will be surprised at just how much Public Relations has taken hold of your daily life.
You may not even realize it.
The vast majority of publications have the majority of their content formed of PR content i.e. provided by businesses.
It just is not all that obvious.
This is a chart based upon Australian newspapers, but the figures are roughly the same for every media outlet in the world.
How much should you spend on PR?
This is a pretty tricky question to answer.
Each and every company is different.
Public Relations is certainly going to form a sizable chunk of your marketing budget, but it will be secondary to a couple of other marketing techniques.
Perhaps the best way to look at how you should be allocating funds through PR is to look at this graph.
Pre-PR is important
Even before you start thinking about getting in touch with the media, there are a few things that you will need to consider and have in place.
- A website which looks modern and is responsive.
- You need to know your target audience.
- Have you defined your brand? Is there a certain ‘feel’ to your brand that you are looking to portray?
PR does cost you!
Getting in touch with the media is technically free.
It involves the dropping of a few emails.
However, you do have to be aware that there is a lot of work to do before you get to that point.
For example, you need to create the content that you are looking to share with the media.
You also need to spend money on putting together your brand materials.
The brilliant thing about investing during the early stages, particularly on your brand image, is that as time goes on, you will need to put less and less cash into Public Relations.
Give Importance to Quality more than Quantity
Do not be one of those businesses that will get in touch with every single media establishment out there in the hopes of being ‘picked up’.
The vast majority of them are not going to be worth your time.
Instead, focus on the high-quality media outlets.
You want to choose the ones that your target market are going to be visiting.
Using social media is important when you are carrying out PR.
If you are using social media, make sure you are active on your social media accounts.
Try to aim for the social media outlets where your target market will most likely be.
It requires a small amount of research on your part.
At the very minimum, you will need to be on Facebook.
The others you can pick and choose based upon your brand message.
Think about what you are looking to achieve from your Public Relations campaign, as well as your target market.
For example, if you are seeking to launch a new product, then you may want to get review copies into the hands of influential people.
They can then write about them, allowing you to get in touch with your customers ‘indirectly.’
If you are looking for investors, then focus on developing case studies and the like.
The same goes for targeting clients who can benefit from your products.
The launch of your company is not news
This is a massive mistake by many businesses.
Nobody cares if you have started a new business.
The media wants to publish content that will earn them money.
Stating that you have opened up is just not going to earn them anything.
When you are coming up with your PR campaign, you need to think about why people should care about you.
What do you deliver in value?
Do you do anything special that other companies are yet to offer?
If you are stuck for ideas in this regard, then make sure you work with a Public Relations company.
Their job is to come up with ideas that will create buzz.
Where do you usually go for information?
While it is brilliant to have your start-up featured in the biggest newspapers and on the most popular websites, it is not that simple.
They have limited time.
When you are coming up with areas to have your content, think about where your client base is most likely to be.
Chances are, it will be one of the following:
- Social media websites (Facebook and Twitter are big ones here)
- News-related websites specific to your industry
- Trade publications
Know your audience
You need to define who your customer is.
You need to know where they are.
If you are not sure who your target audience is, your approach will not reap anything.
That means you will be spending money on something which may not be all that effective.
At the start, focus on one specific group of people.
As your company earns more and more money, you will be able to diversify your business.
Make sure people are listening
It is great holding a press event.
However, the press event will be pointless unless the media turns up.
This may seem difficult for an amateur.
Many companies will only run press events if they can get a famous person in the local area to turn up.
The media tends to follow around politicians and mayors.
If you can get those people to be your support at the event, you will find the media follow you!