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PR for Startup Companies
December 15, 2020 - Hiring a PR practitioner or outsourcing an agency can be costly, especially for a company that is just starting out. When first launching, startup companies will often try to look for ways to cut costs as much as possible in order to conserve investor funds. This typically results in founders opting out of developing a well-rounded public relations strategy prior to launching. It’s also possible that companies hesitate early investment in PR support because the proven measurements of success aren't as clear cut as those in advertising, which can be easily seen in analytic reports. However, doubting the importance of PR’s contribution to a company’s bottom line is a missed opportunity, as it’s essential to establishing your brand’s identity in a world of competitors. Below are some of the key reasons why a PR strategy is so crucial to a successful startup. Messaging Development A key component of any public relations strategy is media outreach. Pitching to journalists requires founders to hone in on their messaging and clearly communicate their “story” – what they do and why it matters. This process is extremely beneficial to the startup because it forces leadership to think critically about the company’s purpose and goals, thus establishing strong core values early on. What’s more, interacting with journalists can offer founders clarity on aspects of their company that consumers care most about. Journalists will only pick up on a story if they strongly believe it will engage their audiences – their feedback can be used to identify what is most significant about a company, something emerging startup founders may fail to grasp pre-launch. Establishing Credibility There’s no underestimating the value of a good marketing campaign however, self-promotion can only go so far without a strong communications plan. Consumers tend to grow weary of companies with little credibility other than advertising. When a news outlet or external organization writes favorably about a startup, it helps build the company’s reputation and raises brand awareness. This is especially important for a startup that just launched with little consumer recognition. Additionally, the accumulation of good press tremendously increases SEO which attracts potential company partners and prospective brand consumers. Avoiding Classic Mistakes Most startup companies have little to no experience with media relations when they launch and work around the clock to pull things together internally. Handing this work off to a PR team or practitioner greatly helps companies in navigating the tricky world of media relations. More importantly, establishing a strong communications team pre-launch helps to avoid common mistakes that could damage brand image in the long run and make it harder to solidify great media relationships. These mistakes can be as small as failing to follow up with journalists or not proofreading public-facing documents. While these mistakes may seem trivial from an outside perspective, reporters lose interest quickly and won’t waste time publishing a poorly presented story. Any good PR pro knows to stay ahead of these mistakes — it can help both facilitate and maintain media relationships. Any successful founder can attest to the value of investing in excellent PR support. It is an investment that pays off in the long run and will transform an ordinary company into a reputable brand. The differentiation will ultimately contribute to a startup's financial and social growth, adding to the bottom line and ensuring long-term success.