Startup public relations can be a powerful tool to introduce your brand to target audiences and the masses. With an effective public relations program, you can drive sales, acquire customers and attract investors.
Before commencing your startup public relations efforts, it’s important to lay the groundwork for success. There are five key steps involved with building a solid foundation for public relations that will drive results:
A compelling brand story is central to a strong public relations program. This shouldn’t be a standard line that describes your services, but rather an engaging narrative that explains why your company exists, the problems you solve and your brand history. Why did your founder start this company? What makes your brand different? This story will serve as the underlying theme throughout all public relations activities.
What information and resources do you currently have that will support your public relations efforts? These can be existing content marketing materials like sales decks, product spec sheets, corporate fact sheets or email marketing campaigns. They also can be resources such as your people, clients and partners who can provide insights into industry trends, newsworthy topics, client pain points and the benefits or differentiators of your company.
Without goals and benchmarking metrics, you’ll be operating blindly and may never reach your full potential with startup public relations. Don’t settle for vague and inaccurate estimates of performance, such as ad value equivalency and media impressions. While these metrics can sometimes be useful when evaluating media opportunities, they don’t tell the whole story.
Instead, establish and track KPIs based on your goals. You can measure things like growth in sales of a particular product or service, web traffic growth to target landing pages or number of media hits in top-tier outlets. A strong public relations strategy requires constant evaluation of your performance against your goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Be sure to routinely reassess your goals and measurement criteria to ensure they align with current overarching business goals and strategies.
An effective public relations program requires time and buy-in from C-level executives and expert staff. This doesn’t have to be a huge burden on one person’s shoulders. Distribute duties across the organization, designating your marketing director or PR manager to handle the outside agency relationship, and enlisting key executives and experts within your organization to participate in media interviews and commentary opportunities.
It’s important to understand the fast-paced, real-time nature of the media environment. Even with a thoughtful public relations plan and a core team of experts and PR pros, things may not always go as anticipated. Editors have ultimate say over the content in a story and consumers control the conversation on social media. Strong public relations strategies ensure your brand achieves a meaningful share of voice in these conversations with a constant flow of content and stories.
By following these steps, you will have a solid foundation for your startup public relations strategy. For a deeper dive into these steps, download our white paper: 5 Questions to Ask Before Launching a PR Campaign for Startups.